Pizza Frittata

The Bachelor is one of my guiltiest pleasures. I literally cringe every time I admit to watching it, but I can’t help being sucked in. My mom and sister watch it, too, and for a long time we would have weekly phone conversations about what was happening in the show, dissecting every interaction and making predictions about what would happen. My parents recently moved to the desert also, though, so now we get to watch The Bachelor together, in real time!

Last Monday night, I had my parents over so we could watch the show, and I made this cauliflower crust pizza for us to eat as we watched. It turned out even better than I expected. I mean, I could actually pick up my pizza. It has been a long time since I’ve had pizza that was both good for me and pick-up-able. Chris is picky about his pizza, so I got him a flatbread instead for his crust, but he thought the cauliflower pizza was as good as his flatbread pizza. You better believe I’m going to make this again, and make extra to freeze for the next time we need a really quick meal.

After Monday’s meal, I had a bunch of leftover ingredients that were already cut up, but I was out of cauliflower. I experimented a little and came up with an insanely easy dinner that used up all my leftovers. More than a recipe to follow step-by-step, this is an idea you can use on those “OMG I am so exhausted and we have nothing in the fridge” days. You can easily adapt it to what you like and what you have on hand, or to keep scraps of this and that in the fridge from going to waste. This can be a quick one-dish meal, or it would be great alongside a green salad or veggies. It’s even fast enough that you could make it in the morning, and feel good about eating pizza for breakfast!

Here are my ingredients. You can see this is not an exact science, people. Literally just a bunch of random leftovers.P1000986

Saute the sausage and veggies.P1000987

Going into the oven, and coming out.

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And the finished melty, saucy product. Like a deep-dish pizza with egg instead of a crust.P1000990P1000993

Pizza Frittata Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons cashew milk, or other “milk” of choice
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
  • roughly 3 cups chopped veggies of choice (I used green bell pepper, purple onion, and cremini mushrooms)
  • 1/3 cup pre-cooked sausage*
  • 7 pepperoni slices*
  • 1/4 cup prepared pizza sauce*
  • handful of shredded cheese (I used a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and fontina)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Pizza Frittata Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron, or other oven-safe, skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add chopped veggies and sausage to hot oil and saute about 3-5 minutes, until veggies are soft
  • Meanwhile, beat together eggs, milk, and nutritional yeast. Season mixture with salt and pepper, just as if you were making scrambled eggs.
  • Transfer the hot, cooked veggies to the egg mixture and whisk together. Then add the other 1 tablespoon olive oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat.
  • Pour the egg and veggie mixture back into the prepared pan and top with slices of pepperoni. Transfer to the oven for 15 minutes, until the eggs are set.
  • Remove the frittata from the oven and spread the prepared pizza sauce evenly over the eggs. Top with shredded cheese. Return to oven until the cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes. Slice and serve!

*Check ingredients to make sure these are SCD compliant. You might have to shop around for brands that comply, but they are out there! I use Aidell’s chicken and apple sausage from Costco (it does list a rather vague “spices” on the ingredients, but I say it’s close enough). I can find nitrate-free, uncured pepperoni and pizza sauce that list only SCD-compliant ingredients at Sprout’s, and I feel comfortable using these, but of course if you feel otherwise you can omit, use homemade pizza sauce, or simply add fresh tomato with spices from your own pantry and olive oil to the top instead.

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Albondigas!

You know how on December 26th or so you start thinking that you never want to eat food or drink alcohol again, like ever?

I exercised a little more control than usual this year. It helped a lot that much of my family has adopted a paleo-ish style of eating. For example, for my sister’s college graduation dinner, which we also celebrated over the holidays, we had: lamb shanks braised in beef broth with fennel, carrots, and onions; julienned radishes cooked in butter; parsnip mash topped with the reduced braising juices and veggies; and kale with bacon, blackberry ginger balsamic vinegar, and pecans.

It was a delicious and special meal that still felt good to eat. But then we followed it with tiramisu and White Russians and, well, you get the idea.

On top of the holiday indulgences, I started getting infusions of a new treatment this week. I read that I should expect to feel very tired for a couple of days. I feel pretty good so far, but I already stocked the fridge with food for meals that Chris could prepare in case I couldn’t. First up was one of our all-time favorite meals, a super-flavorful, veggie-packed albondigas (meatball) soup.

