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Zucchini Pizza Boats!

If you are like me, you are so happy when fruits and veggies come in season.  They are cheaper, more readily available and they taste better.  It’s even more exciting when you are growing your own, or can share what is growing in your neighbor’s garden.  But what happens when all your zucchini comes in at once?  Or you buy a ton of it at the Farmer’s Market because it looks beautiful and you can’t resist?  Zucchini Pizza Boats!

Zucchini Pizza Boats are a great meal anytime, one of my favorite leftovers (yummy for a quick lunch or afternoon snack), and they also makes a really fun appetizer.  Just cut them up into bite sizes and serve – your guests will love them.  They are so easy, too.  Get all your favorite pizza toppings out and let everyone make their own!

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Zucchini Pizza Boats

I’ve seen lots of recipes for these, but I took my inspiration from Paleo Indulgences by Tammy Credicott

Preheat oven to 400º.  Clean the zucchini, then split in half lengthwise and scoop out part of the center and seeds to make a shallow trough.  Place the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment with the hollowed-out side up.

Fill the hollowed-out center with pizza sauce, your favorite marinara sauce or bruschetta topping and then start layering all your favorite pizza toppings.  I use turkey sausage and mushroom and I’ve also made some using turkey canadian bacon and caramelized onions.  (Just make sure that the toppings, like sausage, are already cooked).  Quick Note:  If using dairy-free cheese (I use Daiya), I typically put the cheese over the sauce and then put toppings on top of that.  It seems to melt a bit better for me that way.

Bake about 30-40 minutes or until toppings and sauce are bubbling and zucchini is soft.  After cooling a bit, serve as is or slice into 3-4 bite-sized pieces if serving as an appetizer.

 

It’s Citrus Season!

Have you noticed all the different types of citrus in the stores lately?  This is prime time for all those beautiful oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and more.  I, personally, have become quite the pest at my local Trader Joe’s, waiting a bit impatiently for the cocktail grapefruit to come in.  They usually show up for a very short time in January or February, and only at Trader Joe’s.  They are delicious, but they aren’t here yet!

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While we wait, you might try something a bit more exotic than your typical navel orange like these beautiful blood oranges.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  I cut into this one and didn’t want to eat it until I took pictures because the coloring was so amazing.  Did you know that they are considered an anti-aging orange?  Maybe it’s because there is even more vitamin C in blood oranges than a regular orange?

Then I sliced open a Cara Cara orange – have you tried one yet?  You can see them with the blood oranges in the banner on the front page.  They are bright orange outside and look like a regular navel orange, but they have beautiful rosy colored flesh inside that is seedless and so sweet!  According to the Sunkist website, they are a cross between  the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel, and were first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela.

While reading about Cara Cara oranges, I found a really helpful resource from Sunkist – it is all the nutrition information for different types of citrus.  Check it out here when you want to feel good about adding some citrus into your meal plan!

 

Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I found this recipe on www.101cookbooks.com, the original name is Nikki’s Healthy Cookies (click here to check it out, along other great recipes) and I was so excited to get this recipe and play with variations.  Although this is pretty close to the original, this is a good recipe to use when working with substitutions for food allergies.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm – so it isn’t solid (or alternately, olive oil)
  • 2 cups GF rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 – 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

2. In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don’t worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning.

Substitutions:

Substitute applesauce or other fruit purees for the bananas

Substitute raisins or other dried fruit for the chocolate chunks

 

Espresso Brownies

Espresso Brownies

Once again, the original recipe comes from Elana Amsterdam.  She is such a great resource for grain-free snacks.  Her books are great, and her website is such a valuable resource.  You can see the original recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons decaf espresso powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat

2. Add coconut oil and stir until completely dissolved

3. Stir in ground espresso and remove from heat

4. Blend in eggs, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt to mixture in pan using a handheld mixer

5. Blend in almond flour and coconut flour

6. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish

7. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes

8. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour

9. Serve

Coconut Bars

Coconut Bars

This recipe was adapted from the Coconut Bars recipe from Elana Amsterdam.  Click here to find the original recipe, then check out the rest of her site.  She as great recipes, cookbooks, and all things yummy for people wanting to eat healthier.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup honey*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

Directions:

1. Mix eggs, coconut milk, oil, coconut nectar, and vanilla in a food processor

2. Pulse in almond flour, coconut flour, shredded coconut and salt

3. Transfer ingredients into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish

4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes

5. Cool for ½ hour, then place in refrigerator and serve when chilled,

* Note:  Original recipe calls for honey instead of the coconut nectar, and an added 1/8 tsp. stevia.

