Minestrone Soup

Quarantine got you feeling cooped up and needing something cozy to eat? I’ve got you covered. This yummy (and super easy!) minestrone soup recipe is the perfect fix for these difficult times. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bag frozen mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme)
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 32-oz. container low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can 15.5-oz can garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups roughly chopped spinach (can substitute with kale)
  • 1 cup gluten free filini noodles

Here’s what you need to do:

Prep your veggies…

  1. Mince garlic
  2. Roughly chop spinach
  3. If not using mirepoix, finely dice onion, celery, and carrot. 

Prep your stovetop…

  1. Heat large drizzle olive oil in large pot. Add mirepoix. Stir occasionally until softened. Add garlic, Italian herb seasoning, and salt + pepper to taste. Stir approximately 3 minutes.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, veggie broth, and garbanzo beans to the pot. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add in spinach and filini noodles and cook per instructions, approximately 4 minutes.
  4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese. 

 

Bon appétit! 

Flo’s Desserts: GF Coconut Macaroons

I looooove all things sweet. It’s such a good day when I come across a gluten-free dessert recipe, and last week I had one of those days.

Florence, a colleague of mine, has become quite the baker. Similarly to me, she likes to dabble with new recipes, so when she brought her gluten-free coconut macaroons into work, I was hooked. This coming from a gal who used to say “I don’t do coconuts.” Trust me, they’re that good and are SO easy to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 14 ounces (1 bag) shredded coconut
  • 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 XL eggs used for egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • THAT’S IT!

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • Grab yourself a big bowl and combine the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Mix.
  • Separate your egg whites (This was new for me, but is super easy so if I can do it, you can too!) into another bowl and add in the salt.
  • Using a hand mixer, blend the egg whites and salt until it gets frothy and little peaks begin to appear. (I probably could have blended mine for a bit longer [see photo], but it is what it is.)
  • Gently fold in the egg whites into the shredded coconut mixture.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or a spoon, place ‘dough’ onto sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat if you’re feeling fancy. (I was at my parents house and mistook wax paper for parchment paper – don’t do that. That’s bad. Wax paper can burn. Learn from me and don’t do that.) 
  • Bake for 25-27 minutes until they’re goldeny brown goodness.
  • Enjoy!

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Let me know if you try out Flo’s GF Coconut Macaroon recipe! I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment here or on Instagram to share your experience. 

Bon appétit! 

What I’m Making For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays and it’s mainly due to the amazing comfort food (and the fact that you can get away with wearing stretchy pants and laying around after the meal, but I digress…). When I was first diagnosed with Celiac, Thanksgiving was super daunting to me because so many of my favorite dishes were filled with gluten – stuffing, gravy, pie… Luckily, we live in a time of heightened awareness of what’s in our food and so many food manufacturers are not only calling out allergens on their packaging, but they’re even creating separate gluten free product lines for Celiacs and anyone out there wishing to eliminate or decrease their gluten intake.

Stuffing:

  • This year, I’ll be using Schar gluten-free bread to make my breadcrumbs.
    • I like Schar better than Udi’s – I just think it holds up a little bit better. (Note that it does contain soy, so be careful if that’s a sensitive food for you).
    • If you’re in a rush, they also have pre-made breadcrumbs, but I like cutting up the bread and toasting the pieces myself for a larger crumb size.
  • Chicken broth (and most other broth flavors while we’re at it) can contain wheat ingredients. I’ve discovered the Pacific Foods brand and won’t go back to anything else. Their broths and some soups are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, yeast free, corn free, and the list goes on. I’m using this organic broth for my stuffing this year.
  • I haven’t purchased the sausage for my stuffing yet, but I’ll most likely be picking up this Boar’s Head robust Italian chicken sausage because it’s packed with flavor and gluten free. I plan on using a trick I learned from Hello Fresh and slicing off the casing to use the inside only.

Gravy:

  • Since I’m not cooking in a kitchen near the turkey, I plan on using a mix to make my gluten free gravy – no judgment whatsoever to people who use the packets. It’s easy! I’ll be whipping up my gravy with this McCormick gluten free turkey gravy mix.

Dessert:

  • This one is simple – I make a sweet potato pie but just without the crust. I’ll share my recipe soon, but just know that it’s basically the same recipe as a normal sweet potato pie. Butter up the sides of your pan so that the sweet potato can crisp up and form a crust of its own.

