Cauliflower Butter Chicken

This is my absolute favourite recipe to make at the moment.  I make it about once a week and I usually end up doubling the recipe so that we have leftovers as well!  I think I could eat it every day.  Butter chicken and chocolate.  Balance!

Plus, it’s so easy to prepare.  It’s something I can make even when I have 3 little boys running around.  Three!  Arlo is walking now so our house just got a little bit crazier, which means I have to make meals that I can pull together quickly!

If you are dairy free, simply substitute coconut oil when cooking the chicken and onions, and don’t worry about adding any extra at the end.  I usually use salted butter, so you may want to season to taste if you are making the substitution.

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Butter Chicken

Serves 4.

  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ cup butter, divided
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Cut chicken breasts into 1” chunks. In a large pan, add 2 tbsp butter and cook the chicken on both sides until no longer pink. Careful not to overcook them.  You want them to remain juicy! Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt another 2 tbsp butter in the pan and add the onion and cook over medium/low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, garam masala, ginger, paprika, and cumin, and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook over medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes to boil off some of the water.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the rest of the butter. Simmer for 5 minutes to reheat the chicken.

Serve with cauliflower rice, recipe below.

Basic Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Chop cauliflower into small florets. Place cauliflower in small batches into a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice.

Melt the butter in a large pan and add the rice-sized cauliflower. Cook over medium heat, covered, until tender, 5-8 minutes.  Add a few tbsp of water or chicken stock if you need moisture in the bottom of the pot.

While cauliflower is cooking, add salt and turmeric.

The Oscars and a Freestyle Mexican Dip

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Last year I went all out for the Oscars.  We ordered pizza.  I ate 2 slices and washed it down with some Barq’s Root Beer.  Then I proceeded to push out a 9 lb baby in our bathroom 5 hours later 😉  Glad I won’t be doing that again!  3 boys and done!

This year I decided to keep it simple.  Some freestyle Mexican inspired dip: refried black beans, minced beef, and some delicious guacamole.

There will be no more Oscars and pizza nights in our house since I’ve finally made the leap into being 100% gluten free.  I’ve been wanting to do it for years but I never tried hard enough because I was scared to let go of some much loved favourites: pain au chocolat, really good bread, and wood oven pizza (specifically Cremini Mushroom Pizza at Pizzeria Libretto if you’re a Torontonian. Yum!).  But as I continue on this health journey I couldn’t deny my body what it needed, and that’s a very clean diet.

Thankfully it’s not a very big leap from our current diet since our kitchen has been 100% gluten free for years.  We saved the gluten for the occasional pizza, wings, or restaurants.  I’m super excited to see the me I can be without gluten!

Alright, here’s what was on tonight’s menu:

Refried Black Beans

I’m not entirely sure this is the Mexican way, but it’s my way, and it’s delicious!

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Place onion, garlic, and butter in a large pan and cook over medium/low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the black beans and mash with a potato masher.  Add the cumin, sea salt, and chicken stock, and mash once again.  Once they’re as mashed as they’re going to get – you’re done!

Mexican Minced Beef

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (more if you like spice)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef and add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes to boil off some of the tomato water.

Guacamole (this amazing version not pictured because I was also watching an overtired and crying baby while preparing dinner)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 avocados, mashed with a fork
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • optional: 1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

Mash avocados with a fork and then add the rest of the ingredients.  If it doesn’t taste amazing, then there are 2 things you have to play with: the amount of sea salt and the amount of lime juice.  Play with these until this is the best guacamole you’ve ever tasted.

Other potential players:

  • tortilla chips (non-GMO)
  • diced tomatoes
  • organic old cheddar cheese
  • olives
  • hot sauce
  • jalapenos
  • whatever else you want to eat with your delicious freestyle Mexican dinner!

A shout out to Yuri for taking the beautiful photo while I wrestled the food to the table for our 3 little boys!

I put the dishes in individual serving bowls and let the kids assemble their dinner as they wished, which meant that Oscar ate a bowlful of guacamole and Luca ate 2 tortilla chips after filling his plate with them, declaring “I done!” and running away to play with a truck puzzle.  While they ate, I put Arlo out of his misery by giving him a bottle and then put him to bed.  And then I finally got to eat!  Dinner as usual in our house!

