Breakfast Rollups

breakfastrollup2.jpgWhen it comes to grub in the morning, Monday thru Friday, I need something easy, fast, mobile, and high in protein. My pre-workout drink gets me thru my early morning work out session, but about 30 minutes after I’ve wrapped up and on my way to work, I’m absolutely starving.

Going thru the drive-thru, or microwaving  something from the frozen isle just aren’t options for me. I’m always looking for different variations to be able to mix into my routine and I think these have definitely made the cut! These are so quick to throw together, you can make them the morning of, or multiple at a time for several days.
Sunday nights in our house, are “low and slow”🙂 It’s our time to relax, get something slow-cooking on the stove or in the oven. While our dinner is roasting, it’s my time to fill up our counters with a mixture of fruits and veggies that I’m slicing up to go in lunches and breakfasts for the week. It’s very methodical for me, and it actually gets my mind right for the work week ahead going thru all of my Sunday steps!

In prepping these, I was very surprised at what little time it took do them, start to finish. Each rollup, takes about 4 minutes to make, and yes, that includes cooking time! Little bonus here is that you can make each one different, allowing you to have a new combination every day, simply by subbing out one ingredient! Peppers, spinach, cheese variation, ham, bacon, options are endless!
We have a local spot in town that makes fresh tortillas that are my go to, but I’ve also found some really great Gluten-Free ones at Aldi that I’ve become partial to as well, that I used in this round!breakfastrollup3.jpg

Breakfast Rollups
Serving Size: 1

1 egg
1 tbsp milk
s/p to taste
1 piece of deli ham or bacon
1 tortilla
2 tbsp of shredded cheese (or as desired)
several spinach leaves

1. Heat your non-stick pan to medium-low. I used a larger pan, about 9-inch, because the size of the tortillas I’m using are 8-inch. (the edges will slightly curl when you cook your egg, so a pan slightly larger is ok!)
2. Whisk your egg and milk together, season with salt and pepper as desired
3. Pour egg mixture into your pan, rotate the pan to get the mixture to fan out. You’ll know that it’s done, after the egg is set on top (you can use a lid to speed up this process as well). Takes 2-3 minutes
4. When the eggs are set, flip the pan over your tortilla. Center as needed and add you ham/bacon, cheese and any veggies desired
5. Rollup!breakfastrollup1.jpg

Chicken Parmesan

chickparm4Don’t shun me. Please. Although I’ve really shunned myself, but I’m back.

This right here has become my New Year’s Resolution. I used to post 2-3 times a week, and now…well I don’t even know. The better part of last year was a little rough. I stopped eating all Gluten and Dairy products in hopes of fixing my lil’ Claire tummy issues. After several months of remaining about 90% true to the former, I’ve been slowly able to bring a few of those items back into my diet. Although limited, it’s nice to ONLY be able to just eat…meat and vegetables. Ha!

I’ve spent the better part of this last year building my career, kicking butts, and taking names. I absolutely must rejuvenate my culinary creativity, because those protein bars aren’t really cutting it in the expressive department.

I could easily write pages and pages about my personal life, but this is a food blog, not a me blabbing blog so, as you were-

I thought I would do a “Welcome Back” with an oldie but a goodie Italian Chicken Parmesan.chickparm2

If you have all the right ingredients, this can be from prep to table easily in 40 minutes. Lay it all out so you’re ready to go from one thing to the next and boom! I would recommend a stove top to oven safe skillet if you have one, or even better, a cast iron. (Cast-iron is also your secret weapon for perfect pancakes…totally unrelated. Who’s surprised?)

Chicken Parmesan
(For 2)

*If you read almost any Chicken Parm recipe ever, it will tell you pound out to flatten out two chicken breasts. A quick cheat to this, is just to take a larger chicken breast and slice it lengthwise (carefully of course).

