Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs

Does anyone have zucchini or summer squash overflowing in their garden? This recipe is a great way to use a lot of it! To julienne the squash or zucchini use a julienne peeler. I also included a really basic sauce recipe because I did not have any tomato sauce but I did have tomato paste so I made my own. It actually came out amazing! It had a lot of flavor and was really easy. I definitely recommend making it if you have a few minutes while the meatballs are cooking.  I had this for lunch for about 3 days and did not get sick of it. It is absolutely delicious, enjoy!

 

meatball

 

Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • Meatballs:
  • 2lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup brown rice flour (or any gluten free flour)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Zucchini:
  • 3 zucchini's, julienned
  • sea salt
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Easy Sauce:
  • 2 6oz cans organic tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. First add all of your sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan and heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add all spices, flour, and the egg in a large bowl and mix. Once all ingredients are mixed add in your ground beef and mix with your hands until all spices are worked in.
  3. Form into meatballs and place inside crock pot. You can also bake this in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes each side.
  4. If cooking in a crock pot, cover meatballs in ⅔ of the sauce. Save the rest of the sauce to add at meal times. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. Julienne your zucchini/squash and place in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit for 10-20 minutes. This is when a lot of the water comes out of the veggies. This allows them to stay more firm like noodles when you top them with the meatballs.
  6. Put zucchini/squash in large container with peppers and store in fridge. Top with meatballs and 2-3 tbsp sauce when serving.

Gluten Free Bread Recipe

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Every once and a while I like to make some fresh baked gluten free bread to top with avocado and an over easy egg. I avoid eating more processed bread with gluten because of the inflammatory response that gluten creates in your body. Not to mention the fact that gluten is extremely addictive so I try to keep it out of my diet as much as possible. This gluten free bread recipe not only tastes delicious but is a great substitution for those times when you want bread. You can slice up the entire loaf then place in freezer safe bags to save for later. Try this recipe and you won’t want to eat heavily processed bread again!

 

Gluten Free Bread Recipe
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Millet Flour
  • ½ cup Brown Rice Flour
  • ½ cup Potato Starch
  • ¼ cup Almond Flour
  • ¼ cup Tapioca Starch/Flour
  • ¼ cup Skim Milk Powder
  • 3 TBSL Sesame Seeds or Quinoa Flakes
  • 2 tsp rapid dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (115 degrees F)
  • 1 TBSL Xanthum Gym
  • 1 TBSL Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
Instructions
  1. I use a silicone bread pan that the bread does not stick to but if using a metal pan grease and line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine warm water with yeast and honey in a small glass bowl. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine millet flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, almond meal, tapioca starch, milk powder, xanthan gum, and salt and mix.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar, oil, and eggs to the yeast mixture and mix well.
  5. Now add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients slowly in small portions mixing well between until all ingredients are combined.
  6. Pour batter into a bread pan, top with sesame seeds or quinoa flakes and let rise in a warm place while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Once preheated, bake bread for 35-40 minutes.
  8. Remove bread and let cool for 10-15 minutes. I like to slice the entire loaf up and then put in freezer safe baggies to save for later.

 

 

Classic Cobb Salad (with a PN twist!)

Cobb salads are delicious and full of high protein, healthy ingredients! However, they are one of those foods you don’t really want to order at a restaurant. It’s hard to know that you’re getting  healthfully sourced ingredients, such an unprocessed, uncured bacon from humanely raised pigs, a dressing made without any vegetable/canola oil or fake mayo, and free range, organic eggs and chicken! Finding a restaurant that values the integrity of all of the main ingredients of a Cobb salad is tough- that’s why I love making these at home! The dressing is my favorite part…check out the recipe and let us know what you think!

 

Classic Cobb Salad (with a PN twist!)
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 cups organic mixed greens
  • 4 slices all natural, uncured bacon (cooked crispy and crumbled into bits)
  • 2 organic hardboiled eggs (sliced into pieces)
  • 1 medium organic roma tomato
  • 1 medium organic chicken breast (you will need 1 TBLS coconut oil, 2 TBLS coconut flour, 4 TBLS coconut flakes, and 1 egg if you're not using leftover chicken)
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 carrots (sliced)
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 4 TBLS fresh dill (finely chopped)
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • Pinch sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. First cook your chicken breast, or slice some leftover chicken you have into strips. I like to cut mine into strips, batter it with 1 egg and 2 TBLS coconut flour and then sauté lightly in ½ TBLS coconut oil in a pan in coconut oil for about 4-5 minutes, or until brown. I then place the strips on a baking sheet on the other ½ TBLS coconut oil and top with coconut flakes and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees (no longer because you don't want the chicken to dry out). If you don't like coconut chicken you can do this same process with olive oil and sea salt/pepper.
  2. Next, place the mixed greens on your plates and top with all of your vegetables, crumbled bacon, and sliced egg. I like to do it in rows, but you can do different style of layer depending on your visual preference.
  3. Lastly, to make the dressing simply mix all of the remaining ingredients together until well combined. Add a touch more oil and lemon juice if you like it thinner. When the chicken is done, place the strips on your salad while still warm, put the dressing on the side in a small bowl, and enjoy!
  4. PN RX (per salad): 4 free veggies, 1.5 protein, 3 fats

Springtime Super Food (and yummy spring rolls!)