This soup is very adaptable to different dietary restrictions. For example, if nightshades are a problem for you, simply omit the tomatoes. You can also substitute plain ground meat for the chorizo, if chorizo is too spicy or if you can’t find one with acceptable ingredients, or switch out the summer squash for a winter squash or sweet potatoes. We’ve made this soup dozens of times–usually without a recipe and with whatever we have on hand. But the recipe I’m sharing here is our fave.

Chris did the cooking, but I prepped for him. I got out all the pantry ingredients…

ingredients

And chopped up all the veggies. In the back left, I have the sliced squash. In the ugly orange bowl, I prepared all the veggies that will go into the meatballs. In the front left, you can see the mirepoix that will be cooked first. And in the last bowl, cilantro. You can do this ahead of time, too, to make dinner a breeze.

prepped

Here is the final product. Buen provecho!

yum

closeup

Albondigas Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground meat (I used white meat turkey, but any ground meat will do)
  • 1 pound bulk chorizo (beef or pork is fine; just read the list of ingredients to make sure it is legal)
  • 26-28 ounces strained tomatoes (I use the Pomi cartons because they are BPA-free)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and divided
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 summer squash, halved and sliced
  • 8 cups chicken or turkey broth (homemade is best, but this is a great substitute)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped and divided
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 limes
  • Coconut oil
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hot sauce, optional

Albondigas Method

  • Thinly slice 2 and 1/2 of the carrots and 2/3 of the onion. Set the rest of the carrot and onion aside for the meatballs.
  • Heat 1 spoonful coconut oil over medium-high heat in a heavy stockpot. Add carrots, celery, and onion and saute for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add broth and tomatoes to stockpot and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, make meatballs. Grate the leftover carrot and onion and combine in a bowl with half the finely chopped cilantro. Mix the vegetables with the ground meat and chorizo. Season lightly with salt and pepper (go very easy if you are using chorizo, since it is already seasoned). Roll into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter.
  • When the broth boils, carefully drop in the meatballs and gently stir so they don’t stick together.
  • Turn down the heat so it’s just barely boiling. Then let simmer for 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked.
  • Add sliced squash to the soup and cook about 8 more minutes, until the squash are soft. Taste and adjust seasoning of broth.
  • Serve in bowls topped with lime juice, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and hot sauce to taste.

Homemade Ginger Ale

You know how on airplanes, everyone around you orders ginger ale to drink? I know that people aren’t drinking that much ginger ale in their day-to-day life on the ground. But ginger ale is such a popular airplane drink because ginger is famous for settling upset tummies, and between the stress of getting to the airport on time, the greasy airport food, and the actual bumps in the air, flying can leave many people feeling a little off.

Ginger ale has always been one of my favorites–usually a treat reserved for traveling and the kid’s table at family holidays. As I mentioned previously, though, my husband recently got me a juicer and I decided to experiment with a homemade version. It’s really simple to make and it tastes like a spicier, more refreshing version of the real thing. Plus it’s full of real ginger–so much of it, that I can literally feel my tummy tingling (in a good way!) when I drink it sometimes. Try the recipe as is the first time, and then you can adjust to your taste. Use more ginger for more spice, more lime for a tarter drink, or more honey if you like it sweeter.

For reference, this is the piece of ginger I used.

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You’ll end up with a super-concentrated syrup that looks like this.

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And this is the final product. So refreshing!

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Homemade Ginger Ale Ingredients

  • 1 big piece of ginger. No need to be exact here; just choose the largest, freshest piece of ginger root you can find in your grocery store. That’s probably the right one for this project.
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • sparkling water

Homemade Ginger Ale Method

  • Wash and roughly chop the lime, ginger, and apple so it will fit in the feeder tube of your juicer
  • Juice the lime, ginger, and apple according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Pour the fresh juice into a small saucepan and add honey. Bring to a roiling boil and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour into a jar.
  • Stir syrup into sparkling water. Start with about 4 teaspoons of syrup per cup of sparkling water; add more until it is the right strength for your taste. Save the remaining syrup in the refrigerator and enjoy within a few days.

Apple Spice Probiotic Smoothie

I haven’t blogged in a while primarily because I recently got both of Danielle Walker’s fabulous cookbooks and I’ve been cooking everything in them. I’ve been eating lots of good food, but none of it has really been original. If you are paleo or SCD, I can’t recommend her cookbooks enough. Her recipes have never failed us!