What are YOU making for Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a creative gluten-free spin on a traditional dish? I’d love to hear what you’re cooking up! Reach out by commenting below or leaving a comment on my Instagram post.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

 

*Note: None of the links in today’s post are affiliate links. I’m not making any money off of them. I just really love these products and want you to love them too. 

Italian Tomato & Garbanzo Bean Soup

I first encountered the recipe for this Italian tomato & garbanzo bean soup through Hello Fresh and I’ll admit that initially, I was skeptical. I didn’t think that chickpeas, or garbanzo beans to you official folks, belonged in a soup. Long story short, I was quickly proven wrong and they’re actually my favorite part of this recipe. I’ve tweaked a few things and made the process even more foolproof, making this one of my favorite go-to meals when the weather turns cooler.

This dump-everything-in-a-pot-and-let-it-simmer recipe is SO easy and the end result is a hearty, makes-your-soul-feel-good, semi-healthy bowl of yumminess. Intrigued yet?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1.5 cups (ish) chicken stock (you can easily swap this for veggie broth to make this vegetarian friendly!)
  • Celery, onions, & carrots (I made it easy and used this mirepoix mix)
  • Garlic (I used 3 cloves, but you go with what your heart tells you on this one)
  • Italian herb seasoning
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

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Here’s what you do:

  • Mince garlic.
  • In a relatively large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Dump the whole mirepoix mix bag into pan and stir occasionally until veggies are softened, 3-4 minutes. Season with Italian herb seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Add minced garlic to pan and stir combo for an additional minute or until super fragrant.
  • Pour entire cans of crushed tomatoes & garbanzo beans into pan.
  • Add in 1.5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  • Cover, lower heat, and let stand for 20-25 minutes.
  • Divide into bowls & garnish with shredded parm – enjoy!

Do you have a go-to cool weather soup? Leave a note here or on Instagram with your favorite winter soup!

Williams-Sonoma’s Spiced Apple Muffins

It seems like we’re in a Williams-Sonoma store once a week these days – returning or exchanging registry gifts that we received for our wedding. Every time I’m in the store, I wander around seeing if anything new sparks my attention. This past weekend, I discovered their gluten-free spiced apple quick bread mix and my eyes lit up.

Instead of following the instructions and making one single loaf of bread, we divided the mix into muffin tins and created individual bread muffins. Besides from that, we didn’t deviate from the instructions and they turned out to be so yummy AND made our apartment smell like Bath and Body Works’ Cider Lane candle (bonus!):

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Melt one stick butter
  • Blend butter, 2 eggs, quick bread mix, and 1 cup of water in a big bowl
  • Divide into pre-buttered/greased muffin tins
  • Cook for 55 minutes or until nice and browned
  • Sit for 10 minutes – or if you’re like me, let them sit for maybe 2 minutes, bite into one, and immediately regret it because it’s too hot and you should have listened and waited 10 minutes.

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For all of my Celiac or gluten-sensitive friends, I definitely recommend this mix come holiday time. They’re the perfect little treat with the best flavoring and are so easy to bake. 10/10.

My Go-To Weeknight Meal: Taco Bowls

Cooking is hard – especially when you’re cooking for two and one of you has Celiac. It gets even harder when you’re tired after a long day of work and all you want to do is plop in bed and never move again.

Anyone who knows me knows that I could live off of tacos – We’re having a taco truck at our wedding, so CLEARLY I love them a lot. I’d say we have some form of taco (bowl, salad, or tortilla-formed) at least once a week. Sometimes, we get lazy and order in from UberEats or Postmates, but we do like to whip something up every now and again and it’s usually taco bowls since they’re so easy to make.

Everyone has those few things that are always in their fridge, freezer, and cabinets. For us, it’s ground turkey, taco seasoning (GF, of course), and Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice. Most of the time we’ll have sour cream, shredded cheese, and tomatillo salsa on hand, so fixing up taco bowl can take 10 minutes or less.

 

 

Here’s what we use:

  • Trader Joe’s lean ground turkey
  • Gluten-free taco seasoning
  • Trader Joe’s microwavable brown rice
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tomatillo salsa
  • Guacamole (I really like Trader Joe’s yogurt-based guac, but had Whole Foods’ guac in our fridge the other day)
  • Sour cream (mixed with lime juice, a splash of water, and a dash of salt & pepper)

I don’t even think I need to go through the creation steps with you because it’s as simple as brown the turkey, add the seasoning and some water; microwave the rice; mix your crema (sour cream, water, lime juice, salt, & pepper); then compile everything in a bowl and EAT. So quick, so good, so easy.