 

“Cheesy” Turmeric Broccoli

I think I’ve teased you all long enough with the pictures of this delicious sauce!  It reminds me a lot of the cheese and flour sauce that my mom used to make to get us to eat cauliflower.  But now, the sauce is made of cauliflower!

The nutritional yeast gives the sauce its cheesiness so make sure you have it on hand.  Don’t worry, it’s an inactive yeast so it won’t add to any candida issues.  Plus, it’s full of B vitamins to give you an energy and nutrient boost!

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Cheesy Turmeric Broccoli

  • 2 heads of broccoli – about 8 cups of florets

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in coconut oil over medium heat. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the cauliflower and chicken stock to the pot and cover.  Cook over medium high heat until the cauliflower is tender.

Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a high speed blender and add the nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Blend well.

Lastly, place the broccoli in a large pot with an inch of water in the bottom.  Steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.  Drain broccoli and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain the broccoli well, transfer to a bowl and top with cheese sauce.

Quinoa Chili

Every parent dreams of having a dinner scene that isn’t complete chaos.  Imagine your kids sitting at the table and actually EATING what you put in front of them for once.  This is that recipe.  Not only that, but this is the meal they won’t complain about if they have to eat it tomorrow night as well.

Ok, ok it’s not all rainbows and glitter, I had to bribe them the second night and let them eat on the couch, but still.  And people I have sent this recipe to loved it.  Their families loved it.  And you’re going to put it in your dinner rotation. I pinky swear.

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Quinoa Chili

2 1/2 lbs minced sirloin
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange or yellow pepper, chopped
1 19 oz can kidney beans
1 15 oz can black beans
2 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
roasted jalapenos, hot sauce, and/or avocado to garnish – they’re all delicious!

In a large pot, cook the beef until no longer pink.  Add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the garlic and sweet peppers. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, quinoa, beef broth, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and sea salt, and simmer partially covered for 3 hours to let the magic happen, stirring occasionally.

You can eat it after 1 hour but the longer you leave it the tastier it gets!

Lamb Zucchini Boats

Lamb, rosemary, and mint.  The perfect combination to sail away in a zucchini boat!

Yes, it is a little annoying to hollow out the boats, but I love the presentation of it and it really doesn’t take that long.  If you aren’t partial to boats you can just chop up the zucchini and add it to the pot with the lamb mixture.  I won’t take it personally.

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Lamb Zucchini Boats

  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Wash and cut the stalk end off of the zucchinis.  Cut them in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.  Place the zucchini on a baking tray and set aside.

Set oven to 400 F.

In a pot over low/medium heat, cook the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the ground lamb and cook until no longer pink.

Add the mint, rosemary, lemon juice, spinach, salt and pepper, and cook until the spinach wilts.

Carefully spoon the lamb mixture into the zucchini.

Cook at 400 F for 20 minutes.

Creamy Chicken Soup

There are a lot of soups that I used to enjoy as a kid that came out of a can.  Cream of chicken soup was one of them.  I’m almost certain that I would feel ill if I tried to eat them today.  And while making soup from scratch take a little more effort, you are rewarded with amazing flavour and quality that you can feel good about feeding your family!

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Creamy Chicken Soup

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour
  • 5 cups organic chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (I think I used approx a tsp of sea salt)

Chop up the onion, celery, and carrots and place in a large soup pot with the coconut oil or butter over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add the flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the chicken broth and thyme and bring to a boil. Chop up the raw chicken breast into bite sized pieces and add to the boiling soup. Turn down the heat to low/medium and simmer for 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked.

Transfer soup to a high-speed blender and add the coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Return soup the pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

Roasted Tomato Salmon

On a day when I thought I had no food in the house, this recipe was born.  I’d never attempted a fish recipe before because admittedly, I am NOT a fish person.  Historically, the only fish I’ve ever really liked is smoked salmon, and even then it had to be accompanied with loads of cream cheese, capers, red onion, dill, and lemon juice.

SO, when I came up with this recipe it was a pretty big shock at how amazing it is.  I think it’s probably the new house favourite.  It was so good that I had seconds.  Everyone had seconds – even the kids.  I would go so far as to say that this is probably my new favourite dinner recipe, so if you’re reading these words I kindly ask you to make it asap and report back here!