 

Roasted Veggie Dip


Roasted Veggie Dip/Spread

This has become one of our all-time favorites.  It is Ina Garten’s recipe (click here for original recipe) and it is great as a dip, to top chicken or fish, and wonderful used as a healthy spread on a wrap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

 

Fabulous Eggplant Dip


Eggplant Caviar

This is the original recipe for what we all refer to as the Fabulous Eggplant Dip.  This is one of the few recipes that I don’t mess with – I like it just the way it is.  It tastes great on sliced cucumbers!

By Nora Kogan, originally published in Real Simple

Makes 1 1/2 cups (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1  large eggplant (about 1 1⁄2 pounds)
  • 1/2  small onion, finely chopped (1⁄4 cup)
  • 1  clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  teaspoon  red wine vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon  mayonnaise (optional)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Cut-up vegetables, for serving

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Using a fork, prick the eggplant all over. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until very tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

2. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise and scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin. Finely chop the flesh and transfer it to a large bowl.

3. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, oil, vinegar, mayonnaise (if using), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and mix to combine. Sprinkle with additional parsley and serve with the vegetables, if desired.

Squash!

What a fun Healthy Priorities get-together!  I’m so glad everyone could come and learn a bit more about the amazingly versatile squash.  Here are the recipes I used:

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos – click here

Spaghetti Squash Casserole – Click here

White Bean, Kale and Roasted Veggie Soup – click here

Paleo Pumpkin Bars – click here

Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeno – click here (it is included with the fish taco recipes, so just scroll down and you’ll find it).

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

from Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield

2 acorn squash

1 tbls. olive or coconut oil

1 onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 lb. ground turkey or turkey sausage

2 tbls. chili powder

3 tsp. cumin

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped

Preheat oven to 400º.  Cut squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and pulp.  Place facedown in a baking pan with about 1/4” of water.  Bake for 30-45 minutes until squash is soft.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add in oil, and when hot stir in onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent, being careful not to burn garlic.  Stir in peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes longer.

Add in turkey and spices and brown until turkey is cooked through.  Stain off any excess liquid from the turkey and stir in tomatoes, heating through.  Place squash face up and fill with turkey mixture and serve.

Notes:  Serve with your favorite salsa or dairy-free cheese on top.  I also took the leftover turkey mixture and served it with some leftover spaghetti squash and it was great!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

I’ve seen lots of recipes for these, but I took my inspiration from Paleo Indulgences by Tammy Credicott

Preheat oven to 400º.  Clean the zucchini, then split in half lengthwise and scoop out part of the center and seeds to make a shallow well.  Place the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment with the hollow-out side up.

Fill the hollowed-out center with pizza sauce, your favorite marinara sauce or bruschetta  topping and then start layering all your favorite pizza toppings.  I used turkey sausage and mushroom and I’ve also made some using turkey canadian bacon and caramelized onions.  (Just make sure that the toppings, like sausage, are already cooked).  Top with your favorite dairy-free cheese (I used Daiya).

Bake about 20-30 minutes or until toppings and sauce are bubbling and zucchini is soft.

 

April’s Cooking Class – Fish

I’m so glad we could all get together and explore some new fish options.  I hope you guys try some of these recipes and report back – I’m sure you’ll come up with lots of  variations in additions to these ideas.  Fish is a great starting place and its fun to add all kinds of side dishes, relishes, sauces, etc. to go with what can be a simple (and healthy!) protein.  Don’t forget to make a big batch of the “Pink Mayonnaise” – it goes great on everything!  (you could put it on a car bumper!)

NOTE:  Don’t forget to let me know if you want to join the Eat Up! facebook group.  Let’s encourage each other to make health-promoting food choices, and learn how to feed our bodies, not our emotions!