However, all of our feasting came to an abrupt halt when my GI doctor put me on a round of hefty antibiotics because he was worried I was forming a new abscess. While he was encouraged by my progress over all, ramping up medication always feels like a bit of a failure on my part. It’s easy for me to start thinking, “did this happen because I let myself get too stressed,” or, “if I hadn’t eaten out that one time a couple weeks ago, would I be feeling better today?” I’ve been learning about meditation and mindfulness, because it is one of the things that people with chronic illness report as being most helpful to them, and I’ve been reading about just how self-destructive these kinds of thoughts are. It is better to react to setbacks with self-compassion and equanimity since we can never know for sure if there was anything we could have done to alter the outcome, and allowing negative and stressful thoughts to control us only further exacerbates both physical symptoms and mental suffering. So I’ve been working on that during this round of treatment.

Anyway, the antibiotics make me so nauseous I can’t even stand to look at most food–much less cook it and eat it. Plus, my GI doc stressed the importance of probiotics while I was on the antibiotics, so I started drinking most of my meals instead. I’ve been making all kinds of smoothies, often times with some hidden veggies or a raw pasteurized egg blended in so it makes a better meal replacement, but the following recipe is my absolute favorite–light and easy on the tummy, and it even helps those of us who are still dealing with summer weather get into the fall spirit. It tastes way better than a pumpkin spice latte when the AC is still running!

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Apple Spice Probiotic Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup SCD legal yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice
  • about 8 ice cubes
  • 1 cup frozen banana chunks
  • 1 tablespoon plain almond butter (optional; it makes the smoothie richer and adds some good fats and a little protein)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Apple Spice Probiotic Smoothie Ingredients

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend! If it’s too thin, add a few more chunks of banana or ice cubes. If it’s too thick, add apple juice until it blends easily. This makes one large meal-sized serving, or two generous snack-sized portions.

 

Dairy Free, Nut Free Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Ice Cream!

I might have mentioned like…once or twice…that I really love ice cream, but for multiple reasons I know that normal ice cream is absolutely one of the worst things I can eat. Still, a lifetime without ice cream is not an option. My parents came to visit for the 4th of July, and I asked them to bring their ice cream maker with them, because a) 4th of July = homemade ice cream to me, and b) I had been seeing some very tempting SCD-legal ice cream recipes floating about, but they all required an ice cream maker.

The weekend of the 4th, I made Danielle Walker’s vanilla bean ice cream from her cookbook, Against all Grain. It was simple and so fabulous. We couldn’t get over how much it tasted like the real thing. My parents left the ice cream maker in my temporary custody. If you love ice cream and suffer from IBD, you should just get an ice cream maker. I always thought that would be one of those gadgets that junked up your space and that you only pulled out once a year, but let’s be real, now that I can’t get my ice cream fix any other way, I’m sure it will get a regular workout. You can find them for around 50 dollars and they will provide you with a lifetime of frozen treats.

Chris and I have been overindulging for a few weeks because of a fun trip to Chicago and family visits and celebrations. Usually Friday nights are the one night a week where we go out to dinner or make something a little illegal at home. But I knew I had been doing too much of that for too long lately and I was starting to feel it, so we have been playing it extra safe this week with bone broths, plain banana smoothies, and other belly-friendly foods. For our weekend indulgence we decided to stay at home and keep it mostly legal with burgers on SCD-legal buns (thanks for the millionth time, Danielle Walker!), with baked sweet potato fries and homemade aioli. And for dessert…

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM WITH A PEANUT BUTTER SWIRL!!!!

I know it seems too good to be true. But seriously, try it. Technically this is not SCD-legal because of the cacao, but I’ve already expressed my feelings on that front elsewhere. It is so rich, not overly sweet, and I love the little salty swirl of “peanut” butter combined with the chocolate.

One time Chris ate a whole jar of peanut butter while his mom wasn’t home and then got sick (duh). He told me after eating this (and his burger and half of mine, and sweet potato fries, and a few beers…) that maybe the peanut butter was too much after all that other stuff. It was only then that I broke it to him that it wasn’t even peanut butter!

