Sunday, November 17, 2013

Savory Grain Free Dressing

Dressing is such a staple of the Thanksgiving table, but most recipes contain bread.  This is a nutrient packed dressing that uses roasted root vegetables in place of bread.  It can also be made up to three days ahead of time.

Savory Grain Free Dressing
Serves 6-8

2 large turnips, peeled and cubed
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 large onions, diced
5 large ribs of celery, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 pound of organic/hormone free sage chicken or turkey sausage (optional)
2-3 teaspoons or more garlic powder (to taste)
2-3 teaspoons sage or more (to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons of sea salt or more (to taste)
½ cup coconut oil, or oragnic, grass fed butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease 2 large baking sheets with oil and evenly spread the turnips and sweet potatoes on them (Depending on the size of your baking sheets, it may take another baking sheet or a couple rounds to fit them all)

Sprinkle with some of the garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, pepper and salt and toss with your hands.

Place into oven and bake for about an hour until they are soft and starting to brown… toss a few times to brown evenly.  Once you remove the the root vegetables, turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage (if using).  Add in onions, and celery. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions soften.  Add in mushrooms and the apple. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust for seasoning. 

Once turnips and sweet potatoes are done, mix with the celery mixture, stir to combine.
Transfer to a greased baking dish and cover with foil or a glass lid, bake for 30 minutes.

*photos are courtesy of Dr. Jockers and his lovely Staff

Paleo Green Bean Casserole

Paleo Green Bean Casserole
Serves 6-8

1 1/2 lb. frozen, organic, green beans, thawed
1 1/2 cups  Coconut Milk
3 tablespoons Organic Butter
3/4 cups of Almond Flour
8 or 1/2 lb. Mushrooms, chopped
1 Onion, diced
Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
Fresh pepper
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 tablespoon Organic Coconut Flour


Place green bean in a colander, pour hot water over them to quick thaw them out.  Drain, and spread into a prepared 9x13 pan. 

In sauté pan, cook the onions, mushrooms and garlic until soft in the ghee or grass fed butter.   Add to the green beans, mix and spread evenly.

In a medium bowl, mix together the Coconut milk, garlic powder, turmeric, and coconut flour.    Pour the mixture over green beans, which should cover them about halfway.  Add salt and pepper over whole dish.

Bake on 350 for 30 minutes.  Add almond meal to top and place under the boiler for 5-10 minutes.  Allow the casserole to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

*Photo courtesy of Dr. Jockers and his lovely staff.

Cauliflower Puree or Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower “Mashed” Potatoes-
 serves 6-8

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
5 large cloves garlic
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼- ½ chicken broth (as needed)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fill a 6 qt pot with 2 inches of water, insert metal steamer, and bring to a boil.  Add in the cauliflower florets and garlic.  Steam until tender (10 minutes).

Remove and place in a colander to drain.  Once drained sprinkle the florets with salt.

Place florets, garlic, butter, black pepper, nutmeg and ¼ cup broth in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with gravy or enjoy as is.

Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole

I made this for my paleo clients last Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit.  In fact, I make this for regular weeknight dinners for my personal chef clients.  Even the kiddos love it.

Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 6-8


3 cups baked sweet potatoes
¼ cup honey
2 eggs
¼ cup coconut oil (or butter)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

Crunchy Topping
1 cup almond flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup
⅛  teaspoons pink sea salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
½ cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped

Equipment- 8x8 baking dish

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare an baking dish with coconut oil.

Combine all ingredients for the potatoes in a food processor and process until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into baking dish.

Combine all ingredients for the topping (except pecans) in a medium bowl. Then, stir in pecans. Sprinkle over potatoes.

Bake for 20 mins and until golden brown.

*photos are courtesy of Dr. Jockers and his lovely Staff

Paleo Cranberry Sauce (Gluten Free)

Who doesn't have memories of sliced canned cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving?  Well, may be it was just me, but anyway, here is a great, clean recipe for cranberry sauce that will make you feel like you're cheating.

Paleo Cranberry Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and picked through
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup honey or a few drops of stevia


Mix all of the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the berries begin to break, or for about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow the cranberry sauce to cool to room temperature. The sauce will become thicker as it cools.

This sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in a airtight container.

photos are courtesy of Dr. Jockers and his lovely Staff

Clean Eating Gluten Free Gravy

Thanksgiving is mere 11 days away.  I know many of you are searching for clean eats to enjoy during Thanksgiving.  Here is simple, but delicious gravy to enjoy along with sliced Turkey or top dressing or mashed potatoes.

Clean Eating Gravy
Serves 8-10


¼ cup butter
1 quart organic chicken 
4 medium to large onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 sprig of thyme
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon pink sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Melt butter in a medium size saucepan. Add onions and cook until theyhave soften and turn brown.  Add garlic, stir to combine.  Stir in coconut flour and continue stirring until it thickens and slightly browns.  Add stock, salt, turmeric and thyme. Simmer gently until sauce begins to thicken, 10 – 20 minutes.  Remove from heat. Remove thyme sprigs. 

Blend carefully in a blender until smooth or use an immersion blender. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

*Photos courtesy of Dr. Jockers and his lovely staff.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Barley and Roasted Squash Pilaf Recipe

Butternut Squash season is here.  This recipe is originally from Food and Wine Magazine but with a few modifications to suit our tastes.  This is a light and hearty meal that is a big hit for potluck gatherings.  It would make an a nice Thanksgiving Entree for vegan or vegetarian guests.

Barley and Roasted Squash Pilaf 
serves 10-12 (side dish)

4 cups peeled, diced (1-inch) butternut squash (1 1/3 pounds)
10-12 small peeled shallots, 1 minced
12 small sage leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups pearl barley (14 ounces)
8 cups Turkey Stock or chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups vacuum-packed whole, roasted peeled chestnuts (about 9 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 375°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced squash with the whole shallots, sage and 1 tablespoon of the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, turning once, until the squash and shallots are softened and browned in spots. Crumble the sage. Leave the oven on.  **this may be done a day ahead of time the bring to to room temperature the day you prepare the dish.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the barley and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 7 minutes. Add the minced shallot and cook until softened. Add the Turkey Stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 35 minutes, or until the barley is al dente.

Stir the chestnuts and garlic into the barley and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is thickened and nearly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the roasted squash, shallots, sage and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Massaman Curry แกงมัสมั่น

The weather is beginning to cool and with that comes the craving for spicier foods.  On the menu tonight is a 15 minute Thai Massaman Curry.  

This recipe is based on a recipe from but modified to use ingredients I enjoy.

Using a good quality massaman paste is a must.  You can check your local Asian store to see if they carry Mae Ploy Thai curry pastes or you can purchase it from 

To start your Massaman, cook the curry paste with coconut cream for a few minutes.  Then add in chicken broth and coconut milk, tangy tamarind, and a little bit of brown sugar to balance out the flavors.  Add in the protein ( beef stew or chicken) and a handful of veggies or the traditional potatoes   Then it goes into the pressure cooker for 15 minutes and voila, dinner is ready.

Massaman Curry

Serves 4


1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

2 medium onions, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
3  tablespoons Massaman curry paste
1 pounds beef chuck cut into 1 inch cubes or chicken breast or a combination (as I did)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more to taste)
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (plus more to taste)
2.5 teaspoons tamarind paste (plus more to taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar or palm sugar (plus more to taste)
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, rinsed and cubed or about 2 cups of chopped vegetables (I used green beans, red pepper, and carrots)
Cooked Jasmine Rice or Roti

Optional Garnish

1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
Avocado Slices


In the pressure cooker pot, add oil and saute the the onion for a few minutes.  Remove and set aside

Scrape the cream from the top of the can of coconut milk and place into pressure cooker. Whisk in the curry paste.  Cook, stirring often for about 6 minutes.    Add in the beef or chicken, and mix to combine with the curry mixture.  

Add the remaining coconut milk, chicken broth, tamarind, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar.  Stir to combine.  Add in vegetables (including the sauteed onion).  Place lid on you pressure cooker.  Bring to temperature and cook for 15 minutes.  Allow pressure to release gradually.  After 10 minutes, release any remaining steam, and allow to sit for 5 minutes to cool.