Bon appétit! 

What’s your go-to weeknight meal? Comment below or on instagram (againstthegrainchi) and maybe we can share one of your recipes in the future! 

 

Easy Kale Chips

Woah, you guys. It.has.been.a.WHILE. Apologies for going M.I.A. for a bit there – life got in the way. Selfish how it does that sometimes, huh?

If you’ve been following my story, you know that I went through a pretty drastic dietary change about 8 [wow, there goes life being all sassy and moving too quickly again!] months ago. I was informed that I had Celiac disease and that I basically had to eliminate all things that brought me joy. That’s dramatic, but you get it. Thank goodness that it’s 2018 and food manufacturers have learned to put disclaimers on their products that call out if an item is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, etc. Even so, preparing well-rounded meals was still pretty difficult and I had to teach myself to enjoy all the green “nasties” as I used to call them. And seriously, if you don’t believe me, ask my friends – they know I RARELY ate greens. I was even gifted this book.  Fast forward to today and I can proudly say that I LIKE KALE. GASP!

I have been dying to share with you the easiest kale chip recipe that I’ve ever seen. Okay, being honest here – I can’t see how it could be hard in the first place – and if I can do it, you can do it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Kale (duh) Not the baby kind – Get the good “adult” stuff.
  • Oil – I used olive oil
  • Garlic salt because YUM
  • Parchment paper – Optional, but I like using it because I’m lazy and hate cleaning dishes
  • Pepper

Now, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. Low and slow is the method to go with.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse and make sure to really pat the kale dry. This is key and helps them get nice and crispy.
  4. Remove the stems and tear into slightly smaller pieces.
  5. Place kale pieces onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil. Be light-handed here. Too much olive oil won’t allow the chips to actually become chips.
  7. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Toss!
  9. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and flip the chips. Return to oven for 10 more minutes. Patience!
  10. Best enjoyed right away.

Disclaimer: These don’t really work out the next day. I packed some in a plastic baggie for lunch the next day and they just didn’t hold the crispiness. They were still really yummy and flavor-packed, but lacked the chip-ness. I suggest just making as much as you’d like to consume that day. 

Enjoy!

Bon appétit! 

Completely unrelated from kale, but want to know something cool? I was featured on Metro Detroit’s own She’s Blossoming blog as a featured writer! Self-care is hard enough already, but when you add in a swamped schedule, it gets even harder. I share some easy tricks to set aside time to treat yo’ self. Head on over, give it a read, and let me know what you think!

 

 

Turkey & Chicken Andouille Sausage Gumbo

My first time cooking gumbo was definitely an interesting one. I’m a Michigan girl, born and raised an hour north of Detroit, so I’m pretty sure it can go without saying that gumbo wasn’t a dish that was frequently whipped up in my household growing up. I recently traveled to New Orleans (twice last October!) and fell in love with the creamy creole goodness that is gumbo. We’ve been through what seemed like 365 days of January, a snow storm, and then a cold, wet rain/sleet mixture, so naturally I’ve been reminiscing back to warm New Orleans and felt the need to recreate the gumbo that I grew so fond of.

Disclaimer: Let me just remind you that this was my first attempt at making gumbo, so there were most certainly a fair amount of mistakes made (man, that roux is tricky!). I have faith that the next attempt will be even better!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups (gluten-free) flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oil – We used canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups (4 whole) sliced chicken andouille sausage
  • 2 quarts gluten-free chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt, cayenne peper, creole spice
  • 2 cups shredded cooked turkey meat
  • Steamed rice
  • Large soup pot

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Now, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make your roux: In your large soup pot, heat oil and GF flour together over LOW heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until it becomes a nice, dark brown color. This is where I messed up – I didn’t stir long enough before moving to step 2, so my roux was a more golden brown color vs. the darker, nutty brown that you’ll typically see. I didn’t notice a flavor profile difference in mine, but the visual just wasn’t the same.
  2. Once your roux has gotten pretty fragrant and met the dark brown color of your gumbo dreams, add in the onions, pepper, and celery. Stir frequently for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add in your minced garlic and the sliced chicken andouille sausage. Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add stock, bay leaves, salt, cayenne pepper seasoning, and creole seasoning to taste. I added more seasonings to taste over time, so I advise starting with a little bit at first.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour.
  6. Add shredded turkey and simmer 30 more minutes. Feel free to taste test your yummy concoction and add more seasonings at this time.
  7. Gumbo gets better as the seasonings expose their flavors over time. Feel free to stop here, or simmer for even longer.
  8. Serve over steamed rice.