Chicken
1 Large Chicken Breast, sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
salt/pepper
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp garlic

Sauce
1 can of peel tomatoes + 1 tsp olive oil: blend in a food processor + 1/4 tsp salt+ 1/4 tsp pepper
OR
1 can/jar of tomato sauce + 1 tsp olive oil+ 1/4 tsp salt+ 1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup of mozzarella
2 tbsp. parsley

1. In a skillet or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium. If it starts to smoke it’s too hot. You want it to sizzle if water touches it.
2. While the oil heats, you want to soak the chicken in milk with about 1/8 tsp of each salt and pepper.
3. In another dish coming the flour+ 1/8 tsp salt+1/8 tsp pepper+1/2 tsp parsley+1/4 tsp chili powder+1/4 tsp ginger+1/4 tsp garlic.
4. Starting with piece one, dredge the soaked piece in flour, then back into the milk for a second dip, back into the flour another one last time. Repeat with 2nd piece. Set off to the site until the oil is hot enough.
5. Shallow pan fry about 1-2 minutes each side. Then set aside.
SAUCE
6. Preheat oven to 375. Turn down stove top to low. If it’s too hot your sauce will bubble (spit)
7. While the oven heats, whip out your pan you used to fry the chicken with just a paper towel. Place back on the heat and add your sauce ingredients minus the mozzarella and parsley.
8. Warm sauce on stove top until oven is ready at 375. Place your chicken breasts lightly on top in the sauce, top with mozzarella, and bake for about 15 minutes.

Serve with pasta of your choice.

xoxo : Claire❤

 

GF/DF Italian Sausage & Brown Rice Soup

sausagekalesoup1Soups on! I want to jolt back to 2010, when I probably could have written a book just about anything delectable that goes into a bowl, slurped up with a spoon! THAT was a seriously cold and snowy winter. So much cold, means so much soup that needs to be in my belly🙂. Tom Yum, Cream of Mushroom, Creamy Potato, Chicken Noodle, Chili, Chicken Tortilla, Cheeseburger Soup. What a great year was that!!

Well, since the world started spinning reverse on its axis, and I can’t eat anything awesome without my stomach paying the price and feeling like crap for the next day and a half. No more creamy delicious soups for me (unless I’m inhaling Lactase pills to compensate)!  Woe-is-me!
On the bright side, this has just jet-streamed an alternate path of creative juices, to pair new ingredients together, as well as attempting new recipes not yet conquered or developed!

Mass prepping and left over ingredients are becoming an absolute must for me. I work late, I work out late, and get home later. By the time I step thru the door it’s typically pushing 8pm. That then leaves 3 hours to make dinner, clean the kitchen, wind (or WINE) down, and sit for about an hour before going to bed. I’m exhausted just writing that.

Leftover Italian Sausage, yellow and orange peppers, charred poblano peppers from stuff mushrooms really turned out to be a great idea for a sore throat, coughing, hacking, sick….me.

Fat burner, belly warming delight in a bowl. Boom. This is one of those dishes that isn’t the best thing you’ve ever tasted in your life. Nor should it be. Everyone’s taste is a little dulled when they’re under the weather. Broth, veggies, and a little kick of Italian Sausage seems like a good way to kick the end of this cold. It was. Soup ya!

Italian Sausage & Kale Soup
(serving size, 2)

3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup ground Italian Sausage, cooked
1/2 cup brown rice, prepared.
1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
6 Bella mushroom, chopped
1/4 cup kale, chopped

Directions
1. Cook your brown rice, this will take 30-45 min
2. Brown Italian Sausage in sauce pan
3. In the same saucepan, on medium heat, dump the rest all in!
2. Simmer for 30 minutes, or as long as it takes your brown rice to cook
3. Poach an egg
4. Dump soup in bowl, add two tablespoons of brown rice to each bowl, and place poached egg in the middle.
sausagekalesoup2

GF Seared Sausage & Kale Salad

searedsausagekalesaladSince being on quite a restrictive diet, anything green seems to now find its way into almost every one of my meals. Not the worst thing in the world, as you can imagine. However, one can only eat…so many salads before you really need to change it up, purely to prevent insanity. They’re great in a bind, especially if you’re tired or short on time since compiling a salad typically isn’t overly time-consuming. Obviously since a normal salad was easy, I decided to throw a fork into the equation and step it up a notch with a few extra ingredients.

