Friday, January 21, 2011

Turkey sausage

Hi all,

I don't want anyone reading my recipes to be envious and think I have a 2 yr old that eats all of the food I cook. I offer him everything I prepare, but he is still a typical 2 yr old. I try not to prepare 2 separate meals, but it does happen. Here is a short list of Jack's favorite meals.

Breakfast: for over a year we had oatmeal and then one day he started refusing it. It was shortly after he was able to try pancakes for the first time. This has led to many mornings filled with tears. If only we could have pancakes every morning. Instead I make 20 pancakes every Saturday and see how long it takes for them to disappear. After the pancakes are gone, usually by Tuesday. We resort to dry Cheerios and fruit or Rice Chex with rice milk. Each morning we have a countdown to the next batch of pancakes.

Lunch: This has been a variation of the same meal since Jack was 9 months old. Rice bread with pieces of Boar's Head honey maple turkey or BH low sodium ham. We also have fruit and leftover vegetables. Just recently started giving Jack wheat bread which took some getting used to, but now he asks for it every day. I am very slowly trying to get him to try sunbutter (tests say he is allergic, but he just had the smallest taste today and nothing happened).

Dinner: If I give Jack an option of what he would like for dinner 9 out of 10 times he will choose turkey sausage. When he was a baby I would take the casing off and mash it in the pan while I cooked it in chicken broth. I would finish by adding some rice pasta and Paul Newman marinara sauce. Now we just saute the sausage in a little water to keep pan from burning or sticking. I know he likes it because it is salty and that is why I cut out the chicken stock. The only brand I have ever tried is Shadybrook Farms breakfast sausage or Italian sausage. I prefer to give him the breakfast sausage because of the size.

Other nights we have baked chicken thighs. No sauce. I marinate pork chops in soy vay marinade and he enjoys that. He loves roasted potatoes with salt pepper and extra virgin olive oil. The vegetables he will eat over and over again are broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus. Zucchini is hit or miss as are the peas. In the summer he could eat corn every night and we have frozen sometimes but it's not the same. He used to love cooked carrots, but now only if they are in the chicken soup.
Brown rice and peas are still a favorite. And if I am making the quinoa, lentil and chicken stew. Jack will eat the carrots and chicken if I wipe off the quinoa.
Meatballs are a weekly staple and if he could eat pasta with sauce every night he would, too.

So when people learn about our allergies they ask well what can he eat. My response is very healthy and better than most people. I am fortunate that he has a terrific appetite and will ask me for a second apple a day!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Braised short ribs with acini de pepe

It took me a few hours and I couldn't decide what to cook for our New Year's eve dinner. Not until I arrived at Whole Foods could I make up my mind. When I saw the short ribs my mouth started watering.

Sorry for the approximations, but I made this dish by eyeballing each ingredient

1.5 lbs boneless short ribs
couple of TBS of flour seasoned with Salt and Pepper
about 1/4 c of olive oil
1 small onion small dice
1 large celery stalk, small dice
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 handfuls of baby carrots, sliced lengthwise
1, 8 oz package of sliced white mushrooms
2 spoonfuls of tomato paste
rosemary, dried -- to taste
thyme, dried -- to taste
1/2 - 1 c dry red wine (I used a CA cab)
approx 1 c of chicken broth
1 c of frozen green peas

Heat a medium sized Dutch Oven pan with the oil. Flour and season the short ribs. Add to the pot and brown on all sides. The browner the better. It creates a crust that keeps the moisture in the meat and brown bits in the bottom of the pan create the extra good flavor for the sauce. Once all sides have been equally browned remove and set aside covered. Add the onions and celery. Cook about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and stir cooking another 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, herbs and garlic. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Let the mushrooms begin to cook down and add the tomato pasted. Stir the vegetables until the tomato paste has been cooked in. Pour the wine into the pot and stir the brown bits. Let reduce and thicken. Now add the meat back to pan and the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Add the frozen peas and stir. Cook on low about another 5 to 10 minutes with lid off.

You can serve with mashed potatoes, rice, barley, quinoa. On this night I made one of my favorite side dishes.
Acini di pepe with Spinach

1 cup of acini di pepe
1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
1 small red onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper
(optional: parmesan cheese and butter can be stirred in at the end)

Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add acini and follow cooking instructions. In a large saute pan over medium high heat add the oil, onions and spinach. Let the onions soften. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Turn to low.
Drain the acini (reserving a cup of cooking liquid). Add the acini to the large saute pan. Stir thoroughly, adding some cooking liquid if necessary. Also, add some additional olive oil if desired. Turn the pan off and serve.

The additional side dish to the meal was some beets with shaved aged manchego. It was so delicious.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red Snapper with quinoa pilaf and zucchini

1 pound of red snapper, skin on
1 lemon
olive oil
3 zucchini, sliced
grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup quinoa
6 baby carrots minced
2 onions minced (1 onion for snapper, 1 for quinoa)
1 clove of garlic sliced
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

First saute the zucchini with some olive oil, the garlic salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and set aside. In a medium pot on high heat add minced carrots and onions. Saute until carrots and onions soften. Add 1 cup of quinoa and stir for a minute or so to get toasted. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer with lid on for 15-20 minutes or until liquid absorbed.

