Category Archives: Kid Friendly Food

One Dish Fridge Roundup

One Dish Fridge Roundup

There is such a huge variety of vegetables that are abundant this time of year in gardens, farmer’s markets, and supermarkets. And if you’re like me, maybe you get a little excited and buy more vegetables than you can use for your meal. I recently ended up with more squash, asparagus, and green and red peppers than I needed for my meal. With these leftovers I wondered what I could make.

Growing up, Thursdays were always left-overs-for-dinner days at my house, which mostly meant find anything in the fridge to eat for dinner so nothing goes to waste. Well, here’s a new version of left overs that’s more appropriate for summer. This one uses all your left over vegetable odds and ends. So here’s how I came up with this dish:

1) My first requirement when creating a meal out of these left over veggies was that I wanted the dish to display the great taste of summer that is all these fresh veggies, but I wanted them to blend to create a new unified flavor all their own.

2) My second requirement was to keep the amount of dishes I used to a minimum (no more time doing the dishes than absolutely necessary.)

3) The third requirement for this dish was that it had to fit my restricted diet (gluten free, egg free, dairy free.)

That’s why this One Dish Fridge Roundup is the perfect summer dish. Hope you enjoy the fresh tastes of summer in one dish! I’m going to show you how I made mine but the whole point is to use what you have. So, if you have green beans rather than peppers use those and if you have salmon rather than chicken use that. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 potato (cooked just about 2 minutes in the microwave then cubed)
1/2 an onion, sliced
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup peppers, roughly chopped
1/2 cup asparagus, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 chicken breast, pounded thin and cubed
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Olive oil
Aunt Cora’s Seasoning or season salt to taste
Lemon pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Saute onion and potato in about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large fry pan until onion is transparent and potato begins to soften, adding more oil if needed. Season to taste.


2. Add asparagus and peppers and stir adding just a little water to deglaze the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and season.

4. Add chicken and season. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy!

*Recipe serves: 4 people
*Recipe source: Madison Sommerfield

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

We’ve been harvesting lots more zucchinis from our garden, so I’ve been experimenting with more ways to use this lovely squash that’s in such abundance right now.

These are actually cousa squash that we’re harvesting and cooking. They’re a type of middle eastern zucchini that are nuttier in flavor, which adds a really nice flavorful kick to this delicious Zucchini Bread recipe. It makes a really tasty breakfast, snack, or dessert so I hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded zucchini or cousa squash (leaving the skin on leaves lots of nutrients in your bread)
1/2 cup water
3 eggs worth of gluten free egg replacer
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender combine shredded zucchini and water until pureed into a fine pulp.

2. In a separate container combine egg replacer (as prepared on package instructions), sugar, and oil.

3. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and gradually blend in flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, and xanthum gum. Blend with mixer until combined.
4. Add zucchini mixture into the bowl and blend to combine.

5. Grease 2 loaf size baking pans with cooking spray and pour mixture equally divided into pans. Make sure the pans are not filled more than 3/4 of the way full.
*If you have remaining batter you can pour it into pre-prepared muffin pans, but you’ll have to cook them in much less time than the bread.

6. Bake bread for 1 hour. Remove and allow them to cool before cutting. Refrigerate once bread has cooled. Enjoy!

*You can also chop the zucchini rather than shredding, but just make sure it comes out to 2 cups total. I’ve found with this gluten free and egg free bread, blending the zucchini into a puree helps it hold together better.

*The addition of the xanthum gum to the recipe helps the bread to hold together as well too.

*Recipe Source: Tammy Peterkort

Stuffed Cousa Squash

Stuffed Cousa Squash

Been a crazy week…took a little impromtu road trip to St. Louis, spent time with college friends, and had a lot of fun! I just love summer and what’s summer without random road trips here and there?

Anyway, as promised last week here’s your first way to use zucchinis and in particularly here Cousa Squash. Just in case you forgot, Cousa Squash are middle eastern zucchinis that are a little larger and taste a little nuttier than your regular zucchinis. In this stuffed squash recipe I used Cousa Squash, but you could easily replace it with large regular zucchinis.

