Category Archives: Gluten Free

How I Prep Chicken & Grilled Veggies

I am a big-time food prepper.  In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle it has to be easy and for me that means keeping healthy food in the fridge ready to go.  It’s easy to grab some carbs to round out a meal, so having some protein and veggies ready is key.

For years now I have been prepping mass quantities of chicken breasts every few weeks.  I’d rather do a WHOLE BUNCH every once in a while than every few days.  BBQ in bulk I say.

This is the method that works for me and I thought it might be of interest to you.  My Greek marinade recipe is so simple and not a perfect science in that it is a little bit different every time…I don’t do any precise measurements when I make it.  Growing-up my parents made a Greek Lemon Oregano Chicken and that is what this is based on.

With regards to counting macros, I know some people would count the lemon and the olive oil, but I take a somewhat laid-back approach to that and don’t include that in my daily macros because let’s be honest, most of the olive oil cooks off on the BBQ and just makes it so it doesn’t stick to the grill.  Now, if my chicken had a sauce poured over it after it had been prepared and was served to me that way, I would most definitely count that in my daily macros.

For the “cup” measurements I just use those that are written on the side of my Vitamix.  Today I doubled the recipe since I was making 15 chicken breasts as well as 2 bunches of grilled asparagus.

Balanced Grettie Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade Collage

Greek Lemon Oregano Marinade

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup organic olive oil (I buy mine at Costco)
  • 1 head of garlic, break apart the cloves and peel them
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs whole pepper corns
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano

Method

Place all ingredients EXCEPT for the dried oregano into the Vitamix and blend until smooth.  Add the dried oregano and blend briefly so you preserve the leaves and don’t pulverize them (just personal preference).

CHICKEN & VEGGIE PREP

When it comes to prepping the chicken, the best trick I have discovered is to pound it.  By pounding the chicken and making it all the same thickness, you end-up with evenly cooked chicken and chicken that BBQs a heck of a lot faster!  It is super moist vs. having uneven dry spots like so often happens with THICK chicken breasts  (as long as you don;t overcook it!).

I allow the chicken to marinade for 4-8 hours…with this amount of lemon overnight would be TOO much (learned that the hard way)!  Make sure you reserve some of the marinade for your veggies.  This works awesome with asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.

I like to place a flat black trash bag on my counter in order to avoid chicken juice flying everywhere (and it makes the clean-up a snap).  I also pound the chicken inside a produce bag from the grocery store for the same reason.  As for how the rest of the prep goes…I’ll tell it in pictures.

Balanced Grettie Chicken Prep pounded

Balanced Grettie Lemon oregano Greek Chicken prep pounding method Balanced Grettie Marinating Asparagus in a bag

Chicken Asparagus Prep 2

Once my chicken is BBQ’d and has cooled, I put about 4 breasts in the fridge and I vacuum pack bags of 4 and put them in the freezer.  When I am running out of prepped chicken in the fridge I pull out a bag from the freezer and defrost it in cold water (MUCH better result than defrosting in the microwave…I’m not a huge microwave fan).

Do any of you have food prep tricks you’d like to share?

 

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Filed under Gluten Free, IIFYM and Macros, Main Dish, Nutrition, Paleo, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt

High Protein Taco Trick

High Protein Taco Trick

I thought I’d share a quick trick with you that will help you get more protein in your diet.

The one glaring consistency I see among my clients is that prior to working with me they drastically under-eat protein.  Most of my clients struggle at first to find ways to add protein to their diets and this is one solution I use frequently in my own meals.

Egg whites are an amazing source of protein and they make an appearance on my table daily in one form or another.

To make the high protein taco base, I spray some olive oil (a tiny bit) into a pan, add in my measured egg whites (I used 1/3c per taco today), season with salt, top with a corn tortilla (I like the Don Pancho corn tortillas…only 10g carbs per tortilla), top with a cover and cook until no longer liquid, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

I love this method because it keeps the egg and tortilla together vs. trying to add scrambled egg whites to a taco which just ends-up getting messy and falling apart.

Today I had three tacos for lunch.  The egg whites and corn tortilla usually form the base of my taco because it is filling and nutritious…the toppings change and vary between:

  • grilled chicken
  • pulled pork (my husband makes the most amazing pulled pork!)
  • shrimp*
  • white fish
  • salmon
  • steak

*I have been buying shrimp pre-cooked from Costco and pre-portioning it into 3oz. bags to keep in the freezer for quick meals

You can pretty much guarantee that I will usually add:

  • Good Foods guacamole (the singles from Costco are a favorite)
  • Tapatillo
  • shredded cabbage (for further bulk)

What are your favorite tricks for getting your daily protein in???

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Filed under Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Protein, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes

MASALA SPICE COOKIES – Gluten Free & Paleo & Recipe Contest FOR YOU!

