{Homemade} Southwestern Chili

 

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Clean Eating Taco Soup

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Crock Pot Sloppy Joe's {Gluten Free & Vegan}


 
Sloppy Joe's are such a simple go-to dinner. Most kids and adults make and enjoy these deliciously messy sandwiches with hamburger meat seasoned from a packet mix or a can of sauce. Too bad those packets and cans have gluten fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Homemade sauce and organic beef would be a huge step up! But I've found that, especially as Americans, the amount of meat (more especially red meat) consumed on a daily basis is way higher than necessary. There's a great article in the Washington Post by Roberto A. Ferdman about this very topic.

It's not as hard as you might think to cut out meat and processed food, even it it's just a few nights a week. It's even possible if you follow a gluten free and/or Paleo diet. This is how we feed our family so I know it's possible, along with going meatless 3 or 4 times a week. It not only saves us money on groceries, helps reduce our carbon foot print, and maybe saves a few animals, but is also really healthy. Our bodies naturally need less meat in the hot summer months anyway and never need the toxic overload of processed foods.


So when I wanted a classic Sloppy Joe dinner, I did a little tweaking to make it vegan (hello, quinoa!)...while still being super filling and yummy. I also added some beans for more filling protein. I piled the filling on my GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE, & PALEO HAMBURGER BUNS - recipe coming soon! It was a hit! And what made it even easier was that I threw everything in my slow cooker - I love my Crock Pot, BTW.

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Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

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Italian Lentil Soup With Meatballs


With a single day of cool breezes summer was blown away and autumn took it's place. Alex has laughed at me since we were dating about my love and over-anticipation that comes with each change of season. But in all honesty, fall is my favorite....or spring...no, it's fall for sure. Oh, but the first snow of winter is magical...or sunny days of summer...okay I love them all!


I made some yummy Italian Lentil Soup one night when the cool evening breeze was blowy through the open windows. It was one of our meat free/vegan meals and it was so yummy and filling. Luckily, I made plenty and we had extras. So a couple night later as a cold rain fell I made meatballs and added to the left over soup for a hearty meal. I love stretching meals and giving leftovers double duty. It's so economical and time saving, but even better than that, the flavors have all marinated and it seems to taste better on round two! Bonus!

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Cinnamon Apple Crockpot Quinoa

 

I've been on a breakfast kick lately, but breakfast can get mundane with the same old things. So I like to switch it up. This healthy and delicious breakfast is super easy - as in throw it in the slow cooker the night before and forget about it, kind of easy.  This would be a great alternative to oatmeal. 

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Citrus Herb Brined Turkey


 
The holiday season calls for amazing food and plenty of it. I'm so thankful for good food and family to share it with. If you're in charge of dinner, the turkey needs to be the flavorful star of the evening. The best way I've found to get that amazing juicy flavor throughout is with a brine bath. According to Google...Brine (verb): to soak in or saturate with salty water

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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Orange Spiced Pecans

 

Hello beautiful!

Yes, you...and this dish!

If there's anything that makes me feel fed, both body and soul, it's healthy beautiful food. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year and it's bounty of produce? Fall is the ripe pinnacle of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that are all ready to be eaten. Harvesting the summer's spoils and getting our first taste of the winter crop too.


Instead of the traditional brown sugar and butter baked into my acorn squash, I used a less refined sugar option of real maple syrup to make a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction baked into the squash. Then I topped it with some sauteed kale, onion, uncured bacon Orange Spiced Pecans, and raw sunflower seeds. Drizzle a little more of the sweet reduction over everything and...so satisfying. Just omit the bacon to keep it vegan and plant-based.

My kids poured extra balsamic reduction on theirs. It's always fun to let them try something new and watch them discover that they actually like it. Of course, my philosophy is anything drizzled with balsamic reduction is going to be fabulous. Period. It's nice that my kids agree. Well...other than my 2 year old. He was not as open to the idea of something new and strange on his plate. However, if it came off my plate it tasted good. Haha! Oh well, whatever works, right? (P.S. you may want to double the balsamic reduction recipe in case you want extra too.)