Make your custard. When I say it should coat the back of a spoon, this is what it should look like:p1000759

Cover it this way so your custard doesn’t form a gross skin.p1000760

Layer your frozen ice cream and nut butter.p1000763

Once you get the layers in there swirl it around. You don’t want to mix it so much that the nut butter just dissolves into the ice cream, but you also don’t want giant chunks of it in there either.p1000764

So I had had like two glasses of wine when I took this picture. Sorry guys. It clearly affected my (already poor) photography skills. This does not do justice to how delicious the ice cream looked in real life and tasted.p1000767

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream Ingredients:

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk (I buy these  in bulk because they are canned in BPA-free tin)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup + 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup pure cacao powder (I use this)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Rock salt
  • Ice

Method

  • Combine coconut milk, egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, and cacao powder in a cold saucepan
  • Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon. This takes about 15 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture boil.
  • Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract. Taste and adjust by adding a bit more honey or cacao to your liking.
  • Cover with plastic wrap so that it actually comes into contact with the top of the custard and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. You can do this the night before making your ice cream, if you’d like.
  • Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers’ directions.
  • In the meantime, combine sunflower seed butter, sea salt, and remaining honey in a small bowl. Microwave about 20 seconds to soften and combine thoroughly.
  • When the ice cream is frozen, scoop 1/3 out into a freezer-safe air-tight container. Place half the sunflower seed butter mixture on top in dots. Repeat the layers until all ice cream and all sunflower seed butter is used. Swirl with a knife.
  • Cover again with plastic wrap and lid and freeze for 2 hours to cure. Before serving, set out for about 20 minutes to let it soften a bit.

You’re welcome!

 

Lentejas, por favor!

I studied in Spain for a semester when I was a youngling, and while there I lived with a wonderful Spanish couple named Trini and Pepe. Trini would often come into the room I shared with my American roommate and ask us, “Que quereis comer??” There was only one thing Trini made that we didn’t want to eat–cold hard boiled eggs stuffed with tuna and dropped in marinara sauce–but otherwise we loved all her food, so this was always a hard question.

Trini, Pepe, their son, and all of my many Dutch and American hostsiblings, gathered around the table after another spectacular Spanish meal.scan0079

Trini made flawless paella with squid and gambas the size of your hand, on Tuesday afternoons, as if it was no big deal. She would serve huge platters of golden, whole fried anchovies with lemon as an appetizer. Pepe owned a bakery and would make us homemade flan, serving only the perfect ones that slid onto the plate without cracking, and cakes made with chocolate and butter and nuts and three kinds of alcohol.

Trini and Pepe’s talents were not limited to the kitchen.scan0073

In other words, it was a food paradise, but one of the most-requested dishes in the house was also one of the humblest: lentejas con chorizo. A bowl of lentil soup with a chunk of Pepe’s crusty white bread just always seemed to hit the spot.

So, when I found out that lentils (as long as they are properly soaked overnight) are SCD-legal, I immediately thought about Trini’s lentejas. This version is not super authentic, since I can never seem to find real Spanish chorizo and since I substitute carrots for potatoes and American bacon for a Spanish cured ham, but it’s satisfying, nutritious, easy to make, and reminiscent of Andalucia all the same.

This is all you will need, plus some spices (and the lentils of course!). p1000684

Saute your bacon with peppers and onions. Remove bacon when it’s done and set aside. p1000686

Add in other veggies and sausage and cook until all the veggies are soft.p1000688

Now add in the chicken stock and lentils, bring to a boil and reduce down to a simmer.p1000689

Cook until lentils are soft. Taste and adjust seasoning, and serve!p1000691

Sopa de Lentejas Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2-3 pieces bacon
  • 3 links smoked sausage, sliced (check ingredients to see if it is SCD legal; I used a smoked chicken apple sausage)
  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • The night before you want to make this, place lentils in a stockpot with enough water to generously cover them. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat off, cover, and leave to soak overnight. When you are ready to cook them, strain them, discard the soaking water, and rinse with fresh water.
  • Cook bacon in large stockpot until starting to brown. Add in olive oil, bell peppers, and onions and cook over medium heat until soft.
  • Remove bacon and set aside. Add in tomatoes, carrots, garlic, and sausage, and cook about 5 more minutes, until vegetables are mostly soft and tomatoes have started breaking down. Chop up bacon and add back into the pot.
  • Add in the soaked, drained, and rinsed lentils and enough chicken stock to cover them by 1-2 inches. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and let simmer about 45 minutes, until lentils are very soft and much of the liquid has reduced. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Meatloaf Stuffed Bell Peppers

Is it weird that this is my second meatloaf recipe to post already?

Meatloaf is just so comforting and homey and hard to screw up too badly. Plus I had found a gigantic bag of beautiful bell peppers in Costco, that once again I couldn’t pass up, and stuffing them with meat was an obvious way to use up a bunch of them. The filling is a pretty traditional meatloaf, which cooks a little faster in the bell pepper shells since it is smaller than a whole loaf. Plus you get a little boost of nutrition from the bell peppers and the generous addition of sweet and tangy tomato sauce.