Masala Spice Cookies Paleo Gluten Free (12)

My life has taken some crazy turns in the last month.  My family and I are currently preparing for a move out of state.  Having spent my entire life as a Californian, I am excited for the adventure that awaits while also nervous, giddy, and BUSY!  Needless to say, I haven’t been giving Veggie Grettie much attention lately.  Did I mention that my son also broke his wrist…craziness I tell ya!!!

In the midst of the broken wrist debacle,  the folks over at Grandma’s Molasses called and provided me with some much needed cooking inspiration and a wonderful distraction to the endless lists of tasks still to be done.  I needed some time in the kitchen (my therapy) and here was my excuse.  The task I was given was to come-up with a cookie recipe using molasses that wasn’t your standard ginger snap (Put your thinking caps on because YOU will have an opportunity to enter their recipe contest!!!…see below for details).

When it comes to sugar, molasses is one of the all-stars.  I am not saying it is OK to go out and over-consume any sugar, but when it comes to molasses it actually does have some redeeming qualities.  One hundred grams of molasses contains 50% of the RDA for calcium, 95% of the RDA for iron, and 38% of the RDA for magnesium.  I dare you to find another sugar with the same nutrition profile.

When I think of molasses I think of spice and as I pondered spice my mind wandered to Indian flavors which led me to the flavor profile of this cookie.  Garam Masala and curry came to mind.  Mix that with molasses, honey, and ginger and you have one heck of a cookie on your hands; crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, not too sweet, and packed with flavor.

I wanted to have the cookies be very thin, use a cookie cutter, and have the cookies keep their shape… a difficult feat when baking gluten-free and paleo.  I came upon this method on Primal Palate and had a good hunch it would work…it is brilliant.  Basically you spread the dough on parchment cookie that is on a cookie sheet, bake it for 5-7 minutes, allow it to cool quickly, and then roll it out, use cookies cutters, and repeat until you have used up all of the dough.  This method worked so well and for the first time I was able to use cookie cutters for gluten-free cookies and have them keep their shape.  Again, revolutionary!

Masala Spice Cookies Method

INGREDIENTS – Makes 2 dozen 2 1/4″ square cookies

1 cup blanched almond flour, packed
1 Tbs Garam Masala
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp finely shredded fresh ginger
2 Tbs. ghee ( I make my own), room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs Grandma’s Molasses
2 1/2 Tbs. orange honey
1 egg, room temperature

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METHOD

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (I used convection bake).

Pack the almond flour when measuring it and then place it in a bowl.  Use a fork remove the lumps from the almond flour.  Add in the Garam Masala, curry powder, and fresh ginger making sure to distribute the spices well.

Add the ghee and mix well with the fork until small lumps are throughout the crumbly dough.

Add the vanilla, molasses, and honey and stir well.

Lastly, add the egg and stir well until a batter forms.

Pour the batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet carefully spreading it into a thin rectangle.  Bake for 8 minutes rotating the cookie sheet half-way through.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow it to cool to the point where you can safely touch the batter.  Make a ball with the batter and roll it out between two sheets on parchment paper until it is 1/8″ thick.

Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookie shapes of your choosing (I used a 2 1/4″ square cookie cutter).  Roll the excess dough into a ball and repeat the process until you have used-up all the cookie dough.

Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (rotate 1/2 way through).  Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Allow the cookies to cool and enjoy!

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For a printable version of this recipe CLICK HERE.

….Masala Spice Cookies Paleo Gluten Free (14)

1.    On Dec. 3rd, Grandma’s Molasses will launch a Facebook recipe submission contest and will showcase 12 featured blogger recipes over 12 days and celebrate recipe sharing in general, so check out their Facebook Page for details.

2.    The Cookie Exchange Recipe Submission Contest will begin on Dec. 3rd and is open to the public

3.    Entrants are required to submit an original cookie recipe that includes the use of Grandma’s Molasses

4.    One lucky winner will receive a $500 Visa gift card and the original recipe will be featured alongside the 12 featured recipes created by our esteemed bloggers

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*** I was compensated for this post, however the opinions and content of the post belong solely to me…It is so fun when a company gives you creative control and lets you run with it!

To learn more about molasses click HERE.

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Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holidays, Paleo, Recipes

SLOW COOKER SQUASH

Kabocha Squash1

I absolutely love kabocha squash, but hate how it can feel like a lot of work to prepare.  It is such a hard squash and so difficult to cut through.

There is a better way!!!  I did a Pinterest search and discovered that you can cook squash in the slow cooker WHOLE!  How fantastic is that?