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Zucchini Lasagna


What do you do when you have lots of fresh from the garden zucchini? Make zucchini lasagna!  I made this classic Italian dinner using sliced zucchini instead of noodles.  I had lots of fun experimenting to come up with this delicious little number.  It's perfect for late summer and early fall when zucchini are plentiful and even more fun if you're like me and have some deer hunter's in the family.  For this savory and filling meal of gluten free and, if you opt for no cheese, dairy free dinner I used deer burger seasoned to taste like a lean Italian sausage.   Or if you're fresh out of wild game you can just go ahead and use hamburger. The fun part about cooking from scratch is you can make it as involved or as simple as you like.  I love that this dish is so packed with flavor yet is so healthy too!  In my opinion, that's the only way to eat :) 

Hamburger Sausage:

1 lb. organic hamburger
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning mix
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. bay leaf flakes
1/2 - 1 tsp. roasted red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Cook in large skillet until browned and cooked through.  Remove to a separate bowl. Preheat oven to 425. Now back into your hot skillet add:

Lasagna
2 medium zucchini, sliced length wise 
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 heart of celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/2 carton fresh mushrooms, sliced (about 6)
salt and pepper

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until caramelized then add remaining veggies (except zucchini), salt and pepper and saute some more.  Turn heat off, return meat to the skillet, put a lid on and keep it warm. Since we're using zucchini in place of noodles we'll need something to hold our creation together.  So I decided to make a crust for the bottom of the pan as a foundation for this saucy lasagna.  

Crust:
2 cups cauliflower "rice"
2 egg
1 tsp. sea salt

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Apple Turkey Burger Sliders on Gluten Free Rolls


Anything that can pack a full-sized punch of flavor into a miniature fit-in-one-hand package is bound to be a hit. These seasoned turkey burger sliders with caramelized onions and apples over melted provolone cheese on homemade gluten free rolls are perfect for a Labor Day barbeque or to kick off a new season of football. Making the rolls before hand makes this bitesized meal come together even quicker, too.

Serve them along with some Fresh Veggie Southwestern Salsa and corn tortilla chips, Cantaloupe Caprese or Watermelon Bruschetta With Marinated Basil Cucumbers & Feta, and some GF Double Chocolate Brownies for dessert.

"Wait. Wait. Is this healthy party food you're suggesting?"

YES! We humans are social eaters, but wouldn't it be awesome if no one had to make compromises when they got together with friends? Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy one anothers company while eating yummy food, and not feel sluggish, bloated or otherwise exhausted from the simple act of digestion?

I didn't think I had any problem with how I ate until I did a little purification. Our house is gluten-free now, and although I can and do eat wheat when I'm out with friends, I've found that eating refined, bleached wheat and sugars makes me feel kind of sick. I never knew how much that stuff was effecting me until I stopped eating it.

The point is, eating clean (unprocessed/unrefined) while accommodating food allergies doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste or make 10 different meals. You can have the best of both worlds, trust me!


For starters, having some gluten free rolls in the freezer ready for whenever is just a good idea. Gluten Free Quick Roll recipe coming soon! 
Now for the sliders...


Using a nonstick skillet works best for turkey burger. I made the mistake of using my stainless steel pan and ended up scraping the bottom a lot. A nonstick will help eliminate that issue. Also I didn't bother coring the apples. I just rinsed, sliced, and popped out the seeds. Steaming them over the onions helps to soften any tough middle parts.



Enjoy!


 

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Spinach Mushroom Frittata

 

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Fired Up Pork Ribs!

It's the last hurrah of summer so why not go out with some hot, fall of the bone pork ribs.  And I mean HOT! These baby-backs were part of our Labor Day BBQ and they were a big hit.  This spicy rub will cover two large racks of pork ribs.

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Orange Chicken Curry

 

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Butternut Pumpkin Soup

I would eat soup all year long, but soup + fall = heaven!  Especially this Butternut Pumpkin Soup.  For the full effect put on a sweat shirt and take a bowl full out to the porch on a crisp October day when the leafs are exploding with color. 

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"Spaghetti" with Lemon Pepper Marinara and Herb & Veggie Meatballs

I never liked the term diet or the phrase, "I should really start doing that" (even though I am as guilty as any of saying it). However, I love new years resolutions.  I love the idea of having a fresh start, a whole new year and a new found resolve to make more of the coming year than I did of the last or to simply stay consistent with the things that make me happy.  So here's to new years resolutions and here's a delicious recipe that with start your year off healthy and satisfied.

