Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Pie

I haven't had as much time in the kitchen as I would like lately so I've been making sure that if nothing else, I set aside Sunday night for new recipes. I was scanning Pinterest earlier this week and came across a baked spaghetti recipe and thought "why on earth would someone take an extra step to bake pasta after boiling it??" I had to find out for myself.

I was absolutely amazed and in love with this recipe. I wanted to capture the recipe step-by-step through photo so I could share because this was a whole new experience for me. Since I don't want to blow the big reveal, I'll start with the basics:

Ingredients for Recipe:
1 lb ground beef
1 jar 26 oz pasta sauce
8 oz gluten free spaghetti, cooked al dente
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Step 1:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a deep 9x13 baking dish with foil then  lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Step 2: Meanwhile, brown ground beef in skillet, stirring occasionally, breaking up the meat, until the meat is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and drain the excess grease. Add pasta sauce to meat and set aside (no need to heat sauce).

Step 2:
Step 3: Place cooked spaghetti in baking dish and sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the top.

Step 3:

Step 4: Next, In a small bowl whisk eggs and add cream, milk, garlic salt, to combine then pour egg mixture over the Parmesan and noodles.

Step 4:

Step 5: Pour meat sauce over the top and spread evenly.

Step 6:  Sprinkle layer of meat with Parmesan and mozzarella.

Step 6:

Step 7: Bake 45-50 minutes until cheese browns and sauce bubbles. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Step 7:

There you have it! The most amazing spaghetti dish I've had in my life. Seriously, this was life changing. Now I completely understand why someone would take the time go through the extra steps to make pasta. Not only does it taste better but it makes serving pasta easier and it's covered in twice as much cheese!! This will definitely be one of my new faves.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Trader Joe's Blessing: Shredded Brussels Sprouts!

I've been on a Trader Joe's kick lately. I don't know how people can hate that place (yes, haters exist. Trust me.) Not only do they have delicious options but it's cheap too. I can get a massive bag of fruit, veggies and snacks for less than $20. Amazing!

Two of my favorite products lately are the gluten free coconut chips and shredded Brussels sprouts (not to be eaten together, of course). The coconut chips are a great snack when I'm on the run. I usually toss them into the TJ's raw cashew, almond and dried cranberry mix. So delicious.

Brussels spouts, on the other hand, are best enjoyed after a little sauteing.  I love sauteing half the bag of sprouts with a third of a bag of chopped kale and half a chopped onion. Once they're softened, I add a dash of lemon juice and season with salt, pepper and a little Parmesan and voila, an amazing side dish! I've gotten into such a habit of making these I tried two main-dish options that I love equally: kale and Brussels pizza and kale and Brussels with shrimp. They're both super delicious and easy to prepare

Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Onion pizza:
First, cook the kale, sprouts and onions as directed above, sans Parmesan. Take your favorite prepared gluten free pizza crust and spread a tablespoon of olive oil to cover. Next, sprinkle some freshly shaved Parmesan to your liking. Personally, I love a thick layer of cheese. Lastly, spread kale-Brussels mix evenly over the top and season with salt and pepper. Bake until crust is cooked through and cheese is melted.

Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Shrimp:
Prepare kale and Brussels as directed above. In a separate sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of butter over medium heat and toss in 8 to 10 shrimp. Cook for about two minutes on each side, until pink. Season with salt and pepper then toss over kale and Brussels.

Two amazing dishes sharing the same easy to prep ingredients. Yum!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Restaurant Review: S'MAC

 The opportunity to write a restaurant review is very exciting for me.  And for obvious reasons...there aren't a ton of truly gluten free options out there. Sure, I can get a salad and burger without a bun almost anywhere but mac and cheese? That's rare.

But not at S'MAC, short for Sarita' Macaroni and Cheese. S'MAC caters to the gluten free but also offer options for the regular pasta eating folks. I had my first S'MAC taste several years before my diagnosis and loved it. I've been meaning to go back but just hadn't gotten around to it. Thankfully, S'MAC teamed up with Groupon and offered a great deal for two medium macs (also called major munch) and two drinks. It was destiny.

My boyfriend and I stopped by their Murray Hill location after work tonight. I couldn't make up my mind. Every menu option was available gluten free. From meaty cheeseburger mac to cajun or buffalo chicken. I was going to take a lighter caprese route but opted for the bacon and ordered their Apline instead: slab bacon covered in Gruyere. mmm mm

I have to say - it was absolutely amazing. Every cheesy bite was better than the one before. And the top was covered in the perfect layer of crispy crunchy cheese and served piping hot in an adorable cast iron skillet.

The major munch was so big that I had to take it to go in two containers which I can't even complain about because who wouldn't want delicious Mac two days in a row!? I definitely would have been satisfied with their "nosh" version aka small...but again: leftovers - amazing!!

I would give S'MAC a five star rating! Whether your gluten free or just love plain old Mac and cheese, this is the spot for you!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Broccoli, Scallion, Chickpea Pasta

Brad and I just got back from an amazing weekend with my nephews and family in Nashville. My little brother surprised us and he and his girlfriend decided to drive down for the weekend as well. We visited the Honky Tonks downtown, went to the Chiefs vs Titans game and had authentic BBQ (that made me sick... Yuck).

When we got home, exhausted after playing with the boys from sun up to sun down, the last thing we wanted to do was cook and I had nothing to work with. My hunger won and I threw together scallion, broccoli and chickpea pasta. With a little bit of salt, pepper and Parmesan, it was amazing. For 15 minutes work in the kitchen, I was a happy lady!

8oz gfree pasta
2 tbsp butter or oil
1/2 can chick pea, rinsed
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, cooked
2-3 Scallions, chopped
Salt, pepper and Parmesan to taste.

1) Cook pasta as directed on package, any shape noodle with do.
2) Heat broccoli until cooked all the way through then toss with chickpeas and scallions.
3) When pasta is finished cooking, toss with butter, broccoli, chickpeas and scallions then season with salt, pepper and Parmesan to taste.

It's really that easy and delicious! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tuna Salad

I've been craving tuna salad lately. It's an odd craving for me since it's not a dish that I eat very often but at least it's healthy, right? Earlier this summer while on vacation with Brad's family, I was introduced to the Ellis tuna salad special. In addition to celery and onions, they add apples to their salad. I was immediately intrigued.

Verdict: it was love at first bite!! The sweetness of the apples added an amazing taste and crunchiness to the salad. I'll probably never make this another way again.

2 cans of tuna, packed in water
1/2 onion, diced small
2 gala apples, diced into chunks
3 stalks of celery
1/2 - 3/4 cups mayo
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Use your best judgment when it comes to mayo. If the salad is a bit thick, you'll want to add the additional quarter cup of mayo. If you happen to add too much, toss in a few more apple or celery chunks to beef it up. ;)