Albeit still not difficult, this one does need just a little bit more prep time, and a sharp knife🙂

I think at this point, everyone has at least heard of quinoa, if not tried it. I have found a very noticeable difference in toasting the quinoa in the oven for about 5 minutes previous to boiling it. It gives it almost a bid of a toasted almond, nutty taste, otherwise personally, I find it a little flavorless on it’s own.

Cilantro, tomatoes, sausage, kale, jalapeno, quinoa, egg over easy? Did someone just list all of my favorite things..and then throw them in a bowl? Oh wait, I did. I don’t know if I can really say this is a unique recipe. I was going thru the pantry and fridge and noticed many of my favorite things all staring back at me. It seemed like a good idea to really just throw them all together, see what happens. My Dad basically stirs his plate of favorite things together on Thanksgiving and Christmas, isn’t this kind of the same thing?
Look at this delicious recipe I created with, each ingredient, independently able to stand on its own, combined with other such like ingredients to create a perfectly paired and balanced dish. See what I did there? I pretended to create something, instead of dropping all those stellar ingredients into the same bowl🙂 It’s like magic (it’s not).
Just a note, I didn’t just use any sausage I think this is really a big part of what gives this extra character and finesse. I use sausages locally, such a variety of flavor combinations, that I usually rotate based on what intrigues me that particular trip to the store.  The ones for this episode were Jalapeno Sausage, with onion, peppers, and assorted spices. There is also a chicken/potato one that will just stop you in your tracks I really enjoy. For prep, they’re pre-cooked so you really just need to heat them. I slice them at an angle and then sear them in a non-stick pan.

I cook the egg over easy in the same pan, because the combined sausage and egg drippings…are super phenomenal. The little fat from the sausage is pretty fwa-pow. The drippings come out to be just under a tablespoon, the perfect dressing to mesh with the egg yolk! #love

Seared Sausage & Kale Salad

1 1/2 cup kale, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup tomato, chopped
2 tbsp jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup of prepared Quinoa, toasted then cooked
1 Sausage link, sliced then seared
1 egg, cooked over easy
Sriracha, and pan drippings for dressing

(other items I didn’t add, but would in case you have them on hand, sliced mushroom, red onion, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes)

Directions:

1. Really? It’s a salad. Just kidding, (kind of )
2. Toast quinoa, then boil for 20 minutes (cook according to package)
3. While the quinoa is cooking chop your kale, cilantro, tomato, and jalapeno.
4. You don’t want the quinoa hot, so when it’s finished, remove from heat and fluff with a fork several times. While cooling, slice the sausage at an angle about 1/2″ thick. Sear on each side for 2 minutes on medium heat.
5. Set sausage aside to cool. Plate all ingredients.
6. Spray pan with non-stick spray and cook egg, over easy.
7. Add the sausage, egg, the pan drippings, and drizzle with sriracha.searedsausagekalesalad2

GF/DF Black Bean Soup

blackbean2This month, as you know, is Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free for me! I’ve caved a few times, not gonna lie. Some of them may, or may not have been after a bottle of wine…or because I’m pretty the bag of chips  started speaking to me (I ate 3…lol). Although it’s been a challenge to completely change my diet, I feel SO much better than before I started it. I was just sick to my stomach, EVERY time I ate, and I definitely feel more alert and not tired during the day.