This recipe really incorporates middle eastern flavors into a full meal within these squash. Its saucy, hearty, and yet uses great fresh summer ingredients. I hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
1 large Zucchini (I used Cousa Squash)
1 small onion, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 pound ground beef, or lamb, or turkey (I used ground beef)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
32 oz. vegetable broth
1/3 cup brown rice, precooked
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. First cut the squash in half lengthwise.


2. Then with a spoon, scoop out to pulp and seeds. Separate the seeds from the pulp. Reserve the pulp.


3. In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and saute the ground beef, onion, and garlic until the meat is cooked through. Drain the fat from the meat. Add the squash pulp and saute until soft, breaking up large pieces as you cook.
4. Season the meat and squash mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Then add the tumeric and cinnamon.

5. Add rice and tomato to the rest of the dish and stir to combine.


6. Stuff each squash half with the rice/beef/vegetable mixture. Reserve the fry pan. Place the halves in a 9X13 (oven safe) casserole dish. Top each squash off with cinnamon sprinkled on top.


7. In the reserved fry pan add the broth and tomato paste over low heat and stir carefully to combine.


8. Carefully remove the soup mixture from the heat and pour into the squash dish.

9. Bake for 20 minutes. Then cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. If you like the squash to be a little softer bake for another 5 minutes. Serve the stuffed squash with the broth mixture drizzled over each half and the plenty more to surrounding each half. Enjoy!

*Recipe Serves: 2 hungry people
*Recipe Source: Madison Sommerfield
*Recipe Inspirations: http://cucinapanzano.blogspot.com/2009/07/summer-squashcousa.html
http://www.myfreshlevant.com/2009/06/quinoa-stuffed-cousa-squash.html

Start Gardening: Part 5

Start Gardening: Part 5

I was thrilled as I approached my garden and saw such large leaves and tall plants, thinking about how much it has grown. And then upon getting closer I jumped with joy at the site of produce ripe and ready to be picked…There it all sat ready for me…zucchinis, kale, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, and cucumbers!

I think this is the most fun time of year to have a garden because its beginning to be harvest time! This year we’ve put quite a bit of work into our garden, so its really nice to be reaping the fruits of our labors.

We left our garden with bags of produce; plenty to eat and some to share. I think our most exciting harvest were the zucchinis. As I approached them, all I could think, “is that this was not what I thought I planted.”

I thought I had planted the regular small, dark green zucchinis that you see in the grocery store. When in fact what I had planted are quite large and have white stripes on them. Sure enough after some research Matt and I discovered that what we had were Cousa Squash. These are middle eastern summer squash that is larger and thicker than regular zucchinis with whitish, green striping. They have a bit of a nuttier flavor than regular zucchinis as well.

We wondered what to do with these squash? I’ve never even heard of them. How do I prepare them?

I’m very excited to say, I’ve found quite a few ways to prepare them and can’t wait to share with you. So, look forward to my upcoming posts on various ways to use your zucchinis or cousa squash.

Closer Look: Apricots

Closer Look: Apricots

One thing I love about summer is the vast amount of fresh, ripe fruit. This time of year I get excited to go to the supermarket or farmer’s market because I know that an array of tasty jewels awaits me. And today I’m taking a Closer Look at just one of these ripe beauties: Apricots.

I remember my first encounter with Apricots. I was about 4 years old and my family and I were visiting my grandparents in McAllen, Texas. They had an Apricot tree in their yard and my grandmother, Nanny, baked Apricot pies. I remember thinking, “these are kind of like peaches, but look and taste a little different.” That’s where my intrigue with this fruit started.

Then for years I never saw Apricots other than dried ones, which I really enjoy, but wondered where the fresh ones are? Then I found them…ahhhh…sitting there in the fruit market, tiny, gold Apricots. I bought them that day and have been in love with them ever since. So, here’s a Closer Look at Apricots and why you should eat more of them.

What are Apricots?
Related to peaches these golden little fruits are a bit smaller than peaches, but still have the fuzzy skin. They are in the stone fruit family along with peaches, plums, and nectarines because of the pit in the center of the fruit that is much like a stone. They’re not quite as juicy as peaches, but are still very sweet with a slight tartness. Apricots are in season until the Fall.

How to select the best Apricots?
These little guys should be free of bruises or mold spots. The color of the skin should be a bright golden color. The fruit should be firm, but you should be able to press into the skin a little.

