Posts tagged ‘gluten free’

Bacon & Butternut Squash with Rice

We’re wrapping up one of the most gorgeous fall weekends in Wisconsin – end of October is always up for grabs, and I am thankful that I got to spend this time on my cousins farm, looking at the view of Vernon County. My cousins all farm, and boy, did I reap the benefits – I brought home a car full of beef (not all for my freezer!), beautiful canned pickles, tomatoes, sauces, and beef tips, and end-of-season butternut squash, fall squash, apples and onions from Tucker & Becky’s Pumpkin Patch.

I was pretty tired when I got home, but decided to start roasting some butternut squash and see if I could figure out a recipe for lunch this week. One episode of “Chopped” later, I remembered that I had bacon in the fridge and maple balsamic vinegar had been pushed to the back of the cupboard waiting for inspiration.


And inspired I was! This fall dish indicates that my palate is changing a bit, too – I can’t think of a better comfort food, and for some reason the mild squash and rice combo is agreeing with my constitution, helping me feel good physically.

Bacon Butternut Squash & Rice

2 small to medium butternut squash
1 pkg. bacon (I used Neuske’s smoked bacon)
1.5 c. Jasmine rice, cooked
3 tbsp. maple balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. honey

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Poke your squash with a knife and roast for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle. Slice open and remove seeds and stringy innards. Cube squash and put in bowl.

While your rice is cooking, chop bacon into 1/4″ slices and cook until crispy.


Do not drain your bacon! Put it into the bowl with your squash and add rice. Add honey and vinegar; mix well. If you need a little more oil, use your bacon drippings.


Serve warm and enjoy! Would it be too untraditional to make this for thanksgiving? I think it would taste great as a side dish to my turkey!


Fall Pheasant Flatbread

I had an unexpectedly quiet weekend, which was awesome, and for me meant roasting everything in sight and playing at one of the last farmers markets of the season. I happened to have a pheasant taking up space in the freezer, so this recipe is my little ode to a beautiful fall day.

Give yourself a little time on this one (like all day Sunday) if you’re starting from square one and actually roasting your pheasant. You could also brine the bird overnight, but I didn’t.

1 whole pheasant
1 apple
1 onion
Handful of herbs – your choice, fresh is best
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 acorn squash
2 pints mushrooms – your choice
2 tbsp. butter
1 Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery flatbread
3 tbsp. pesto
4 oz. LaClare Farms cheddar goat cheese


First things first, preheat your oven to 500 degrees, then chop up an onion and an apple into big chunks, and grab some of those end of season herbs (that I can never keep alive inside over the winter, so I might as well use up) – I used sage and rosemary. Stuff that bird and if you have too much filling, just put the pieces around it. Drizzle olive oil over it and rub in to all of the crevasses and sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Roast for 15 minutes at this hot temperature, the take out of the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees – you can leave the door open to cool it down, which is so great on a cool fall day! Cut your acorn squash in half and remove the seeds while the oven is cooling. Put your pheasant back in and have the squash join it for about 45 minutes at the lower temperature, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes when you take it out of the oven. (The squash might need an additional 15-20 minutes after the pheasant is done – just poke it with a fork to see if it’s soft).

Remove the meat from the pheasant and set aside to use. Throw the bones, apples and onions in a pot and make broth. Seriously, fill it up with water and boil for a couple hours. It’s so flavorful!



Heat butter in a pan over medium high heat. Chop up mushrooms and add to pan. Sauté until soft – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.


Heat the oven back up to 450 degrees. Put your flatbread on a baking stone and spread the pesto over it out to edges. Top with pieces of pheasant, chunks of squash, and sautéed mushrooms. Shred the cheese over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Bake for 8 minutes. You are going to love this. Enjoy hot out of the oven!


Life comes together with Roasted Squash

It’s been too long since I posted! Life has been busy, and for a while, I lost a bit of my cooking passion. This summer and early fall I’ve been working hard to get my health on track and cleaning up my diet is a big part of that. I’ve learned a lot about my own body and how it reacts to different foods, and how I can nourish not only my body but my mind and soul through cooking.

Right now, the best things for me seems to be beans and fall vegetables. I adapted this recipe from a salad that I pinned a while back. Raw roughage has been a challenge for me, so I made this into a tasty sauté.


Butternut squash is a fall gem! I can’t stop roasting things right now.


Fresh organic kale came in my Brewers Organics box this week – perfect timing.


It seems decadent – even though it’s full of great, healthy stuff!

Butternut Squash Sauté – 4 servings

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 sm. sweet onion, chopped
1 can black beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
2 tbsp. spicy mustard
2 tbsp. honey
4 tbsp. goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed squash on a baking dish; drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing after 20.

In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic about 4 minutes or until soft. Add beans and kale and sauté until kale is wilted. Add roasted squash, mustard and honey; mix well and remove from heat.

Garnish with a sprinkle of goat cheese and eat warm.

Coconut Salmon Crab cakes

This is a rendition of one of my favorite recipes from Practical Paleo. I was inspired by a recent exotic purchase at Oro di Oliva – coconut it is!


14 oz can pink salmon
1/2 package imitation crab meat, coarsely chopped
4 eggs
3 green onions, chopped
3 tsp. mustard (I always use Ringhand’s Beer Mustard)
1/4 c. Unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp seasoning (I used Beautiful Briny Sea Salt French Picnic blend)
2-3 tbsp. coconut flour
2 tbsp. butter
Salad greens (your choice – I love arugula)
White coconut balsamic vinegar and Parisian lime olive oil from Oro di Oliva

Put all ingredients except butter, greens, oil, and vinegar into food processor. Pulse until mixed well and easy to form into cakes. Make cakes whatever size you like – I do a medium handful so I can have 2 or 3 on a salad, if you make them smaller they’re a great appetizer as well.

