Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrots

When you are trying to put together dinner, it is nice to have some no fuss vegetable recipes to depend on.  This one is especially convenient, as it uses frozen vegetables.  I always keep a bag of the broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mixture in my freezer.  I try to use mostly fresh vegetables but it is nice to have these available,  especially at the end of the week when I need to go shopping.  According to this article on, eating frozen vegetables can have its benefits and is certainly better than no vegetable at all.  

Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrots

1 pound bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
2 T olive oil
1 t seasoned salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425o.  Coat the bottom of a 9”x13” glass baking pan with the olive oil.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the oil.  Add frozen vegetables and stir to coat.  Since they are frozen, they oil and spices will not coat very evenly.  Cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Then stir again.  The oil and spices will now coat more evenly.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Stir once more.  Then cook for 5 more minutes or until desired tenderness.   4 servings

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Pasta

I have been making this recipe for several years.  It is healthy and tastes great!  This recipe is very similar to Turkey Sausage and Arugula Pasta by  I have modified it slightly to better utilize ingredients and make it a little more kid friendly.  I use spinach rather than the arugula, as it has a slightly milder taste.  I also use a full pound box of pasta, an additional 4 ounces of sausage and reduce the greens.  Our kids eat this surprisingly well, they don't eat all of the tomatoes and spinach but they do gobble up the pasta and turkey sausage.  

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Pasta
This recipe was adapted from Turkey Sausage and Arugula Pasta from EatingWell:  December 2005/January 2006, EatingWell Serves Two.

1 pound fusilli pasta (twists)1
12 oz hot Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed2
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz package baby spinach
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c finely shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t seasoned salt
1 T olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, cook sausage, garlic, pepper and salt over medium-high heat, breaking up the sausage until no longer pink.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in spinach and tomatoes.  Cook, stirring often, until spinach and tomatoes soften.  Toss meat mixture together with cooked pasta and cheese.  Server warm topped with additional cheese. Serves 6 

1Gluten-free pasta can be used in this recipe.  

2If you are cooking for a strict gluten-free diet, carefully check the sausage label.  If your grocery store does not have a fresh gluten-free sausage option, a fully-cooked gluten-free sausage can be used.  If using fully-cooked sausage, just slice it with the casing intact and lightly brown it with the garlic.  Then follow the rest of the recipe as written.  Look for the al fresco brand.  They make good fresh and fully-cooked gluten-free sausage products. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easy Banana Pudding {Egg-free}

I got this recipe from a co-worker several years ago.  I am not sure where the recipe originated, but I can't take credit for it.  This banana pudding is so easy and tastes awesome.  It is the perfect warm weather treat and feeds a crowd!  Can you tell I am ready for summer?  I do recommend letting it chill overnight.  It sets up so much better, that it is worth the wait.

If you like this recipe, you may also like Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream (EF, DF, GF).

Banana Pudding

1 large instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can Eagle brand milk
1 tub cool whip
Bananas – about 3 medium
Vanilla wafer cookies 1,2 – the greater portion of a 12 oz box

Make pudding according to the package directions.  Add eagle brand milk and cool whip, mixing until combined.  Layer wafers, bananas and pudding.  Top with more wafers.  Chill overnight.

1Check the label on the vanilla wafer cookies, as some contain eggs.  Nabisco Nilla Wafers do contain eggs but the Reduced-fat Nabisco Nilla Wafers do not contain egg.  Keebler Vanilla Wafers do not contain egg.  It has been my experience, that most of the generic versions do not contain egg.

2To make gluten-free, I would omit the cookies all together in the pudding and layer just the banana and pudding.  The pudding will still have the same delicious fresh banana flavor.  Then I would serve the pudding with your favorite gluten-free vanilla cookie.  I think this will keep the gluten-free cookies from getting too gummy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Butter Chicken

If you don't have much experience with Indian dishes, this is the perfect one to start with as it has some of the same ingredients often used in more familiar Mexican food dishes.  I have made this recipe several times.  I actually made it for dinner tonight.  It is so good and makes your house smell divine.  The original recipe can be found here.  

I lightened it up slightly and made a few adjustments to the spices.  To cut back on some of the fat, I used fat-free half and half in place of the whipping cream.  I have also made this with margarine, rather than butter.  But for this post, I used butter.  I didn't think it would sound as appetizing, if I labeled it margarine chicken.

To keep it from being too spicy for the little mouths at my house, I cut the cayenne pepper in half .  I also left out the cardamom simply because it costs $15 for a small bottle at my local grocery store.  I may add this ingredient back in, if I can find it at a better price!  Then, I increased the garlic and cumin a little and used seasoned salt rather than plain salt.

Butter Chicken
Adapted from Butter Chicken by lillieknits from September 12, 2009 on the Tasty Kitchen website.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 t seasoned salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
¼ t cayenne pepper
¼ t ground coriander
½ t cumin
1 whole lime, juiced
1 whole onion, diced
¼ c butter or margarine
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 pint fat-free half and half
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
Basmati Rice

Combine the first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.  I have made this without marinating it at all.  It is still really good.  So, if you forget to marinate, cook it up anyway.  I do think the marinating helps but not enough to miss out on a delicious dinner.  The marinating also gets some of the prep work out of the way, which is helpful with getting dinner on the table.
Sauté the onion in the butter until soft.  Add marinated chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink.  Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.  Simmer for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on.  Just before serving, add the half and half and cilantro.  Serve over Basmati Rice.
Serves 6-8

Thursday, April 12, 2012

3-Cheese Lasagna {Egg-free}

My family loves lasagna, especially my husband.  Lasagna recipes pretty much always have egg in it.  This egg-free version includes a lot of the common ingredients without the egg.  What I think helps hold it together is mixing the three different cheeses together and baking it uncovered.  I also think using the part-skim ricotta and part-skim mozzarella cheeses help.  When you omit the egg, you do not want any extra moisture.  If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy Easy Cheesy Manicotti or Baked Spaghetti.