Smoked Salmon and Egg Salad Tartines from Ina Garten  – click here for the recipe.  I adjusted it by using Udi’s GF bread, cutting off the crusts, and brushing with a little olive oil (you can add some chopped garlic to the oil if you are feeling fancy).  Put on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 degrees – about 10-12 minutes or so, depending on your oven (just keep your eye on it).  I used smoked salmon from Trader Joe’s.  Assemble just before serving.

The Dueling Salmon Salads:

What an interesting experiment!  The olive oil/vinegar based salad is from Ina Garten – here is the recipe.  The mayonnaise based salad is from Paula Deen, recipe is here.   I followed both recipes pretty closely, although I left out the capers in Ina Garten’s recipe.  Just as a reminder, if you use canned salmon for these or other recipes, remember to save a few minutes to pick through for bones, skin, etc.

Fish Packets:

Ok, how easy are these?!  I used a combination of recipes for these, so I’ll give you the basic instructions, then go crazy with the variations you and your family members can come up with.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, or fire up the grill.  Put a bit of olive oil or cooking spray on the foil, then start layering. Putting very thinly sliced potatoes at the bottom (sprinkled with a little salt and pepper), fresh spinach or other veggies cut into small pieces, then fish with a few slices of lemon and dots of butter or compound butter. Or start with the fish on the bottom and just add mixed veggies on top.  Gather the foil to make a packet, put on a baking sheet and bake for anywhere from 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.  No, there’s no secret to figuring that out – you just have to take the packets out and take a peak.   This is such an easy recipe and you can get really creative with the combinations of flavors.  Try different fish, veggies, add some onion or shallots, fresh or dried herbs – endless possibilities.  The really great thing – they go together quickly and you can make them up ahead, then pop them in the oven (or on the grill) when you get home from a busy day and dinner will be done in no time.

Fish Tacos:

I’m so excited you guys liked the fish tacos!  They are favorites of mine, and a great choice when you have a bunch of people to feed.  Like the fish packets, so many possibilities of how to build them.  Along with the following side dishes, make sure you serve with some salsa (homemade or your favorite store bought brand), shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro and lime wedges for squishing over the whole mess.  Fish tacos are only great when they are really messy and sloppy, so grab some napkins and enjoy!

Bake the fish (I used Mahi Mahi but any firm white fish works fine) at 350 degrees (just oil a baking sheet, then put a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper on both sides of the fish).  Bake them for approximately 6 minutes on one side, then 4-6 minutes on the other.  (Keep an eye out so they don’t overcook).  Warm the corn tortillas either in foil in the oven or toast on a grill pan on the stovetop.  (Put in foil to keep them warm).  

 

Mango-Radish Salsa (Tyler Florence’s recipe)

  • 2 limes
  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 4 to 5 red radishes, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the peel and pith from the limes and cut between the membranes to remove the segments. Put these “supremes” into a bowl and squeeze over the juice from the membranes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Season and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree for a smoother salsa.

Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeno (from www.epicurious.com)

  • 1 red onion (about 12 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut thinly crosswise
  • 5 whole small jalapeños
  • 2 cups seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

Place onion and jalapeños in heatproof medium bowl. Mix vinegar, lime juice, and salt in small saucepan. Bring just to boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Pour over onion and jalapeños. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

“Pink Mayonnaise” – Actually called Red Pepper Sauce (from Rachael Ray)

  • 1 (8-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained, or 1 large freshly prepared roasted red pepper (I used jar of roasted red and yellow pepper from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup prepared chili sauce (I used Trader Joe’s seafood sauce)

For red pepper sauce, combine drained red peppers in a food processor bowl with mayonnaise and chili sauce. Pulse/grind the ingredients into a smooth sauce. Transfer sauce to a small serving dish.

 

 

Roasted Veggie Dip

I just realized that my favorite Roasted Veggie Dip recipe hasn’t made it to this site.  This is a great dip for raw veggies and chips, but it’s also wonderful as a flavorful spread for chicken or fish.  I tell everyone it’s a veggie dip because the original name for this is Roasted Eggplant Spread and so many people won’t even try it if they hear the word eggplant.  And yet everyone who tries this, absolutely loves it.  I wish I could take credit for creating it, but it’s actually an Ina Garten recipe (from Food Network).  It’s easy to make, healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free and tasty.  What more could we ask for?!  Click here to find recipe.