This lifestyle change is absolutely inconvenient, haha! It’s almost impossible to snack, and breakfast has been a real challenge which is heartbreaking, since it’s my favorite meal. I really miss my eggs+french toast…like, a lot.
Or…my homemade Pepperoni Egg-McMuffins. Sad.
The flip side of feeling better is just about worth it though🙂 I don’t miss feeling like a filled up balloon all the time, and dropping 10 lbs since last week didn’t exactly break my heart either! Heading to Mexico in a couple of weeks, so getting the summer bod back is an absolute necessity!

Going out to eat-is a pain in the butt, and tempting, so I’ve been staying home…A LOT. I miss being able to pick out anything on the menu, and the only things I want are things I’m not supposed to have. I try to force my eyeballs immediately move to the salad section, and I try not to glance around any further for fear of ordering and eating a whole plate of french fries.

I’ve found myself coming home and getting irritated that I haven’t planned ahead enough for dinner. Having something thawed out, or recently purchased and ready to go is not something I’m real skilled at🙂 I’m a professional “wing it” kind of dinner person.  I’m going to have to start pre-planning my weeks a little better, remembering to plan meals so I have things already thawed out, or make my trips to the grocery store verify specific to that week, so everything is fresh.

A night this week, I stumbled in the door after a long day at work, I was exhausted from the gym, and starving. I wanted someone to make ME dinner… but that ain’t gonna happen, so I started fumbling thru the cabinets. Everything convenient (aka awesome) was pasta, cheese, or pizza related. I just stood there aimlessly staring at the same items in the pantry and fridge…for a good 15 minutes, by minute 14 I was convinced that God actually hated me for taking all my favorite things away. After checking the fridge now…for the 13th time, my eyes finally set on a Tupperware of beans I’d soaked the night before in attempts to try dried black beans for the first time. hmmmm….

I’d eaten enough salads to bore a cow this week, and it was an entire 3 degrees outside… and then….* light bulb *. SOUP. Boom, on it.
Black bean soup, is just so…different. It is its own category of soup. I’m not even real particular about the consistency, since there are so many varieties of thin to creamy.
I glanced around online at a few recipes and then just started playing around in the kitchen- which turned into a fantastic new recipe!!
Awesome new recipe accident? Check. This was phenomenal.
The in-depth flavor profile completely took me by surprise. For me, what really made this one a home run, was coffee. Weird right? I’d used a little instant coffee packet the day before for a protein shake additive, and had a half packet leftover-which just gave me a little wink in the cabinet. The warm simple flavors were good, but the coffee really brought it around and turned it into decadent dish. It doesn’t overpower anything, but you can taste the resonance at the end of your spoon, it’ll make you happy. Promise

Black Bean Soup
Serves 2
2 cups Black Beans, cooked. This is a half pound of dried.
(I soaked mine overnight in water, and then boiled them for 10 minutes) I would not recommend using canned here, they won’t stand up as well.
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups of beef broth
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
2 jalapenos, slice in half, remove the seeds
1 tsp oil (I used sesame oil)
1/2 packet of single serving instant coffee
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
s/p to taste

Directions:
1. Take the black beans you soaked overnight, and boil them for about 10 minutes if they’re not tender enough and drain
2. In your pot, add oil, garlic, and onion on medium heat, let cook for about 10 minutes, then add the beans back in
3. Dump in the rest of the ingredients (that was easy…wasn’t it)
4. Simmer for about 20 minutes
5. In your food processor or blender, blend! Add back into your pan and simmer again for 5 minutes to bring the temperature back up.
** You can pick your consistency here, if you want to thin it out, just add more water/or broth!

Gluten-Free (GF) January

gf

So I love food, this isn’t exactly news. Well Baby Jesus 2015 must dislike me, because every time I consume something exciting, aka bread/pasta or milk/cheese based I want to keel over. After much research,  I’ve been instructed to clear my system of both and then introduce back in one at a time to see if it could be a slight gluten or dairy intolerance. Let’s hope it’s neither, but in light of the situation, I figured it would be a great time to play in the GF playground for the month of January.