Serve on a bed of Jasmine Rice or with fresh roti bread.  Garnish and enjoy.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Olive Stuffed Chicken Rollatini

Serve Olive Tapenade with Crostini or Baked Pita Chips 

Stuffed Chicken Rollatini makes an appearance on our table at least once a week or so. I take seasoned chicken cutlets, fill them with whatever I have on hand, dunk in eggs, then into breading (panko, pecans, bread crumbs, you get where I'm going).  Place them into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, then spray the chicken or drizzle with olive oil.  Then bake till golden.

I'm particularly proud of this meal because it allowed me to use my pantry ingredients without having to go to the store for the third time today. Without further adieu:

Greek Stuffed Chicken Rollatini

Olive Spread
1/4 cup black olives
1/4 cup green olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons feta
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon, parsley
1/4 t black pepper, cracked
1/2 lemon, juiced

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Keep in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 2 cups. (2 tablespoons per serving)
This mixture may be spread on crostini and enjoyed as an appetizer.

1 lb. Chicken Breasts, 2 breasts cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, scrambled
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 14 oz. diced tomatoes and garlic, drained
2 teaspoons oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breast halves between two sheets of wax or parchment paper; pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin to a quarter inch of thickness.

Dry chicken cutlets, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.

Scramble the eggs, season with salt and pepper.  Create a dredging station, by filling a shallow plate, or paper plate with bread crumbs.  Set Aside.

Arrange chicken breasts on a flat surface.  Top and spread each piece of chicken with the olive mixture.  Starting from the shorter end, roll up chicken.

Dip in  egg mixture then roll in bread crumbs.  Spray baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.  Arrange chicken rollatinis in a pan then lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, top with diced tomatoes and oregano.  Baked an additional 10-15 minutes.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Stuffed Grape Leaves - Dolma - Dolmades دۆلمە

Chefs are often asked, if this was your last day on earth what would you eat?  (Dolma) Stuffed onions and grape leaves would be my answer.  There are many version of these little beauties, but I feel the Iraqi style of stuffed grape leaves have more spice than their Lebanese or Greek cousins as they tend to be more lemony.  This version gets its tartness from the pomegranate syrup and smokiness from the cumin.

I will warn you, this is time consuming project.  I suggest you get all your ingredients ready, and get ready for a Netflix marathon while you roll the grape leaves.  If you have extra hands (like guests) have them pitch in.  I promise, it's completely worth it.

Leftovers can be frozen for up to six months.  I wrap about a dozen dolma in a plastic wrap and pop into a zip top bag.  They are great appetizers for last minute guests or even a quick lunch.

2 cups jasmine rice
1 cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup pomegranate molasses 
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. curry powder
1 jar grape leaves, in brine (rinse leaves in warm water and set aside to drain)
2 cups chicken stock
1-2 cups water
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt
4 medium potatoes, sliced 

Optional topping

2 tsp. ground sumac, plus more to garnish 
Greek-style yogurt, to serve


This step is optional, cut potatoes into round, and fry until golden brown.  You may leave them raw as they will steam during cooking.

 Make the stuffing: Combine rice, parsley, oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt and pepper, and 1 ½ cups water in a bowl; let sit until the rice begins to soak up some of the liquid, about 30 minutes to an hour.  When you are ready to use, drain rice to remove excess liquid and set a side.

Line pot with potato slices.

Lay the grap leave flat, vein side up, add 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture.  Fold over the two sides,of the grape leaves-length wise, and then fold up over the rice, and then roll up. Repeat until all the grape leaves are stuffed.  Layer in the rolled grape leaves, then top with the diced tomatoes    Place a plate upside down on top, then place a heavy object over the dish, such as a large can or a clean brick (wash,dry it and wrap in foil).