Happy Spring everyone!

For those of you reading this from the East coast, I hope you all have gotten a few moments of solar therapy this past week after a long winter! Seeing the sun shine makes me want to be more active, and it also gets me craving fresher, creative new foods. That’s why I decided to demonstrate how to make Superfood Spring Rolls on Better CT yesterday.

The foods I chose as this year’s “Spring Super Foods” offer your body a broad spectrum of health benefits. To name a few, they are full of nutrients that boost your immune system, help to ward off seasonal allergies, detoxify your body after a long winter, and help slim the waist line to help you get ready for summer! Watch the video below to learn how to incorporate these superfoods into your everyday life by making a simple and tasty Superfood Spring Roll!

  • Citrus: Grapefruits, lemons, or oranges any time of day! Enjoy lemon in your water, grapefruit as a side to your breakfast, or a juice orange for a dessert on a warm day. 
  • Quinoa: Use for cold or hot side dishes, on a salad, or in a Spring Roll!
  • Dandelion Greens: Throw these peppery greens into a salad, in a soup, or in a lunch wrap for an added zing to your meal!
  • Raw Local Honey/Local Bee Pollen: Put in tea, yogurt, smoothies, or enjoy a spoonful raw!
  • Walnut Oil: Use for cold foods only (not for cooking); enjoy its nutty flavor in a dressing or on top of a favorite grain dish such as brown rice or quinoa
  • Asparagus: Grilled, sautéed in a stir-fry, or put in a Spring Roll, asparagus are a hearty spring vegetable full of nutrition that will keep you feeling full for hours!

 

Springtime Superfood Spring Rolls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • The Rolls:
  • 6 large rice wrappers (found in international section at grocery store)
  • ½ Cup (cooked) quinoa (any variety)
  • 6 grilled asparagus (grilled or roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper)
  • 1 handful of dandelion greens, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 handful of mixed, Asian, or other type of greens (for "base" of spring roll)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 TBLS fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 TBLS walnut oil
  • 4 TSP local honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Grilled chicken or shrimp (optional addition for extra protein)
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBLS Braggs liquid aminos or Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 2 TBLS water
  • 2 TBLS honey
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Juice of ½ orange
Instructions
  1. The Rolls:
  2. Combine the quinoa, carrots, and dandelion greens into a small bowl. In a separate bowl combine the walnut oil, orange juice, chili flakes, sea salt, and honey into a dressing. Whisk briefly and pour over the quinoa salad, tossing gently. Take a spring roll and gently submerge in a shallow bowl of water for 8-10 seconds. Place on a non-stick surface (parchment paper or cutting board) and line with a thin layer of mixed greens, 1 asparagus, and a thin line of the quinoa salad. Gently fold the top half in, followed by the sides, and gently roll until mixture is tight within the spring roll. Cut in half and serve with the sweet chili sauce as a side dip.
  3. Sweet Chili Sauce:
  4. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Serve as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, or use as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp.
Notes
PN RX (may vary depending on ingredients)
For 3 rolls (with ingredients indicated in recipe above): 2 free veggies, 1 carb, 1 fat

 

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!

Sometimes I like to have dessert for breakfast! I came up with the Cookie Dough Smoothie the morning after I made “PN Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies” (recipe coming soon!). I woke up wanting to have one of the cookies I made for breakfast. Although they taste good and have very clean ingredients, they don’t have enough protein to be considered a healthy breakfast. So, I decided to make the ingredients into a smoothie to satisfy my craving and give my body the protein it needed to start my day right.

This smoothie contains one of my favorite ingredients: raw cacao nibs (found in the health food section of most grocery stores). Cacao can be found in a powder or solid form, and is an amazing food for your body. Raw cacao is chocolate in its original, minimally processed state. If you’re used to sweetened chocolate, like most of us are, it will be a bitter at first, once you are accustomed to its unique flavor profile, just a small handful seems to do the trick in satisfying a chocolate craving. What’s in the raw cacao bean that we love so much?