What are the health benefits of Apricots?
In just one cup of Apricot halves you will get 60% of your daily amount of vitamin A, over 25% of your vitamin C, as well as vitamins K, E, and folate. These tiny golden fruits also offer calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They will also help you to reach your daily amount of fiber.

How do you eat Apricots?
No need to even peal the skin off these little guys, since the fuzz is less than that of a peach. I recommend just biting into this tasty treat. A couple bites is all it will take. If you’re looking for a way to prepare these, you can use them in anything you’d use peaches in, like pies, cobblers, or on top of ice cream.

I hope this will encourage you to look for these sweet little golden guys the next time you’re at the fruit market. Eat up the tastes of summer while they last! Enjoy!

Resources:
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1827/2
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=3
http://agsci.psu.edu/fphg/stone

Baked Pasta Marinara with Goat Cheese & Kale

Baked Pasta Marinara with Goat Cheese & Kale

I’ve been gathering large bunches of kale from our garden and trying to cook them up in a variety of ways, so look forward to some tasty kale recipes including this one.

I came home the other day craving something hearty and cheesy, yet knew I had all these fresh veggies I needed to cook up as well. This recipe for Baked Pasta Marinara with Goat Cheese & Kale is the result. Its an original recipe of mine and I’m happy to be sharing it with you.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 1/2 cups grated cheese or cheese substitute (I used Daiya brand from Whole Foods)
1/2 pound ground beef
1 jar (26 oz.) pasta sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
16 oz. gluten free brown rice pasta (fusilli style)
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta slightly aldente, in salted water, according to package directions. Set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, brown beef in large sauce pan. Add salt and pepper to taste and the Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic.
3. Drain meat. Add jar of sauce and goat cheese to the saucepan. Set aside.
4. Saute kale in 1 tablespoon olive oil (adding more if needed) with 1 teaspoon minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Once kale is wilted and begins to get dry add 1/4 cup water and continue cooking until kale is soft and water is absorbed.

5. Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish with remaining olive oil. Layer pasta, then sauce mixture, then mushrooms, then kale mixture. Pasta again, then sauce mixture, then mushrooms. And top it with grated cheese.


6. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, covering with foil if cheese browns. Serve and enjoy!

*Recipe Source: Madison Sommerfield
*Recipe Serves: 4 to 6 people

Skittles Birthday Cake

Skittles Birthday Cake

This month we celebrated Matt’s Birthday and every year I try to surprise him with some sort of creative gift or party. Since he is extremely supportive of my restricted diet and eats and cooks with me according to my diet even though he doesn’t have to, I decided to make him a “real” cake…no gluten free flours, egg replacers, or milk substitutes here…just a tried and true, every kid approved ‘funfetti’ cake with buttercream frosting.

You have to know that I generally get pretty cranky making food I can’t even lick the bowl while making, but for Matt’s birthday surprise I totally set that aside and nibbled my dark chocolate bar while making this treat for him.

That’s right, I don’t advocate heavily processed food filled with additives, preservatives, food colorings, and loads of sugar, but every supportive spouse, friend, or child of a person with food allergies totally deserves a birthday splurge.

I’m totally a chocolate girl all the way. If its sweet and doesn’t have chocolate what’s the point? But, Matt is totally a Twizzler, Starburst, Skittles kind of sweet tooth…sour, sweet and fruity flavors. So instead of decorating his birthday cake with sprinkles, to make this ‘funfetti’ cake extra special I decorated it with one of his favs…Skittles!

Not only did Matt love it, but so did the rest of his fam we celebrated with! The Skittles Birthday Cake was a huge success!

If you have a restricted diet and you have supportive loved ones don’t forget to show your appreciation for them by making a special treat for them every now and then. They’ll be so glad you did.

* FYI- I just found out Starbursts are gluten free. So, you restricted diet candy lovers rejoice!

Grilled Portabella Mushrooms

Grilled Portabella Mushrooms

Third day without electricity and I’m ready for it to turn on anytime now. Over 800,000 people without power after the storm on Monday. Apparently there are only 150,000 people left without power today and I’m one of them. Oh well, can’t complain too much…life without electricity has been surprisingly peaceful. Needless to say, I’m seeking refuge again in the coffee shop.

