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