Today I used my cleaver and cut the kabocha squash I had in half because it was too tall for my slow cooker.  I then scraped out the seeds since I already had access to them, placed them on a metal grate open-side down, poured 1 cup of broth into the slow cooker and set it on high for 1-2 hours or low for 3-4.  Done!

I have also cooked a smaller kabocha squash whole and it worked great as well.

I am excited to try spaghetti squash next.

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* Make sure you test your squash along the way to make sure it is done to your liking.  Each slow cooker operates differently (some run hot), so this way you can avoid a soggy mess. 

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Filed under Crock Pot, Gluten Free, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

SLOW COOKER COCONUT CURRY CHICKEN

With chicken thighs in the fridge and a hankering for coconut curry, I set off on a web search for a recipe that I could put together before lunch and have ready for us to eat when we cruise on in after saxophone lessons around 6:30pm.  I came across this recipe on the blog, Sweet Treats and More.

Mondays are our CRAZY BUSY days and the slow cooker is my saving grace.

This recipe was an absolute winner! I served the curry with jasmine rice for those who wanted it and poured my portion of the curry over steamed veggies.  At the end of the meal all the slow cooker was left with was sauce.

The next time I make this recipe I will be doubling the amount of chicken which will leave us with enough food for two meals.  I love making a big pot of something and freezing half for dinner on another day.

I also used 1/2 tsp. chili flakes vs. the 1 tsp the recipe called for since my youngest is not a fan of spice.  I then put more chili flakes on the table for those who wanted more heat.

It would be great to add some sweet potato or Yukon golds to the recipe as well.

Click HERE for the recipe.

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Filed under Crock Pot, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes

Elana’s Pantry Banana Bread – Gluten-Free & Paleo

Image Courstey of Elana’s Pantry

This morning my son looked across the counter and saw our overripe bananas which prompted, “Mom I REALLY have a craving for banana bread!  I LOVE your banana bread recipe!!!”  Do you think he was not so subtly hinting???

I decided to go another route today and try Elana Amsterdam’s (of Elana’s Pantry) Paleo Banana Bread Recipe.  The only alteration I made to the recipe was to use coconut oil in lieu of vegetable shortening.  I also tented the bread with foil for the last 15-20 minutes or so since it was already a nice golden brown and I didn’t want it to burn.

My kids went gaga for this and both had three slices after school.  I had to stop them so that there would be at least a slice each for my husband and I to try.

Click HERE for the recipe and while you are at it surf around Elana’s site…it is chalk-full of wonderful recipes.

On another note…There was definitely lively debate and commenting after my last post.  I approved ALL of the comments and allowed the conversation to continue right up until today.  The discussion has been had, viewpoints have been shared, and it is now time for all of us to move on.  I choose to focus on the positive in life and as of now I will no longer be approving any negative comments…let’s keep it happy.  

Veggie Grettie is my little corner of the world where I share recipes I have created, those of others I admire, health information, and a smidgen of my personal life from time to time.  I would like to continue doing so and want to thank those of you who sent your good vibes my way.  Much love!!!

Peace and health,

Gretchen

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Filed under Breads / Crackers / Muffins, Cake, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegetarian

EGG-FREE PALEO MACAROONS

Elana's Pantry Egg-Free Paleo Macaroonsphoto provided courtesy of elanaspantry.com

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Summer is here for my kids…yay!!!  School just got out and I couldn’t be happier.  I just made these Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons and they are in the oven as I type.  The macaroons came together insanely fast and I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry.  If the batter is any indication, these are going to be amazing.

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Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons

Recipe provided courtesy of Elana’s Pantry

  1. In a food processor, combine shredded coconut and coconut flour
  2. Pulse in salt, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla
  3. Dough will form a ball
  4. Scoop batter 1 level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

Makes 12 macaroons

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

SAN-J GLUTEN FREE ASIAN DRESSINGS

San J Dressing Collage

San-J is a favorite brand in this gluten-free Asian household.  Their Thai Peanut Sauce has been a staple in our fridge for years as has their Szechuan Sauce & Terriyaki Sauce.

That being said, I was excited to try their new salad dressings (which they sent to me free of charge).  The flavors are good basic Asian flavors:

While admittedly HIGH in sodium, I am a fan of these dressings.  I used them on seaweed salad and to lightly marinade some cucumbers (they tasted best after only marinading 30 minutes…when left overnight they became too salty).  I did however cut the dressing with a bit of rice wine vinegar because I like a more “vinegar-y” dressing and I also added some red pepper flakes to the cucumbers.

Using the dressings on a regular salad produced a great result.  My favorite 2 dressings were the Tamari Peanut and Tamari Ginger since they had more flavor than the Tamari Sesame.

Some more good news…San-J has Reduced Sodium Tamari now…yay!!!  HOPEFULLY they will come out with Reduced Sodium Travel Packs soon (I keep the travel packs in my car for when I go out to Asian restaurants).