Enjoy!

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This recipe makes A TON of gumbo – I feel like we’ve been eating leftovers for years (I was naughty and made this a week or so ago and haven’t had time to post – sorry!). We’ve been keeping our leftover gumbo stored in our freezer and feel like it’s just as good or better each time we serve it.

I really feel like I went outside of my comfort zone with this recipe since it’s something I typically wouldn’t cook. To be completely honest, before my Celiac diagnosis, a lot of these recipes that I’ve been sharing I wouldn’t have made, but life throws you curveballs and you just have to adapt, right? I know it’s not the healthiest gluten-free meal option out there, but it’s comforting and definitely something we Michiganders need with this yucky weather.

If you try this recipe out, give me a shout – I’d love to see your results and know what you think! Give yourself time and enjoy the process – I know I did 🙂

Until next time, friends.

Bon appétit! 

 

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Energy Balls

We’re smack dab in the middle of Snowstorm Mateo here in Detroit, which means we have another cozy weekend inside ahead of us. After seeing the snowy forecast, I was able to run to the nearest grocery store to stock up on goodies for some fun new (gluten-free) creations in the kitchen.

I cannot wait for you all to try this recipe! I’ve seen a lot of bloggers posting different versions of these oatmeal energy balls and had been dying to try to make them myself. They were a little messier to make than anticipated, but they’re SO delicious, healthy, and inexpensive to make – all worth the quick clean up in the end. Plus, pop them in the freezer and you’ve got yourself a quick fill-up that’s ready when you are.

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Here’s what you need:
  • Large bowl for mixing
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup ground flax seed
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Now, here’s what you need to do:

  1. In no particular order, combine all ingredients into your large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix. I started with a wooden spoon but later switched to kneading with my hands to really make sure everything was evenly distributed. This contributed to my messy counter, but it’s okay – that’s why they invented sponges!
  3. Place the entire bowl in your freezer – set aside for about an hour. Some people will tell you to just set in your fridge, but I found my mixture held together better post-freeze sesh.
  4. Using your hands, roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Mine definitely varied in size, but that’ll just help when I need a bigger snack later on, right?!
  5. Place balls on a plate and set aside in your freezer for another half hour or so. Feel free to nibble on any falling pieces – I sure did!
  6. I stored my energy bites in a Tupperware container and am keeping them in my freezer until I’m ready. Enjoy!

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These little bites have the perfect combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and coconut and are sure to add that extra boost of energy needed post-yoga, during the mid-day slump at your desk, or as an easy grab-and-go breakfast. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Let me know what you think by posting a comment below or posting one on our instagram: AgainstTheGrainDET

Bon appétit! 

Quick Quinoa Risotto and Chicken Andouille Sausage

Trader Joe’s is an inspiring place. I think every time I walk out of one of their stores, my wallet may be lighter, but I’m feeling ready to conquer any recipe I come across. I mentioned in my last post that I’m not a chef – I’d barely even call myself “handy” in the kitchen, but I’m getting there slowly but surely.

Last week, post-Trader Joe’s trip and amped up with motivation to crush another recipe, I got to work on this yummy (and quick!) quinoa risotto with chicken andouille sausage. I was never a quinoa girl before, so there was most certainly a learning curve when I was making this – did you know that a little goes a long way?! I definitely didn’t… I wish I had taken a picture of how much I actually made – enough to feed a small army at least. The cheesy, creamy tomato risotto balances out the spicy andouille sausage perfectly and was a great lazy Sunday meal with enough leftovers for a delicious Monday lunch.

Similar to last week’s post, this meal is packed with protein and flavor and is obviously Celiac friendly!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Now, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Season with salt to taste.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, slice the andouille sausage into half inch slices.
  3. Once water is boiling, add quinoa and stir. Turn heat to low and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add a splash of olive oil to a hot pan and add sausage. Cook on high, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once quinoa is done, add in tomato sauce, chicken stock, cheese, and seasonings.  Stir.
  6. That’s it! Take a big ol’ heaping of risotto, divide between plates (or bowls if that’s more your style) and top with sausage. Garnish with any remaining shredded pecorino romano cheese.

Enjoy!

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I can’t wait for you guys to try this recipe – it’s seriously so simple and scrumptious. Let me know what you think – I’d love to hear from you!

Bon appétit!