Pour 2 cups of broth and the remainder of sauce from the rice mixture, then add water until you have covered the plate by 1/2 inch.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 2-2.5 hours.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for one hour.  Remove the weight, and plate, divide rolls among serving plates and sprinkle with sumac; serve with a dollop of Greek/or Labneh yogurt.  Dolma can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature or straight out of the fridge if you are me.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cauliflower Pizza

Let's face it, some vegetables are packed with nutrition, but can be a hard sell for kids (and some adults).  Bland steamed, vegetables, while great for you, can leave you feeling disappointed and unfulfilled with your dinner.  In my experience, adding marinara and cheese to any vegetable transforms it from boring to tasty.

Cauliflower is one of my go to vegetables when cooking low carb, gluten free and even Paleo.  Treated correctly, it can be a stand in for rice, potato, or in this case flour.  For this recipe, you will need one medium sized head of cauliflower, cut into chunks, then riced, cooked and then mixed with eggs and spices to produce a mock pizza dough.    To rice the cauliflower, place florets into the food processor and pulse until fine.  If you don't have a food processor, you can use a box grater or a sharp knife.

Chef Tips:

- After cooking, squeeze out as much liquid from the cauliflower as possible
- This is not a regular pizza dough.  It will become soft and fragile after cooking.
- Use a sil pat or parchment paper to line your cookie sheet to prevent from sticking and it will help you easily remove the pizza without breaking the dough.
- Change out seasonings to turn into Indian, Thai or even Mexican Pizza.  Remember, this is a method that can be changed to please your palate.

Let's get started:

Cauliflower Pizza

1 small cauliflower, cleaned and cut into smaller chunks
2 eggs
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon basil or Italian seasoning blend
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup marinara sauce
3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Chop the cauliflower in the food processor; pulse into a fine mixture resembling rice.  Place cauliflower into a microwave safe container, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 6-8 minutes or until cooked.

Carefully, place the cooked cauliflower into a tea towel, or several layers of paper towel, in a mesh colander over a bowl and squeeze to remove liquid. Allow to sit for 5 minutes (still in the tea towel) then squeeze one more time.  You should now have a firm puree.

In a large bowl, scramble egg, add in cauliflower puree, seasoning, mozzarella, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine.

Turn out onto a sil pat or parchment lined cookie sheet.  Form into round or square (your preference) about 1/3 - 1/2 inch thick. Avoid spreading out the mixture too thin as this will cause cracks in the dough.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, top with marinara, additional cheese, and basil. (Feel free to use your favorite pizza toppings like pepperoni, bacon, sausage, onions, peppers, etc.)  Bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spicy Apple Glazed Meatballs

Every culture has their favorite way to prepare meatballs.  Whether simmered in a hearty marinara, cooked in a yogurt/sour cream sauce, or steamed in a rich stock they are part of traditional comfort meal.  At our house, we love all versions of the meatball.  I often prepare meatballs in advance and store in the freezer for a later meal.

I serve this with steamed bok choy or sesame green beans and red quinoa.


Meatball Recipe

1 egg
1/4 cup milk or (use almond or coconut milk for a dairy free option)
2 slices white or whole-wheat bread, torn
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Apple Glaze
1 cup apple juice
1/4 reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 red pepper flakes
6 green onions, chopped diagonally


In a large bowl whisk together egg and milk. Add bread. Let stand 10 minutes, or until bread is softened. Add beef, shallot, ginger, cilantro, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly with hands. Shape beef mixture into 48 one-inch meatballs.

For Apple Glaze, in a small bowl combine apple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet heat oil over medium heat. Cook meatballs, half at a time, about 6 minutes per batch, turning occasionally until brown and crusty on outside and no longer pink inside. Transfer meatballs to a covered dish; cover to keep warm. Drain fat from skillet and then wipe out the skillet.

Now take the same skilled and cook juice mixture, stiring occassionally until thickened and bubbly. Then cook an additional 2 minutes. Return meatballs to skillet to heat through and coat with sauce. Transfer glazed meatballs a serving dish. Top with green onions.

Recipe at a glance:


Chef's Tip: *The meatballs may be prepared ahead of time and frozen.  Shape meatballs, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and pop into the freezer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from sheet and place into a zip top bag.  Thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours prior to using. * These can be shaped into 1/2 inch meatballs and served as appetizers.