Friday, January 6, 2012

Gluten-free Dinners

Going gluten-free offers numerous health benefits and is recommended by various health experts across the nation. I promised in a past blog to post some gluten-free recipes and meal ideas. Thus far, we have covered breakfast and lunch. In case you have missed the others, I have put the links below:

Why We Went Gluten-free

Gluten-free Breakfast

Gluten-free Lunch 

The concept of a gluten-free dinner is actually pretty simple - a healthy, well-sourced meat (free-ranged chicken or pork, grass-fed beef or wild caught fish or shrimp) and vegetables. Some people opt to include a brown or wild rice or quinoa once in a while, but they really should be added sparingly. The key to a delicious, nutritious and filling gluten-free dinner is finding and experimenting with new recipes. Here are some of my favorite traditional meals made healthier:

Chicken Spice Rub w/ Baked or Pan Cooked Chicken
Homemade Spice Rub:
Ground cumin, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, salt, turmeric and onion powder.

If Baking:
Pre-heat over to 400 degrees F
Place chicken legs or thighs in an oven safe dish
Cover with spice rub
Sprinkle olive oil or grass-fed butter over top
Bake until cooked through. If it seems dry, have a spray bottle with water handy to spritz on to give it some moisture.

If Stove Top Cooking:
Melt grass-fed butter, coconut oil or olive oil over medium heat (olive oil is really a low - medium heat oil)
Cover chicken with spice rub (we prefer skinless thighs, the dark meat really absorbs the flavor of the spices better than chicken breasts)
Cook on stove-top until cooked through, flipping at least once

This chicken is packed with flavor! It serves well with any types of vegetables, including a fresh salad, green beans, kale, sweet potatoes, artichoke, carrots, etc...


French Fry Alternatives
French Bakes are a healthy alternative to conventional french fries. They also taste great with sweet potatoes!

Slice russet or sweet potatoes
Toss with grapeseed or coconut oil
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Bake in oven at 400 degrees F, tossing every 10-15 minutes until brown and crispy (but not too crispy!)



PASTA ALTERNATIVE DISHES

Spaghetti Squash
Bake spaghetti squash in the oven at 375 degrees F until softened.
Spoon out squash - it will look like strands of angel hair pasta.
Place in the bottom of a greased oven safe pan.
Cover with vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, kale, fresh tomatoes, onions and garlic.
Add 1/2 cup of cheese, preferably raw cheese.
Cook 1lb of ground beef over the stove top until cooked through. Add over vegetables.
Cover with 1 jar of organic pasta sauce and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over top.
Bake in the oven at 400 degrees F uncovered until bubbling all throughout - approximately 20-30 minutes.
Tastes like a mixture between lasagna and a plate full of regular spaghetti with pasta sauce. The kids won't even notice the squash, it tastes like thin angel hair pasta from all the flavors being cooked into it.

Layered Chicken & Vegetables with Tomato Sauce
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lay boneless chicken thighs or breasts on bottom on deep oven safe dish.
Add spices for flavor (optional - rosemary, basil, pepper, parsley)
Chop up two gloves of garlic, sprinkle over chicken.
Chop up vegetables and layer of chicken (kale, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc...)
Pour tomato or marinara sauce over top.
Cover with grated cheese.
Cover with foil and bake until chicken is cooked through, approx. 20-30 mins.
Remove foil, bake until cheese it browned on top.
***You can also add or minus other ingredients to mimic the flavors of your favorite pasta casserole dishes without the pasta.

Stuffed Poblanos or Stuffed Peppers
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Layer bottom of oven safe dish with parchment paper.
Cut peppers in half, remove seeds, set with opening right side up in oven safe dish.
Place grass-fed ground beef in bowl.
Add chopped onions, chopped garlic, chopped tomato, grated Parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, paprika, cumin, rosemary, parsley, basil and 1-2 slightly beaten eggs (1 egg per lb of beef is a good estimation).
Mix all ingredients together with hands until thoroughly blended.
Stuff meat mixture into peppers about 3/4 full.
Pour pasta sauce over top of stuffed peppers.
Bake in oven until meat thoroughly cooked through.
Sprinkle stuffed peppers with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese before serving. Pairs great with a fresh, garden salad.


Mashed Potatoes Alternative
1 head of cauliflower, cut up and boiled in chicken broth until cooked through
2 regular potatoes, cut up and boiled until cooked through
Drain cauliflower and place heads on cutting board, finely chop
Combine potatoes and cauliflower into mixing bowl.
Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.
Mix with blender until mixture reaches mashed potato texture (unless you like lumpy potatoes).
Top off with chopped chives and/or shredded cheddar cheese.


Potato Cake Alternative
3/4 head of cauliflower, cut up and boiled in chicken broth until cooked through.
2 regular potatoes, shredded
1 carrot shredded
1 zucchini shredded
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
After cauliflower is boiled, drain, chop finely and mash in a mixing bowl.
Combine with shredded ingredients.
Spice to taste with salt, pepper, ground cumin and garlic powder.
Mix well with hands and shape into potato cake patties (if oven baking, add 2 - 3 tablespoons of  melted coconut oil).

Two options for cooking:
Stove-top cooking - pre-heat coconut oil over medium heat and place potato cakes in pan. Flip after browning (about 4-5 minutes each side). If still not cooked through, you can put it in the oven on parchment paper at 400-425 degrees F to finish off to prevent over browning.

Oven Bake - Place patties on parchment paper and bake in the oven at 400 degrees F until brown on one side, flip and bake until brown on the other side (about 15 minutes each side).


Other meals can include anything from soups to main course meats with an array of vegetable options. Below are some other websites with  more recipes to browse through which should give you enough options to create at least 10 - 15 new gluten-free and healthier dinners!

http://www.draxe.com/recipes/main-dishes/
http://www.weightandwellness.com/recipes.html
http://paleodietlifestyle.com/

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