San-J graciously shared a recipe for one of their favorite ways to use the Tamari Peanut Dressing…

TAMARI PEANUT PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI

Created by: Amie Valpone

INGREDIENTS Serves 4.

12 oz. whole grain spaghetti
1 Tbsp. olive oil (eliminate if water sauteing)
1 large zucchini, diced
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing Sub out for either ginger or sesame dressing and add 1Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
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PREPARATION

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Then, drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (eliminate if water sauteing). Add the zucchini; cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add white beans, garlic, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add bean mixture to the spaghetti along with San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing and mix well to combine.

Serve warm and top with sesame seeds.

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Recipe courtesy of San-J. www.san-j.com

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

pineapple upside down cakes (12)

It has been YEARS since I last had pineapple upside-down cake.  Out of the blue a craving hit and I decided to challenge myself to come-up with a healthier version.

Along the way I discovered that this recipe makes a wonderful pancake batter as well (you have to love the dual purpose nature of this batter!).

I have been invited to enter the Ethical Ocean recipe contest and this will be my entry…more information to come.

INGREDIENTS – Makes 12-16 muffins

Wet Ingredients
12 pineapple slices, drained (reserve 2 Tbs. juice from the can)
12 Morello cherries
1 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple
1 cup applesauce
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Dry Ingredients
2 Tbs SweetLeaf SugarLeaf
1-2 Tbsp pineapple juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup King Arthur’s Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup GFree pancake mix
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
honey or maple syrup
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METHOD

pineapple upside down cake collage 1

  1. Preheat oven to 350° (I used convection bake).
  2. Trim the pineapple slices to the size of the bottom of your muffin tin (I used a biscuit cutter).
  3. In a large mixing bowl add 1 cup applesauce, crushed pineapple, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Mix.
  4. Add baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, pancake mix, and flours to a separate bowl and whisk to evenly distribute.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well to incorporate.
  6. Lightly grease the muffin tins (I used coconut oil).
  7. Line the bottom of each tin with one slice of pineapple and a cherry in the middle.
  8. Cover each pineapple and cherry slice with batter until the muffin tins are 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  10. Allow the pan to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack and top with maple syrup or honey while still warm.

pineapple upside down cake collage 2

Don’t forget that this batter also makes AMAZING pancakes!!!  Feel free to add a smidgen more pineapple juice to thin the batter if you plan on using it for pancakes.

pineapple upside down cakes (6)

For a printable version of this recipe CLICK HERE.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cake, Cooked Fruit, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

THE BEST DARN CORNBREAD MUFFINS – GFree, Refined Sugar-Free, Fat-Free

Best Darn Cornbread Muffins (18) CROPPED

I really like cornbread.  There is just something about ending a cold day with a bowl of hot stew, chili, or soup and a side of cornbread.

When I was really young that meant opening a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix and as I got older my family transitioned to Marie Callender’s cornbread mix.  Let’s just say that Marie set the bar pretty stinkin’ high…that stuff is gooood!!!

When we found out that my daughter needed to go gluten-free I began purchasing pre-packaged gluten-free cornbread mixes and I have to say that I have just been tolerating them.  In my opinion I have yet to come across one that is good.  The mixes I have purchased through the years tend to be bland and DRY.

I finally decided to tackle the gluten-free cornbread monster and came-up with a recipe that I am really happy with.  The muffins taste like corn and honey and they are nice and moist.  To top it off there is no refined sugar and these moist muffins have NO OIL!!!

Problem solved.

THE BEST DARN CORNBREAD MUFFINS

Best Darn Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread Muffin COLLAGE 2

INGREDIENTS – Makes 12 muffins

DRY
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used King Arthur)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
 
WET
1 cup applesauce
1 cup creamed corn (8.5 oz. can…make sure it is dairy-free)
8.75 oz. can whole kernel corn (no salt added), drained (chop finely if desired)
2-4 Tbs honey (I prefer 2 Tbs) (to make vegan, use maple syrup or agave)
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (I used convection bake).

Combine the cornmeal, flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl combine the applesauce, creamed corn and honey.  Whisk together until fully incorporated.

Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon until fully mixed.

Chop up the whole kernel corn until it is the size you prefer for your muffins.  Fold the corn kernels into the batter.

Line your muffin tins (grease lightly with coconut oil spray) and fill each muffin 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for 14-18 minutes (rotating half-way through) until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely. *

These muffins taste great straight out of the refrigerator.

.Best Darn Cornbread Muffins (26)

*Remember that homemade gluten-free baked goods taste best once they have cooled completely.  Straight out of the oven they tend to be gummy.

For a printable recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Breads / Crackers / Muffins, Cake, Dessert, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian