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Butternut Squash Rice

Throughout my journey of food allergies and IBS finding ways to adjust my eating lifestyle were not always easy.

Rice and I have a complicated relationship. Many have suggested cauliflower "rice" and as much as I'd love for that to work for me, it won't.

One size doesn't fit all.

We all process foods differently.

What I have found works for me in butternut squash. It's versatile. Perfect texture for different recipes. Full of magnesium. Spiraled butternut squash can be found at the local supermarket but spiraling or shreading your own is much more cost effective.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (You won’t use the entire squash. When I shred mine I get about 11-12 cups)

1/2 red pepper chopped

Olive oil light tasting (garlic infused oil)

Seasonings of your choice. I used Primal Palate Garlic and Herb and an organic all-season salt.

Directions:

Here is a tutorial on how to cut butternut squash. The only difference is I don’t use a peeler, I cut the skin with a knife, and for the squash to fit in the shredder I cut it in fourths the long way.

Spiral or shed the squash. I use the Presto 02970 Professional SaladShooter Electric Slicer/Shredder.

In a pan or cast iron skillet add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. I prefer garlic infused oil. Add about two cups of the squash and the diced red pepper. Add seasonings. On high heat stir everything together. Cover with a lid, not entirely. Allow some of the steam out. Stir every minute or so, about 3-4 minutes in drop the heat to medium-low. Sometimes I add a bit more oil and seasonings.

Taste as you go.

You will notice the squash start to break down and soften. This will only take 5-7 minutes. Don’t let it burn. It will happen quickly if not watched.

For a snack or light dinner, I will add a splash of coconut whole fat milk and curry powder for creamy, spicy rice.

But my husband is a fan of the coconut curry chicken with the butternut squash rice.

When foods are eliminated for medical purposes, it’s a frustrating process to go through. And there are days I get angry because I can’t eat certain fruits or vegetables. I can’t grab a Peppermint Patty or a slice of pizza. Or go out to eat any restaurant I want.

I try to create solutions. Not just for me but for others.

Products used in this recipe:




Paleo Cucumber Dill Ranch Dressing - Tzatziki Inspired

I stand with the refrigerator door open. What to make? Not in the mood for chicken or fish. I want something light. Salad? Yes but I don't want a vinegarette. I made mayo the following day, my eyes move to the fresh dill, lemon, and cucumber. 
Tzatziki inspired. 
In my pantry, I have organic lite coconut milk. A staple for our family. 
I've made this ranch before but not with cucumbers.  

Oh. My. Goodness. 

I could live off this dressing. Dip jicama fries in it. Or turmeric chicken nuggets in the air fryer.

The added cucumber reminded me of my favorite gyro place in North Carolina. Perhaps, my next recipe. Hmmmmmm.

Let's get to the deliciousness.  

Ingredients

For the mayo

1 cup of light tasting olive oil

One free range egg

1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1/2 of a lemon

CampMIX or Simply Organic All-Seasons Salt (I use both) or any seasonings of your choice. 

For the dressing

1/3 cup of the paleo mayo

1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen)

1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons of fresh dill

1 clove of garlic

1/2 medium peeled cucumber

Instructions

Make the mayo: In a blender add 1/4 of the olive oil, egg, mustard, squeeze in lemon (watch out for those seeds), and seasonings. Blend on low. Once blended open the central part of the blender and slowly pour in remaining olive oil. It will start to thicken. Stop the blender. Give it a little stir. Taste and decide if you want to add more lemon or seasonings. Put the mayo in a container, cover and put in the refrigerator.  

Make the dressing: In a food processor, I use the KitchenAid Mini Food Processor, add mayo, coconut milk, lemon, dill, garlic, cucumber, and seasonings. Pulse a few times until the cucumber is chopped into tiny bits. Taste. Add any additional seasonings. If you want a thicker dressing, add a bit more mayo.

I like mine thinner. Reminds me of the homemade ranch I had as a child. 

My husband added a homemade pita triangle and turmeric chicken to his salad. Can't forget the sliced black olives. Another family staple.

This dressing is soy, gluten, and dairy-free. Vegetarian-friendly. Versatile. Simple and delicious.

Products used in this recipe. 

  

But It's Fishhhhhhhhhh

Lately fish has made an appearance at our dinner table almost every day. Once a week I will make tacos or burgers mainly for the boys. I've noticed my food sensitivities and digestive issues amplifying with each passing year. Chicken on occasion but red meat and pork shred my insides. I feel less swollen and uncomfortable when I eat fish. 

Bread, rice, corn, and beans are also my enemies. Options are limited therefore I need to be creative. Though I lean towards the Paleo lifestyle, I'm not strict on a singular food plan. One size doesn't fit all.

While at Publix the other day I discovered spiraled butternut squash. I love butternut squash but for me to attempt to spiral it with my little device -- nope. It was worth the $3.15. 
Halibut and grouper are my favorite white fishes. Both are spendy, but you get what you pay for. Halibut doesn't smell or taste fishy. The buttery texture is euphoric. The filets are thick and after I eat one I'm full for hours. 

I decided to try something new with the butternut squash spirals and halibut.

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Preheat oven to 380. Line a 9x9 pan with non-stick foil. Easy to fold and throw away when done.

Add spiraled butternut squash on the bottom, halibut in the center, pour over lighttasting olive oil until all are covered. Squeeze one lemon on the halibut. Season with lemon pepper. Add butter to the top. 20-25 minutes later...

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I spooned out a bit of the oil/butter/lemon awesomeness in the pan and drizzled over the fish. Oh. My. Word. 

Obsessed. 

The combination of sweet from the butternut squash and savory from the fish is divine. This meal is simple, quick, and clean up is nothing. And butternut squash is great for magnesium which is a nutrient my digestive system needs more of.   

Ingredients

1 wild-caught halibut filet

Spiral butternut squash (I'm confident one could do this at home but I like the Publix method better)

1 lemon

Soy-free butter

1/2 cup of light tasting olive oil

CampMIX Lemon Pepper
     

Hello? Is It Cheese You're Looking For?

March 7, 2017, USA Today published an article titled Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'. I 100% believe it. There is something about cheese when it's listed on a menu. A gleam in one's eye. The giddiness inside.

My relationship with cheese is complicated. When I was young whether my grandma was visiting our home or my family was visiting hers, she'd cook delicious food for us. Every single meal. Most contained cheese. One of the favorites was her fried macaroni and cheese. Nothing fancy but she made it with love. The crispy noodles mixed with creamy cheese was on another level for a nine-year-olds palette. I've mimicked the recipe, but it's not the same. It's not my grandma's.

I decided to create my own.

Soy-free. Lactose-free. Vegetarian-friendly. No noodles.  

What the heck is it?

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake.

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Activate watering of the mouth. 

Spaghetti Squash. Cheese. Basil.

The trifecta of awesomeness. 

As I've stated in a previous recipe I cook the squash the night before, The Foolproof, Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Spaghetti Squash, I add a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil for aromatics.

The end result is cheesy goodness.

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Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash

3 tbsp of Earth Balance Soy-free butter

3 tbsp of ap flour or your flour of choice

2 cups of coconut milk (I use VitaCoco Original)

1 tablespoon of Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Cream

A handful of fresh basil leaves

3/4 tbsp CampMIX or create your mixture of garlic salt, salt, garlic powder, celery salt, black pepper. I recommend tasting as you go. 

1 block of Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar (Shred the entire block) 

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 390.

Mince basil leaves. 

In a medium saucepan or cast iron pot on low-medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in flour until small lumps form. Add coconut milk and continue to whisk until smooth. Add seasonings salt, basil, whisk and simmer for about 2 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened. Add the cheese and whisk until smooth. 

Add spaghetti squash. Stir and blend carefully.

In an 8x8 Pyrex dish pour in the cheesy awesomeness. A 10" cast iron pan is also an option.

I have an electric oven--miss our gas oven--I cook the squash for 5-7 minutes. Then I switch to broil on high. Check every couple of minutes until golden brown.

This entire dish is 5-6 servings depending on the portion size your spouse or children dish out. My husband dishes heavy.

The leftovers are perfect to fry up the next day. Too bad I never have any leftovers which I guess is a compliment.

Now go make this dish and make it your own.         

 

 

 

Fresh Basil Pesto Grilled Cheese - The Ultimate Comfort Food

Pesto. 

It's a favorite in our household. I recently posted my Pesto Spaghetti Squash recipe and though I did post my pesto recipe I have a different I use for pesto grilled cheese. Who doesn't love gooey grilled cheese? I have fond memories of my dad making me a grilled cheese with Velvetta when I was young. I'd dip mine in Ketchup just as he did. My son did the same. 

There is something about the buttery toasted bread and melty cheese which brings warmth and happiness to my soul. My husband loves grilled cheese with soup. Especially when he is feeling under the weather--mancold--he requests my grilled cheese for every meal. 

My pesto is different because I don't use pine nuts, parmesan cheese, or any other oils besides light tasting olive oil. Most pestos at local supermarkets contain ingredients myself or my husband cannot have. The mint and Meyer lemon add a twist to the original. Sweet and citrus.     

My pan of choice is the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, but I did recently purchase the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler and will have to test out the panini action on it. An air fryer is also a great way to make grilled cheese. I set my air fryer at 360. Cook until golden brown.   

My husbands favorite part of the grilled cheese is that I sprinkle CampMIX on the outside of the sourdough bread. Adds a little something. Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar is OUR cheese. It blends perfectly with whatever you are cooking, lasagna, tacos, or pesto grilled cheese. It's creamy but has a bit of a bite like parmesan but without the stink--my dad's observation.

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First bite?

Euphoric. 

The mix of fresh basil, butter, seasonings and the blend of delicate but robust cheese, oh my goodness. I could eat this every day.

The perfect comfort food.  

Next up on my recipe list is Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake. Yeah, it's kind of amazing. Especially for those who crave mac and cheese but the ingredients from back in the day don't work anymore. I have you covered. Also, an excellent comfort food dish.

I don't feel I have to go into great detail on how to make a grilled cheese. I tend to keep my electric stove about six because the cast iron heats up quickly. 

Ingredients for Pesto

Basil

About 1/4 cup minced garlic

1 cup extra light olive oil 

A few mint leaves

Squirt of Meyer Lemon

Dash of crushed red pepper

Dash CampMix 

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top with basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Blend. After I dry mix, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I found this method blends better especially if some of the basil and mint leaves don't thoroughly chop up. 

Add the olive oil and lemon (watch out for the seeds). Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add but you can't take away.

* I stick with sourdough bread because Publix makes it without soybean oil. But you can use whatever bread you want. *

Happy rustic cooking!