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Roasted Tomato Salmon

  • 2 lbs salmon (3 fillets)
  • 1 14 oz can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, milled (or powdered coriander)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, milled (or powdered fennel)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400F.

Place two large pieces of tin foil side by side on a baking sheet and fold them together accordion style so they make one large piece of tin foil.

Chop up the onion and garlic and toss it in a large bowl along with the diced tomatoes (including the juice).

If you have coriander and fennel seeds, place them in a coffee grinder and grind until fine.  I like to grind my seeds myself so they are fresh and aromatic. I find buying seeds in their powdered form don’t have quite as much flavour.  Add the fennel, coriander, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper to the tomato mixture and stir well.

Spoon 1/4 of the tomato mixture onto the middle of the tin foil and place the salmon on top, pink side up.

Spoon the rest of the tomato mixture over the salmon and then fold the foil together on top followed by the sides so that it is airtight.

Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes at 400 F.

When you take the salmon out of the oven, the salmon should be slightly pink/raw in the middle. This is exactly what you want. Let it sit and rest for 5-10 minutes so it can rest/finish cooking and then enjoy!

Pine Nut and Pea Sprouted Brown Rice

I’ve looked everywhere for sprouted brown rice since I tried it this summer and I finally came across it this week at the Bulk Barn!  I couldn’t wait to make something like this and it is exactly what I was envisioning.  Not only did we love it, but the kids actually sat down and ate like civilized human beings for once.  Score!

We ate this along with salmon and salad for dinner.  If I were making as a stand alone lunch dish I would add a few large handfuls of spinach to the last step and let the heat of the rice wilt it, which is exactly what’s on the lunch menu tomorrow!

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Pine Nut and Pea Sprouted Brown Rice

  • 2 cups sprouted brown rice
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Cook the sprouted brown rice as per the package directions.

While the rice is cooking, place the pine nuts in a large pot over low to moderate heat and lightly toast them, tossing frequently.  Be sure to keep an eye on them because they can go from lightly browned to black pretty quickly!  Alternatively, you can leave them untoasted.

Empty the pine nuts into a bowl and set aside.

Using the same large pot, cook the onion in the coconut oil over medium heat until translucent.  Add the garlic and peas and cook for 2 more minutes.  Turn off the heat, toss in the pine nuts and set aside.

Once the rice has finished cooking, add it to the onion mixture along with the coconut aminos, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar.  Mix well and serve!

Sweet Shepherd’s Pie

Anyone with kids will tell you that dinnertime is usually a massive battle.  It’s so hard to get them to eat anything some nights that I wonder why I even bother making dinner!  This is the dinner dish that my kids most consistently eat.  I feel like I’m sitting on a goldmine so I won’t keep this recipe to myself any longer!  Oscar polished off TWO bowls of it tonight.  Shocking, and completely awesome!

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Sweet Shepherd’s Pie

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (solid top part of canned coconut milk)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sweet peas (fresh or frozen work)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme

Peel and cut up the sweet potatoes.  Place in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until soft.  Drain water and mash with a potato masher.  Add coconut cream and salt and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

While potatoes are boiling, cut up red onion and carrots and place in a large pot with the coconut oil over medium heat.  Cook 5 minutes.  Add garlic, lamb, rosemary, and thyme and cook until lamb is no longer pink.

Mix in flour and cook for another minute.

Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and peas and stir.

Transfer meat mixture into a large oven safe baking dish and top with sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes.

 

 

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Moroccan-Style Meatballs

This meal came together very quickly and it was so good that I’ll be making it again very soon.  It was a hit with our 3 year old but the 18 month old won’t eat meat, and apparently is rebelling against carrots now too…

We served it with quinoa, but it can be a stand on its own dish served with a side salad.

meatballs

Moroccan-Style Meatballs adapted from here.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/3 cup grated onion
  • 1 egg
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your hands.  Form meatballs slightly larger than golf balls, place onto a plate and set aside.

Stew

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup organic raisins
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a large oven-safe pot, cook onions in coconut oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 10-15 minutes.

Add cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add broth, tomatoes, raisins, and carrots, and bring to a boil.

Carefully press meatballs into the stew mixture until covered, sprinkle with cilantro, and cover the pot.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until carrots are tender.