3-Cheese Lasagna {Egg-free}

½ lb lasagna pasta (gluten-free can be used)
1 lb ground beef
24 oz pasta sauce
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
2 c finely shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, separated
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
1 T dried parsley flakes
½ t freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350o.  Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Cook pasta according to the instructions on the box.  While pasta is cooking, brown beef in a skillet.  Once browned, add the pasta sauce and let simmer on low.  In a large bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper.  Set the cheese mixture aside.  Once pasta is cooked, rinse in cool water to stop the pasta from cooking and to help with handling.  

In the baking dish layer as follows:  two large spoonfuls of sauce, three lasagna noodles, half of the cheese mixture, one-third of the remaining sauce, three lasagna noodles, the other half of the cheese mixture, half of the remaining sauce, three lasagna noodles, the last of the sauce and the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella.  Bake UNCOVERED at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pillsbury Cupcakes {made Egg-free}

I LOVE cake.  There is nothing better than the from scratch bakery taste of fresh cake.  But I have also always loved the basic cupcake made from a boxed cake mix.  When your household is on an egg-free diet, this can be a bit of a challenge.  But I was determined to adjust the added ingredients in the mix so the eggs could be omitted.  From trial and error, I have found that the pudding in the Pillsbury mix seems to help hold the cake together.  The mixes without the pudding were much more crumbly.

One of my children has inherited my love for cake and thinks we should have it for every holiday or fun occasion.  I tend to agree!  So, this week we made some yummy Easter cupcakes.  Happy Easter!!

[UPDATE 06/16/2016:  I have been making this recipe for years now.  My kids love these cupcakes, but they are quite crumbly.  That I think makes it harder to feed them to non-allergy friends.  I recently made this recipe for Club Soda Cake (EF).  The texture using the club soda is more consistent with a cake containing egg.  I haven't tried it with cupcakes but I have made a layer and sheet cake, which this recipe won't do so I am confident it will work well.  Give it a try!]

We made these for Easter in 2012 and topped them with jelly beans.

We made them again this Easter (2013) and topped them with chocolate eggs.

Pillsbury Cupcakes

1 box Pillsbury cake mix*
1 c water
½ c oil
1 T baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350o.  Grease cupcake tins or line them with paper baking cups.  Mix ingredients with an electric mixer on low until combined.  Scrap the sides of mixing bowl.  Mix an additional 2 minutes on medium to medium-high.  Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 18 minutes.  Cool cupcakes in pan.  Frost cupcakes when completely cooled.  Makes 20 cupcakes.

* I used the Pillsbury Moist Supreme Funetti cake mix.  This mix calls for the added ingredients of 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Pillsbury also has the following flavors: chocolate, classic white, classic yellow, dark chocolate, devil’s food cake, German chocolate, golden butter recipe, lemon, pineapple, pink lemonade and strawberry.  I checked the ingredient lists on the available mixes at my grocery store.  Classic white, classic yellow, funfetti and strawberry can all be made egg-free as described above.  See this post to make chocolate (Devil's Food) cupcakes.

Note:  The Pillsbury mixes do contain dairy.  I am not trying to promote one brand over the other.  I have just found that some brands work better when making adjustments for egg-free cooking. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chili-Rubbed Salmon Tacos

This is one of my all time favorite recipes to cook and eat!  My husband and I have been together since our freshman year in college . . . a long time!  We were too poor to eat out much during those early years, but when we did one of our favorite restaurants served an entree with this name.  I am not sure what all is in their version but this one is close enough and we love it!  Also, see my last post about how to remove the skin from salmon.


Chili-Rubbed Salmon Tacos

1 pound salmon
½ T olive oil
1 t chili powder
½ t chipotle chili powder
½ t cumin
½ t seasoned salt
½ t garlic powder
¼ t onion powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper, or to taste*

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Mix the spices in a small bowl.  Rub half of the spice mixture on each side of the fish.  Cover with lid and cook 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.  Break up salmon into large chunks.
Serve on warmed soft corn tortillas and top with your favorite taco toppings.  We top ours with red cabbage, avocado, salsa and cheese.  I often substitute broccoli slaw for the cabbage.  Makes about 8 tacos.

* I think a little cayenne pepper should go in almost every recipe, except for baked goods.  It adds just the right amount of kick to really spice up your dish.  I have had to cut back on how much cayenne pepper I use in all of my cooking due to the little mouths at my house.  But I do think think this recipe needs some.

Salmon rubbed with chili seasoning mixture.

Seared salmon ready to be broken up for tacos. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Remove the Skin from Salmon

For some recipes, you need skinless salmon.  If your grocery store is like mine, the skinless salmon is at least $1 more per pound.  That may not be a lot of money but once I figured out a quick, easy way to remove the skin, I just can't justify paying it.  I thought I would share since my next post will call for skinless salmon.

Here is a one pound filet of fresh salmon.

Lightly coat the bottom of your skillet with olive oil.  Heat oil to medium or medium-high heat.  Place salmon skin side down in heated skillet.  Let it cook for a few minutes. 

Flip salmon onto a plate skin side up.  I use a thin stainless steal spatula but you could also use a butter knife or some other thin metal utensil.  Slip your utensil in between the skin and salmon and the skin slides right off.

Here is the now skinless salmon.  I would only do this right before you plan to cook the salmon.

I use a stainless steal electric skillet but I think a non-stick skillet would work just fine.  I do have to scrap some of the skin off my stainless steal skillet, you may not have to do that with a non-stick.  Stay tuned for my next post using skinless salmon to make Chili-rubbed Salmon Tacos!