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add cakes and cook about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Put greens on a plate and top with hot cakes. Mix equal parts oil and vinegar, use as dressing on top. I also added sunflower seeds.

This makes a great salad, and I also love making a breakfast Benedict – put a cake on an English muffin and top with a poached egg and the same dressing. Yum!

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash bake

I don’t know why I was being so lazy all weekend and procrastinated making this dish – I threw it together in under an hour over lunch today and it is…how do I say this…just amazing! I altered the “Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Pasta Bake with White Cheddar” recipe from Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner cookbook in an effort to make this total comfort food a little bit more healthy and gluten free. Check it out – by adding the spaghetti squash I ended up with enough for six individual servings instead of four – yahoo for leftovers! I also must say…I’m convinced that roasting vegetables before you do anything with them is the way to go – such great flavors unleashed!

mini bakes


Nothing too complicated here:

6 tbsp. olive oil

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite sized florets

1-2 heads broccoli (about a pound) cut into bite sized florets

sea salt & pepper to taste

1 medium to large spaghetti squash

4 oz. pancetta, coarsely chopped

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tbsp. Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle

2-3 tbsp. flour (I used almond)

3 c. fat free half and half

1 1/2 c. shredded white cheddar cheese

3 tbsp. crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1 c. gluten free bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place your spaghetti squash on a baking sheet and bake for one hour. In the meantime, place your broccoli and cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. When you have 20 minutes left on your squash, place the broccoli and cauliflower in the oven.

Heat two tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and Pasta Seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, for another two minutes. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over this mixture and stir it in for about one minute.

Gradually stir in the half and half and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, for about four minutes. If it doesn’t thicken to your liking, add another tablespoon of flour. Remove the sauce from the heat and add cheddar and gorgonzola, stirring until melted.

When you’ve removed your squash, broccoli, and cauliflower from the oven, you can add the broccoli and cauliflower to the sauce. Cut your squash in half, and scrape out the seeds and stringy inside (I do this with a melon baller) then scrape a fork against the flesh of the squash to create the “spaghetti” strings. Add this to your sauce mixture and make sure everything is coated well.

I have six individual glass baking dishes that I like to use for portion control, but you could easily put this in a 9″x13″ baking pan as well. Once you’ve placed the mixture in a pan, use another bowl to mix the bread crumbs with about 2 tbsp. olive oil. Spoon this crumble mixture over the top and bake in the casserole for another 10-15 minutes, until the toping has browned and it’s bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

cauliflower bake


This is SO GOOD! I did the math and it’s about 400 calories per serving if you divide the entire recipe by six. The serving is good sized and very satisfying – I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Spicy Beef Stew

It’s a cooking Sunday and my house smells like fall. This recipe was adapted from a book called 40 Top Paleo Recipes by Jenny Allan. I did not see the kick of spice coming, but it’s a really nice warmer-upper.


This is beef stew with a kick, and tons of great veggies to fill you up. Don’t be scared of the long list of ingredients – it’s really quite simple once you start chopping vegetables.

2 tbsp. butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 lg. parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped (or shredded, which is my preference)
1 leek, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 c. Coconut milk
4 c. Beef broth (I made my own; if you buy, try to get a lower sodium gluten free version)
1 bunch of parsley, chopped

In your Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium- high heat. Add onion, garlic and beef and sauté until meat is no longer pink. Add all vegetables and sauté another 2 minutes. Add spices and mix to distribute evenly. Add coconut milk and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; let simmer about 30 minutes. Add parsley and let cook another 5-10 minutes.


What a great Packer game day treat! Enjoy!

Salmon Cake Benedict

Oh how I love Sunday mornings, especially in the fall! Happy first day of fall everyone – I hope you’ll cook something comforting and delicious today. I wanted to share my breakfast – it was sort of a clean out the fridge endeavor, but I’m very pleased. Earlier this week I made a batch of Paleo salmon cakes from Practical Paleo which I ate as salads on top of arugula with walnuts. Today, I used the last of the cakes to make a variation of my favorite breakfast: eggs Benedict.


As a side note, I’d like to give my opinion on the Paleo fad. Many of you probably think this is just another diet, blah, blah, blah. I have found it to be very useful and not too difficult to cook within the parameters. In the last four or so weeks, I’ve lost five pounds without any other change than this. I can physically tell that my body is not happy when I eat foods that aren’t meant for me, like popcorn, bread and cream sauces. And yes, I’m still testing the limits and I suffer the consequences each time. What I’d like to get across is that for the first time in a long time, I feel in tune with my body’s needs, using food as a tool for health and productivity rather than something to fill a void. End side note.

Paleo Salmon Cakes
1 lg. can salmon (12 oz.), drained
2 eggs
3 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. gluten free mustard
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tbsp. coconut oil

Mix all ingredients except for flour and oil in a mixing bowl. Gradually add flour until it reaches a cake like consistency. Heat a pan over medium high heat and melt coconut oil. Make salmon cake patties with hands, place in hot pan and cook until browned on each side.

To make my yummy salmon cake Benedict, just place your cooked cakes on a plate, put a bit of arugula on top of each, place a poached egg on top of each and drizzle with balsamic. 18 year aged balsamic from Oro di Oliva makes all the difference, I can vouch for that.


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