This spaghetti and meatballs redo is full of flavor.  The fresh lemony sauce with a kick of pepper is a perfect blanket for the slightly sweet flavor of the squash and topped with the herb and veggie stuffed meatballs adds even more layers of flavor and yum!

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Sunchoke Shrimp Scampi


This tasty and healthy shrimp scampi switch up has all the classic must haves of a shrimp scampi recipe, but with a fun twist.

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Lemon-Dill Flounder Fillets


I've never met a fish I haven't liked and this flounder was no different!  This dish is your classic lemon, butter and fish combo. I added some fresh dill weed and garnished with almond slices.

1 garlic clove, smashed
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch red pepper flakes
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tsp.)
2 sprigs fresh dill weed or 1/4 tsp. dry dill
1 tsp. butter
4 flounder fillets
1/2 cup almonds, slivered or chopped.

Pat fillets with paper towel to remove any excess water. Combine all ingredients except flounder and almonds. Place fish in a foil lined dish with enough excess foil to wrap over top.  Spread butter mixture over each fillet and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes (10 minutes per inch of thickness). Cover fish with tin foil, this will act as a steamer which will help keep the fish from drying out.

Toast almonds in a pan and sprinkle on top of fish when done.

Enjoy!

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Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps


Here's to the winding down of a busy school year, spring cleaning and other to-do's that interfere with dinner time. This is a simple, yet healthy and tasty crockpot recipe that you don't even have to dirty a utensil to eat!  This is paleo or keto diet goodness at it's best and easiest.

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Bacon Broccoli Quiche


"Real men eat quiche".  So here's to all you, the manly men or otherwise just hungry men.  This Bacon Broccoli Quiche is what "real men" and everyone else eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Crust:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
2 tbsp. coconut oil

Filling:
4-5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup fresh broccoli florets, or thawed and patted dry if frozen
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 red onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook bacon, pat off excess grease with a paper towel and crumble.  In left over bacon grease cook onions until translucent, salt and pepper as they cook.  Combine all ingredients for the crust, mixing with a fork.  Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan. Now in a separate bowl, beat eggs and almond milk together.  Add cooked bacon and onions, broccoli, salt and pepper.  If you opt to have cheese then mix that in too.
Pour egg filling into the crust. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the egg is solid, the edges are a light brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cut up like a pie!


Enjoy!

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Mint Lime Pork Chops with Creole Sweet Potato Chips

 


As mom's everywhere give a collective sigh of relief (mixed with anxiety) as we send the kiddos back to school it's a perfect time to get all that summer cooking out of your system before the cold weather sets in. This dish is perfect for the final days of summer.  These tangy, fresh yet savory chops will help you hold onto summer even as the leaves start to change and paired up with {Homemade} spicy, Cajun style sweet potatoes you'll feel warm and toasty even on a cool day.

For the Chops:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet heat olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, jalapeno, salt and pepper.  Saute until onions are translucent and caramelized.  While they are working in the skillet, in a separate bowl combine:

5 mint leafs, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lime + zest

When the onion and friends are done scoop them into the bowl along with the mint and lime.  Stir to combine.  Set aside while you prep the chops.

4 boneless pork chops, rinsed and patted dry
salt and pepper
coconut flour, enough to dredge the chops through
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth

Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.  Coat the chops with the coconut flour that's been dumped onto a plate or pie pan.  Heat olive oil in the same skillet you cooked the onions in.  Place the chops in the skillet.  Brown on both sides.  Now pour in the broth and scrape up all the yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. (P.S. the coconut flour from the chops will help to thicken the broth as it simmers).  Add the mint, lime and onion combo making sure to stir it around.  Allow to simmer until chops are moist, tender and no longer pink.

For the Sweet Potatoes:

sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and thinly sliced
creole seasoning to taste
olive oil

Preheat the boiler while you peel and slice sweet potatoes.  Drizzle enough olive oil to coat taters.  Sprinkle as liberally as you like with creole seasoning.  Lay taters out on a baking sheet.  Try not to overlap too much,  you want all your taters to get a tan.  Broil for 3-5 minutes or until they turn a golden brown.  Turn over and broil for another 3-5 minutes.

Serve with a simple side salad.

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Melissa Moore has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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