 

raw cacaoScreen shot 2014-05-16 at 7.10.41 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of important minerals such as Magnesium and Iron, fiber, healthy fat, and antioxidants have countless health benefits:

  • By providing minerals that most people are deficient in, raw cacao may help decrease sugar/carbohydrate cravings
  • Raw cacao promotes a healthy digestive system with all the fiber it adds to the diet
  • Contains “theombromine”, a protein that stimulates the central nervous system, which relaxes smooth muscles and gives the body a gentle boost of energy and feeling of “bliss” we often get from eating chocolate (without the added sugar and ingredients from processed chocolate!)
  • Improves overall mood and may help fight depression due to its ability increase the bioavailability of Serotonin to the brain

Have we convinced you to try out some Raw Cacao yet?! Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!
 
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Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 packet "stevia in the raw" or other natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 TBLS (15 grams worth) unflavored whey protein (we use Standard Process)
  • 2 TBLS raw cacao nibs
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 ice cubes (more if you like it icier)
  • ¼ cup water, or more to desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until the smoothie has reached your desired consistency. Enjoy!
  2. Note: I usually add spinach and/or another leafy green to my smoothies. Since this is more of a "dessert" smoothies, I decided to leave it out. When I don't get greens in at breakfast, I make sure to be extra conscious of getting them in later in the day!
Notes
PN RX:
1 Protein, 1 Fat, ½ Carb

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana and Amanda :)

Gluten Free Philly Steak and Cheese

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I love recreating some of my favorite foods into healthier versions that provide nutrition but still satisfy a craving. Sometimes even just one meal of processed food and refined carbohydrates can throw you off the wagon and cause a host of sugar cravings, mood swings, headaches, and complete loss of motivation and energy just to name a few. When you are craving something that isn’t going to provide your body with the nutrients it needs and even take away many nutrients during the process of digestion try to make a healthier version. This way you can still enjoy your food but you leave all the nasty side effects of cheat meals behind. I love philly steak and cheese sandwiches and sometimes I want bread but I know how it will make me feel. I picked up some gluten free buns from Trader Joe’s along with some organic shaved steak and raw cheese to make this delicious and satisfying meal. The gluten free buns are still a concentrated source of carbohydrates and more processed than fruits and vegetables so I try to make them a treat but overall this is a great substitution.

 

Gluten Free Philly Steak and Cheese
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Gluten Free Rolls
  • 1lb Organic Shaved Steak
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 8oz Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 2 Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Raw Cheese to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add in Worcestershire, hot sauce and garlic powder and mix.
  2. Add in shaved steak and cook until no longer pink but try not to overcook.
  3. Heat up gluten free rolls and toast in oven for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add 4oz of shaved steak to each roll with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Place 1oz of cheese on top and heat in oven until melted.
  5. We cut ours in half then put 2oz on each half and a little cheese on top.

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites

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Bacon can be a controversial topic when it comes to the nutrition community. I personally feel that bacon has gotten a very bad name and is unrightfully associated with many health problems like heart disease. The true culprits are refined sugar, processed food, trans fats, and lack of activity. That being said, bacon is still more processed than if you purchased fresh, grassfed steaks or pastured pork chops. For this reason, I think it should be eaten in moderation (2-4 slices),  no more than 2-3 times a week. Another controversy around bacon is the discussion of how harmful nitrites and nitrates are for our bodies. Many people do not know this but we get more nitrites from vegetables than cured meats like bacon. Chris Kresser, an integrative medicine doctor, has a great article on nitrates and nitrites on his website here:  http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon.

One fun fact from his article:

“It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs.”

Most bacon that says “nitrate free” does in fact contain nitrates, however, they are from celery root or beets and usually have even more nitrates and nitrites than regularly cured bacon. This is why whenever you are buying bacon the main concern should be to get organic, pastured bacon rather than only worrying about whether or not it has nitrates and nitrites because all types will.

Overall, I think bacon has a place in a healthy diet, like most foods, when not eaten in excess. These are a really great appetizer to have at a party or family get together and are very low maintenance  to make. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1lb bacon, cut strips in half
  • tooth picks to keep bacon in place
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. While oven is preheating, cut sweet potatoes into small cubes about 1.5-2 inches. Cut bacon strips in half and wrap each sweet potato cube with half a bacon strip. Use tooth picks to keep bacon in place.
  3. Cover baking sheet with foil and place bacon wrapped sweet potatoes on there spread out evenly.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes soft and bacon cooked to your liking.
  5. Be careful of tooth picks when eating this delicious treat!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara

Sometimes I crave a good old pasta and marinara sauce dinner! It’s hard to find a recipe that is tasty AND health promoting. Having a bit of high quality protein, veggies, and healthy fat is the best way to make sure you leave a meal feeling energized and satisfied. Amanda and I  have been loving this Gluten Free Black Bean/Mung Bean Pasta lately (like most of our suggestions, you can find this pasta in the Gluten Free section at most major grocery stores). This pasta, combined with this clean and simple homemade high protein marinara sauce, is the perfect alternative to the typical “refined” white pasta you grew up on- and will taste better too! Enjoy!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara
 
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Try this quick and easy pasta dish when you're craving pasta or something with an Italian feel! Feel amazing and light after you eat it as it's full of fiber, B Vitamins, and protein!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ Bag Black Bean Spaghetti*
  • Sauce:
  • ½ Bag Ming Bean Spaghetti*
  • 6 and ¼ cup water
  • 1 Jar Organic, No Sugar Added Tomato Sauce (made with olive oil)
  • 1 Small Can (6 oz.) Organic Tomato Paste
  • 4 TBLS Italian Seasoning (We like the brand Frontier Organics)
  • ⅛ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Handfuls Organic Spinach
  • 1 Cup Raw Mushrooms
  • 2 TBLS Chopped Garlic (fresh or from the jar)
  • 1 Avocado (for garnish) and Pint Organic Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Pound Baked Free Range Chicken, Chunked
  • Any Other Vegetable You Love!
  • * Find Gluten Free Black Bean or Mung Bean Pasta at most major grocery stores or local health food store!
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in medium pot. In the mean time, combine olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, and mushrooms in a medium sized skillet on the stove top at medium heat. Allow to sit on stove for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly browned and softened. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and spinach to the skillet. Once water is boiling, add dry Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta to the water and allow to boil for about 7-10 minutes until soft, "pasta like" consistency is reached. Drain the pasta when finished and set aside. Allow your sauce ingredients to simmer for about 10 more minutes or until mixture has come to a slow boil, and the spinach has cooked down/is well combined into sauce. Add chicken chunks (or other desired protein) to the sauce until they are warm throughout, and serve over the Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta. Top with chunks of avocado and cherry tomatoes- enjoy!
Notes
PN RX for ¼ of the sauce and 1 Cup Pasta: 2 Carbs, 2 Fat, 1 Veggies, 1 Protein

Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes

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Everyone should try out this healthy side dish that is full of vitamins, minerals, and complex carbs. I have had sweet potato and quinoa cakes in the past and loved them so I decided to make my own at home. I love the quinoa cakes at whole foods but they have Canola oil in them so I try to avoid them. Canola oil is inflammatory as are other vegetable oils. This recipe is a little different from the sweet flavored cakes. It has more of a Mexican flavor but I am going to make a sweet version too. These cakes would be a great addition to any meal!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked (1 c dry)
  • 1.5 Tbsp organic butter
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • sea salt
  • ⅓ cup gluten free bread crumbs or almond flour
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat up a large skillet and add butter, sweet potatoes, and red onions. Cook on medium heat until soft (about 15 minutes).
  3. Bring 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan to a boil. Add 1 cup quinoa and bring down to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.
  4. In a large bowl, add sweet potatoes and mashed. Add the cooked quinoa and mix well.
  5. Now add all of your seasonings and bread crumbs. Mix well.
  6. Add 1 egg and mix with hands until everything is incorporated.
  7. Form into medium size patties. I made 17.
  8. Place patties on cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes then flip and bake for another 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cake Calories: 83 Fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 13 Protein: 2

 

 

Horseradish Almond Crusted Chicken

Chicken

This recipe was inspired by a mustard crusted chicken my Mom used to make when I was growing up. I think it had breadcrumbs and a bunch of other seasonings including ground mustard. I really wanted to replicate an even healthier, gluten-free version. This recipe is very simple and easy so even if you are new to cooking you will be able to handle it. It tasted good cold on a salad too! Enjoy!

 

Horseradish Almond Crusted Chicken
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2lb Organic Chicken Breast Tenderloins
  • ½ cup Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
  • 4-5 Tbsp Horseradish (I like plain old Stop and Shop Brand)
  • 1.5 Tbsp Organic Butter/Coconut Oil
  • .5 Tbsp Garlic Powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt the organic butter or coconut oil (on stove top or microwave).
  2. Place your chicken in a large, glass baking dish and cover with butter/coconut oil.
  3. Now sprinkle the ½ cup of almond flour and garlic powder over each piece of chicken. Spread horseradish over each piece as well.
  4. I sprinkled everything on top then mixed it all together when I put the horseradish on top so everything is combined. You can do this with your fingers to make it easier.
  5. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until center is no longer pink.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4oz Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 2g Protein: 28g