Last week I was perusing through the supermarket and saw Portabella Mushrooms on a major sale. Admittedly, I have to say I’ve never tried them, but I’ve always heard good things from other people. So I decided to give them a shot and I really enjoyed them. Check out how I prepared them and enjoy them for yourself.

I suggest marinating Portabella Mushrooms, as they take on the flavor of whatever you cook them in. They make a really great vegetarian and vegan meal, so give them a try!

Ingredients:
4 medium sized portabella mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried basil
4 tablespoons onion, chopped

Directions:
1. Clean mushrooms by removing dirt from outer part of mushroom cap, breaking off the stems (reserve), and scrapping off the underside (black part) of the mushroom. Set aside.


2. With a whisk combine remaining ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.


3. Coat mushroom caps and stems in marinade and soak in marinade for up to 1 hour (not in refrigerator).


4. Heat grill to medium heat and grill mushrooms and stems over hot coals for 10 minutes. If using gas grill be careful not to burn.


5. Serve Portabella’s with remaining marinade poured over top. Serve the stems cut into small pieces in a tossed salad as they tend to be tougher. Enjoy!

*Recipe Serves: 2 people
*Recipe Source: Madison Sommerfield

Start Gardening: Part 4

Start Gardening: Part 4

Its been a while since you’ve seen my garden plot and wow has it grown! We’ve harvested tons of lettuce (loose leaf, bibb,  and spinach) and have made tons of garden fresh salads.

The great part about lettuce is that it continues to produce more delicious leaves after you pick them. We haven’t replanted the lettuce at all and yet we’re still getting more and more! I have to admit that I’m not much of a salad girl, but when it comes to garden fresh, I love it. Check out these tasty salads.

I’ve also started to pick kale and cabbage leaves and chop them in with my other varieties of lettuce for my salads. They’re both kind of bitter, but mixed in with the other varieties they add a great melody of flavors and tons of extra vitamins and minerals.

To turn this garden salad into a heartier dinner salad I added black beans, sunflower seeds, and sliced yellow and red peppers. With a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing (1:1 ratio of each) it brings the flavors all together.

This is our second planting of radishes and they are a great addition to salads and a really spicy snack with hummus.

We’ve also recently harvested some small carrots. I must admit I was really a skeptic when it came to the carrots. I really didn’t think they would grow but much to my surprise, they proved me wrong.

My proud gardening hubby, very pleased with his harvest.

We’ve also picked a small bunch of really sweet peas and a few squash blossoms (post to come on how to eat these).

We haven’t really done anything special to get our garden growing along…just plenty of sunny days (provided by the Lord), water, and lots of love. Squash and tomatoes to come soon!

Grilled Peaches Dessert

Grilled Peaches Dessert

Many apologies to all my faithful readers for the lapse in posts, but sometimes life just gets a bit nutty. Its been a little while since my last post, but I’m back and starting off with a really tasty summer desert.

To me summer means hot, sunny days and an abundance of inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables right at my fingertips. So, I say this time of year forgo frozen or canned produce in exchange for the fresh ripe cornucopia of options available. Right now the fruit that I’m loving here in the Midwest are peaches and blueberries. So, here’s a really simple way to pull them together into one really delicious dessert.

The base of this recipe is grilled peaches. That’s right…its fruit on the grill. Just trust me on this one and give it a shot. Heating the fruit pulls so much of the fruits’ natural sugars right to forefront of its taste, giving it an extra dose of sweetness. So here you go!

Ingredients:
4 peaches, cut in half and pit removed
Flavorless cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
Blueberries
Your favorite flavor of sorbet (I used raspberry sorbet) (*Just FYI, sorbet does not contain dairy, but sherbet does)

Directions:

1. Preheat grill to a fairly low temperature.
2. In a large bowl toss peach halves with just enough cooking oil to lightly coat them.
3. Place peach halves face down on the grill, not directly over the flame. Grill them for just a couple minutes until the peaches have nice grill marks and are slightly cooked.
4. Serve grilled peach halves with a tiny scoop of sorbet in the center and blueberries scattered around the plate. Enjoy this refreshing taste of summer!

*Recipe Source: Madison Sommerfield
*Recipe Serves: 4 – 5 people