In a grill pan or large saute pan on high heat add some olive oil. Season the red snapper wtih salt and pepper. Place skin side down first. Give pan a quick shake so the skin doesn't stick. Squeeze some lemon on top. Cook about 4-5 minutes and carefully turn over. Squeeze some more lemon and toss tomatoes and onions in pan. Cook another 4-5 minutes or until fish no longer translucent on medium heat. If you have some white wine around the house pour a little in the pan to remove the brown bits and makes a little sauce. Otherwise squeeze some more lemon.

Black bean soup

I used to order black bean soup every time I went to a Mexican restaurant. I can't do it anymore. The soups are never as good as mine. I don't know what it is, but the flavor is always so bland.

My recipe is so easy and simple. This soup could be served by itself or with some tortilla chips.

Olive oil
3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, small dice
1 jalepeno, seeded and small dice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
pinch of red pepper flakes
1, 32 oz can of chicken broth or vegetable broth
S&P to taste

In a medium soup pot on medium high heat saute onions, garlic and jalepeno with oil until soft. Add the beans. Stir. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 15-45 minutes. Puree and serve. If you like the texture of the beans reserve a cup and add back to soup after puree.


I had big plans to make a turkey soup with the bones and meat Thanksgiving night. I didn't plan on getting home the previous night at 1am. My sone waking up at 230am. And getting about 4 hours sleep. The bones went in the trash and I came up with a better idea. This was lunch on Friday when my son was sleeping, hence the cheese.

Turkey Quesadillas

leftover turkey meat
shredded cheese, I use the Mexican blend
1 thinly sliced onion
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 avocados, chopped
1 jar of favorite salsa, we love the Whole Foods 365 brand
4 whole wheat low carb wraps, found in the taco section of store
olive oil for heating the pan

I first sauteed the onion and pepper until slightly carmelized. Then set aside. I used the microwave to warm up the turkey meat.

Any fry pan will do, but I put our grill pan on medium heat and drizzled the oil to coat. Take 1 wheat wrap and spread out the warmed turkey meat, vegetable mixture and cheese on top. Place another wheat wrap on top. Repeat. Carefully put quesadilla in pan. Turn over when you can see some color on the wrap. If you want to turn the stove to low you can place another pan over the quesadilla to help cook though it won't be as crispy on the edges.

Serve with avocadoes and salsa

Thanksgiving update

The turkey was done on the early side. I freaked, but everything was delicious. Knowing I was planning my meal around a 2 year I didn't expect him to try everything. That would be asking a lot. I just didn't plan for him to only eat chocolate cake for the entire day. The bright side was that he really liked the cake and I gave him a piece every night for a week! The only thing I will try differently is the gravy. It was fine, but a little too salty and I had followed the process of Alton Brown and added wine (something I don't normally do). My gravy doesn't need it and next year I will pass.

My mashed potatoes with soy milk and margarine need some help and will have to be tested before next year.

Anyway it was a success and I look forward to many more Thanksgivings.

Monday, November 22, 2010


We are hosting Thanksgiving this year. Besides our food allergies my sis in law is lactose intolerant and celiac. The bright side is we don't have to eliminate any additional foods from our menu. This will be a nut free holiday. There will be butter and wheat in the stuffing and sweet potatoes. I bought our turkey from Trader Joe's. This is our third brined turkey. They are so juicy and tender. I spent the past couple of weeks looking for recipes for dessert (I don't enjoy experimenting - I feel like a failure if it doesn't work). So I look for help online. A great blog called the has helped me this year. I spent the weekend getting my ingredients at Whole Foods and have 1 more stop tonight for a spring form pan and then I am ready to go.
The menu is as follows: Mom and Dad are bringing the bread, stuffing, sweet potatoes and apple pie (none of which can be eaten by my son or sis in law). My mom in law is bringing scallops wrapped in bacon and mashed turnips and carrots. My sis in law is bringing stuffed mushrooms with sausage (which she can eat) and a salad.

I am preparing the following

Roast Turkey with dairy and wheat free gravy
Crunchy Brussels Sprouts with craisins
Mashed potatoes with unsalted margarine and chicken broth
crudite with soy sour cream dip (will fool any sour cream lover)
Sweet Potato Cornbread
flourless chocolate cake
pumpkin pie

The cornbread, pie and cake are egg, dairy, wheat, nut and soy free. I am nervous about trying so many new things for 1 occasion, but this is the time to do it.

We have a doctor's appt all morning tomorrow and I am going to a 9pm basketball game with my husband on Wednesday. When I am going to prepare everything is still being decided in my head. I have to dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms and change the sheets.

In the past I have made additional courses of a sauce with meatballs and butternut squash soup. I think it is just too much food unless you plan on having more than 1 meal, but then it takes all day to eat. Maybe Christmas we can do it.

This past Friday we had beef stew, Saturday was leftovers, Sunday hamburgers, roasted broccoli, potatoes and salad. Tonight leftovers and butternut squash soup. Tomorrow more leftovers, we need room in the fridge. Wed night we won't be home and then Friday I plan to make a turkey soup with leftovers.

Happy cooking to everyone!