Monday, January 30, 2012

Primal Zucchini "Noodle" Lasagna

Recipe number 4 of the day!  The chocolate chip cookies and lasagna were both made last night when we had friends over who requested the recipes.  So I figured if I was going to write them out and send them, might as well post on here where everyone else can see them too :-) .  Thanks to Wellness Mama for the original recipe that served as the inspiration for mine.  I am a subscriber to her weekly meal plans and have fun trying out several new dishes (at least) each week!

Primal Zucchini "Noodle" Lasagna

4-5 medium zucchini
1 pound ground meat or sausage (chicken Italian sausage or ground beef are both good!)
1 jar organic pasta sauce
1 jar diced italian tomatoes
2 cups almond pulp "ricotta" (recipe below)*
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (opt)
4 eggs, beaten
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice zucchini lengthwise using a mandolin to 3/8" thick.  Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.  Place zucchini slices on baking sheet leaving a space between each slice.  You will have to do 2-3 batches.  Spray or brush olive oil on zucchini slices and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian seasoning.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until brown on bottom and starting to cook through.  Repeat until all zucchini is cooked.  Reduce oven temp to 350.  Meanwhile, brown meat of choice in large skillet.  If not pre-seasoned sausage, add seasonings of choice (try 1/2 tsp each of garlic, onion, basil, oregano, salt, pepper).  Then add diced tomatoes to pan.  Cook for several minutes until liquid begins to evaporate.  Add jar of pasta sauce.  Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes.  Mix almond pulp "ricotta" with eggs, 1/2 cup parmesan (is using dairy) and 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp basil and pinch of nutmeg.

Assemble lasagna in layers in large (9x13) baking dish.  Start with a thin layer of meat sauce on bottom.  Top with layer of zucchini slices then layer of "cheese".  Repeat until all ingredients are used.  Top with additional 1/2 cup parmesan cheese if desired.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.  Enjoy!

* Almond pulp is leftover from making almond milk.  For the amount in this recipe, I soak 2 1/2 cups raw almonds in water for about 3-4 hours, draining and rinsing several times until water runs clear.  "Pop" almonds from skin (should remove easily after soaking, but if not can pour boiling water over for 1-2 minutes to help loosen them), then place in high powered blender (Vitamix, etc) with 6 cups water.  Process for 1-2 minutes until you can't hear almond chunks anymore.  Pour into a nut milk bag, several layers of cheesecloth, or fine fabric kitchen towel and squeeze out all liquid.  To almond milk you can add vanilla and sweetener if desired and will keep in fridge up to a week.  The leftover pulp is what you use for the ricotta.  Add the juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 - 1 tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Stir and add a bit of water if needed to desired consistency.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Best Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies

So apparently, it is my day for posting recipes.  One of these days I might get around to actually writing about life, but for now, recipes will have to do!  Have been enjoying cooking and playing around with making some of our traditional favorites but without grains, beans/legumes, refined sugars and pretty much any and all processed food.  Chocolate chip cookies have always been one of my very favorite baked treats, and after trying and modifying quite a few recipes have finally stopped searching.  For now at least...

This recipe was adapted from Elana's Pantry Gluten Free / Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan, Dairy Free & Gluten/Grain Free)

2 1/2 cups almond flour (from blanched almonds)*
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut nectar/sap
1 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life, Sunspire 65%, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine almond flour, sea salt and baking soda in a large bowl.  Melt coconut oil and combine with vanilla, maple syrup and coconut nectar.  Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture.  Once well mixed, stir in chocolate chips.

Press Tablespoon sized balls onto parchment lined baking sheet (or lightly grease with coconut oil if parchment paper not available).  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, then cool and serve!

* I use Bob's Red Mill almond flour even though Elana says it does not work properly and prefers a couple other brands.  It is the only one available here locally and sells at our Tacoma Food Co-op for $4.99 / lb.  I have found that it works better if not bought in bulk as it has settled into the package and measures more correctly in most recipes.  But if I lightly pack it into measuring cups then most of the time it works out just fine!  Too little "flour" (or too much coconut oil) and the cookies will spread out and be crispy.  I actually make them on purpose this way sometime, but they're not quite as pretty.  Too much "flour" and they won't spread out at all and the insides will stay gooey unless you overcook them.

Fritatta with Bacon and Collard Greens

Breakfast round 2 at our house this morning was a fritatta with bacon and collard greens that turned out even better than I expected it would!  I will definitely be making it again so wanted to get the recipe written down here before I forget how I made it :-) .

Makes 3-4 servings

10 eggs (organic, free range, and pastured preferred)
2 Tbsp water
8 oz package natural bacon (no antibiotics and nitrite free), diced
1 bunch collard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
Garlic Powder
Red chili flakes
Cheese, grated (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring pot of water to a boil and cook chopped collard greens for 10 minutes.  Pour into colander to drain. Chop bacon into bite sized pieces and saute over medium heat until browned in an oven safe skillet.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  Remove additional bacon grease if needed to leave 1-2 Tbsp in pan.  Add sliced onion and minced garlic with a pinch of red chili flakes (more or less for spiciness as desired) and cook until onion is soft and lightly browned.  Return bacon to the pan and add drained collard greens.  Saute for 5-10 minutes until everything is well cooked together.  While collards are sauteing, mix eggs with water and spices as desired.  I think I used about a 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.  Add egg mixture to greens in skillet and mix well to combine.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until mostly set (egg will still be wet on top).  Move to middle rack of oven and cook for 5 more minutes until all egg is cooked.  Top with grated cheese if desired and tolerated and broil for 2-4 minutes until top and/or cheese begins to brown. Let cool, cut into slices, and serve!

Coconut Flour Apple Waffles

2 1/2 year old Ari was asking for waffles this morning for breakfast, so I searched for a recipe using coconut flour.  Some we didn't have all the ingredients for while others I remember trying and them being super dry unless topped with tons of melted butter and maple syrup.  So we created our own recipe that turned out really well and I wanted to share!  They were very moist and the perfect sweetness - Ari ate more than 2 of them without any other toppings :-)  .

Makes 3 small waffles

2 eggs
1 Tbsp almond milk*
1 tsp coconut oil (melted and cooled)
1/4 c apple puree**
1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

Whisk eggs together then add remaining wet ingredients.  Stir together dry ingredients and sift into wet mixture. Whisk well until batter is smooth.  Pour onto pre-heated and greased waffle iron and spread slightly if needed.  Cook until done, likely about 5 minutes.

* Made with a thick, home-made almond milk.  Could try subbing coconut milk or dairy milk too.

** I pureed an apple (with peel) in my food processor.  You could also probably use home made or store bought organic applesauce with good results.