I know it’s a double hit, but you’ll see little to none dairy aspects this month as well as I try to clear my system. If anything it’ll at least be a great recipe learning experience! Starting the new year with some clean-eating isn’t the worst idea either! Greens and protein here I come!

Happy New Year!

🙂 Claire

Lasagna Rolls

lazrolls2This is one of my absolute go-to recipes, I can’t believe I’ve never posted about it. It’s in our regular rotation, and a perfect winter comfort meal. I love that it’s made in easy single-dish servings, making it easy to pack and go. Plus, have you ever tried to reheat lasagna and did it too quickly or on too high of heat? The outside it’s crazy hot, and the inside…ice cold. How to you reheat something that burnt your mouth, then cooled it in the same go? Ya, I have no idea either- that’s why I like these, they make me look less…stupid.

No one makes better lasagna than my Mom. I don’t know what she does that’s different, I’ve never even tried to learn, but it’s- just – different. I can only think of one reasonable excuse for my lack of attempt… and that’s because I’m not trying to feed an army of people, and I don’t want to have leftovers for an entire week, of the same meal. To avoid overkill on one of my memories of her recipe,  I’ll be proactive and just keep letting her make it when I come home🙂

We use cottage cheese in my family instead of ricotta, but feel free to swap out whatever you prefer. I think store-bought ricotta is absolutely disgusting, so if you’re feeling adventurous… try my Homemade Ricotta. I really like putting left-over ricotta in my oatmeal. Is that legal? It’s a cheese technically, but somehow it just works. A dash of cinnamon won’t hurt your feelings either. Promise.

Just a heads up, the first time you make these, you’re going to burn your fingers on the noodles, and make an absolute mess of your noodle space. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out🙂 Here are some tips for the above mentioned.

**When cooking the noodles, take them out about 2-3 minutes before they’re cooking time. You want them a little firmer, this helps the noodles not break apart, and avoids overcooking them in the oven.
Strain the noodles, then use tongs to lay them on a large cutting board, or where ever your placing them…or “you’ll burn your fingers”.
**Anti-mess tips- sauce, meat, cheese mixture. Roll firm, but not too tight, and don’t over-fill, or you’ll have all kinds of stuff fall out. Also known as lasagna splooge.

**Cottage Cheese Haters- Have someone in your family that doesn’t like cottage cheese? No problem, put the egg/cottage cheese mixture in a food processor. Hides the texture and traditional taste. Also, it gives it a similar ricotta fluffy texture.lazrolls1

lazrolls4lazrolls3

–Also a great recipe to cut in half!

Lasagna Rolls

8 Lasagna Noodles
1 Large can/jar of sauce (I used Hunt’s brand because the large can’s are just too hard to beat, and they’re under a dollar)
1/2-3/4 lb of hamburger or sausage, browned
1 1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 Egg
4 handfuls of shredded mozzarella, this is about 2 cups
1/4 tsp of s&p
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp ground or flaked oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley

Directions
1. Start to brown your hamburger or sausage in a saute pan.
2. While meat is cooking, boil the noodles in a large, wide, sauce pan. Cut their cook time short by 2-3 minutes. You want them al-dente if not 1 minute less.
3. Drain the pasta after its done cooking, I lay them out on a large cutting board. If you don’t have one try parchment paper, so that it saves you the mess, and the noodles don’t stick.
4. Prepare a 9 x 13 dish (I used glass) and spread about 1/4 cup of sauce on the bottom.
5. While the noodles cool a bit, mix your cottage cheese mix either with a fork or in the food processor. Mix together the cottage cheese, egg, mozzarella, s/p, red pepper, paprika, basil, oregano, and parsley.
6. Two tablespoons or so of each in order, sauce, meat, cheese mixture. Leave an inch at the end of each noodle for rolling up.
7. Place noodles seam side down, cover with remainder of the sauce, and two more handfuls of cheese.
8. Bake at 350 covered for 30-35 minutes.