roasted cauliflower and chicken sausage casserole

April 6, 2015 § 35 Comments

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I just can’t stop buying cauliflower.  It’s as though I am making up for lost time because for years I wouldn’t touch the stuff.  There are so many delightful ways to prepare cauliflower and here’s an interesting casserole with plenty of room for modification. This particular recipe is the “full on” gluten and dairy free version. If you prefer you could replace the almond meal and nutritional yeast with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs for a toasted crunchy top.  The combination of textures and flavors in this dish are outstanding and it is suitable as a one dish meal.  We used both spicy and mild Italian chicken sausage.   It’s a hearty meal that doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed. Clean eating and a simple recipe.

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Serve with a leafy green salad.

The recipe is from the Clean Eats cookbook written by Alejandro Junger.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (roughly 2 pounds) cut into bite size florets
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for the baking dish
  • 1/2 pound raw organic Italian chicken sausages, nitrate and sugar free, removed from casings
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • leaves of 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1- 28 ounce can whole organic peeled tomatoes, drained and the liquid reserved (the reserved liquid can be omitted to achieve less tomato flavor)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or you can use parmesan cheese

M e t h o d

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly coast a 9 x 12 baking dish with olive oil.  In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with half of the minced garlic and one tablespoon olive oil.  Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for approximately 20 minutes, turning them frequently. When the cauliflower is evenly browned remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the sausage and break it up.  Cook for 10 – 12 minutes until it is cooked through and beginning to get crispy.  Lower the heat to medium low and add the onions, the remaining garlic and thyme.  Sauté the mixture for about 5 minutes.  Crush the tomatoes and add them to the pan.  Stir thoroughly, add the remaining tomato sauce, if desired, and sauté for 5 more minutes.  Turn off the heat and taste.  Add salt and pepper if necessary.  Stir in the cauliflower.

In the prepared baking dish, distribute the cauliflower and sausage mixture evenly.  In a small bowl combine the almond meal and nutritional yeast (or parmesan) and sprinkle over the casserole.  Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

 

quinoa spaghetti and turkey meatballs

March 30, 2015 § 63 Comments

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We’ve shifted our diet around a bit.  I am strictly buying organic foods now and we have cut out a few things.  One being gluten.  Although we don’t consider ourselves gluten intolerant (thank goodness) we decided to eliminate it for two weeks just to see what would happen.  And boy were we were surprised.  Our energy level came up significantly, that feeling of fullness disappeared, we are sleeping better and have dropped a few inches from our waistline.

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At this point we are not completely gluten free, but we are making different choices when buying foods that contain gluten.  You can imagine while deciding to minimize the amount of gluten in our food the first thing that crossed my mind was pasta.  I can remove all kinds of things from my diet but pasta was going to be a huge challenge.   Semolina pasta is my comfort food.  Then lo and behold while shopping at the co-op the other day I stumbled upon a little box of quinoa pasta.  The spaghetti we usually purchase is available in 16 ounce (one pound) boxes.  This little box was only 8 ounces.  I paid for it and couldn’t wait to get home to start the meatballs.

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We were pleasantly surprised with the chewy “al dente” texture of the quinoa pasta and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a gluten free spaghetti option.  And I must say it felt right cooking that little 8 ounce box rather than a whole pound of spaghetti.   We were completely satiated.

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Served with a sprinkling of parmesan.

I n g r e d i e n t s

Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground organic free range ground turkey
  • 1/2 purple onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Sauce

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pesto

  • handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

M e t h o d

Sauce.  Using a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the crushed garlic cloves and cook until fragrant.  Do not brown.  Add the can of crushed tomatoes and lower the heat to low.  Add salt and allow to simmer.

Meatballs.  Place all ingredients in a bowl, remove your rings and mix well with your hands.  Create golf ball sized meatballs and dropped them evenly into your tomato sauce as you go.  Do not stir.  You may break up the meatballs.  Instead, take the pot by the handles and swirl the meatballs around a bit to evenly coat with sauce.  Cover and continue to simmer giving it a swirl every now and then.

Pesto.  Before you prepare the pesto, place a large pot of water on high heat.  For a quick and efficient method you may place all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and whizz.  Otherwise, chopped and mince your ingredients and place them all in a bowl and stir.  When the water is boiling cook your pasta according to the package instructions.

When pasta is done, drain and return to the pot.  Toss the pasta with the pesto. Add a few large spoonfuls of tomato sauce and toss.  Serve with a little more sauce, meatballs and parmesan.

Serves 3 with leftover meatballs.

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