The ingredient list is pretty long, but it’s mostly a lot of spices and, honestly, you probably have most of this stuff in your kitchen right now.

Prep your ingredients.p1000639

This is what the cleaned and halved bell peppers should look like.p1000640

Stuff your peppers.p1000643

On goes the tomato sauce.p1000645

We ate ours with a little spoonful of kefir cheese on top, but this is totally optional!p1000647p1000648

Bell Pepper Meatloaf Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 3-4 bell peppers, any color, halved and cleaned of pith and seeds
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (sharp is better, so parmesan or sharp cheddar would be good options)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • extra shredded cheese, kefir cheese, or creme fraiche (optional)

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cups tomato sauce or reduced tomato juice (use the tomato juice to be 100% SCD legal)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil and blanch bell peppers for five minutes. Place blanched peppers in a roasting pan, hollow side facing up.
  • Combine all other meatloaf ingredients in a bowl and mix until just blended. Divide the mixture between the bell pepper halves and stuff, pressing down just enough to hold the meatloaf mixture together.
  • Combine all tomato sauce ingredients in a bowl and pour over and between the stuffed bell peppers.
  • Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, until a thermometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of the little meatloaves.
  • If desired, top with more shredded cheese in the last ten minutes of baking; or, top with a spoonful of cultured creme fraiche or kefir cheese (as I did) after removing peppers from oven.

Chicken Enchiladas in Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I am originally from Texas, so I have enchilada sauce running through my veins. Enchiladas are one of my all-time favorite foods, and the food I use to judge every Mexican restaurant. It would seem like a diet that eliminates all grains, most dairy, and canned foods would pose a real challenge to an enchilada-lover such as myself, but really it means I have to get creative.

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, I present one variation of enchiladas that we have made and enjoyed, but there are so many possibilities. The tomatillo sauce featured here is sweet, tangy, and fresh, and I can imagine these being especially yummy paired with shrimp instead of chicken. I’d also like to work on perfecting a homemade red enchilada sauce soon. But, green enchiladas are and always have been my favorite, so I started here. These may not bear much resemblance to the cheese-sauce gooey, gravy-topped Tex-Mex enchiladas of my youth (thankfully) but I feel really good eating these enchiladas knowing they are filled with healthy vegetables and super lean protein. Like, I can eat these and not need a Mexican-food nap to recover afterwards. And Chris says he can’t even tell we’re not using “real” tortillas.

Making every part of an enchilada from scratch is a time-consuming process, so I recommend either making this on a weekend when you have plenty of time or making it in stages. If you use leftover chicken and make the tomatillo sauce and/or tortillas ahead of time it would be a snap to pull together on a weeknight. And, the good news is, it makes a lot so depending on the number of mouths you are feeding you can have leftovers for several meals (and they taste even better as leftovers!).

These veggies will be the basis of your enchilada sauce. Don’t be afraid of the tomatillos. They look hard but the husk just peels right off. Don’t worry if your tomatillos leave your hands sticky–it’s totally normal.P1000546

Roughly chop everything and throw them on a baking sheet. No need to be precise here.P1000547

Throw everything together in the food processor.P1000548

Yummmmy homemade enchilada sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Once it’s cooled a little, add yogurt if you want to. Don’t let anyone near this with tortilla chips…it will be all gone by the time you are ready to assemble the enchiladas!P1000549

Now start on your chickens if you aren’t using leftovers. Nothing fancy, just salt and some seasonings of your choice.P1000550

This is how my grain-free tortillas look. Against all Grain does a great job documenting the whole process, so I will spare you additional pictures. You can see they are not all the same size or shape, but they will work just fine for enchiladas. If your tortillas don’t look perfect, don’t sweat it!P1000551

Saute your remaining onion and garlic and add in your shredded chicken.P1000553

Set up an assembly line with tortillas, shredded cheese, chicken, sauce, and prepared casserole dish. If you have an extra set of willing hands around the house this is a good time to recruit them.P1000554

Fill each tortilla with a little chicken, a little sauce, and a little cheese.P1000555

Tuck your enchiladas into your casserole dish.P1000556

Smother with remaining sauce and cheese. Pop uncovered dish in the oven.P1000557

All done!P1000558

This meal deserves TWO pictures!P1000560

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Ingredients (Serves 6 generously)

  • 1.25 pounds tomatillos, husked and cut in half
  • 1 large onion, peeled and very roughly chopped
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper (or use 1-2 jalapenos instead if you like more heat)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, stalks trimmed off
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup plain strained yogurt (optional)

Against all Grain’s Grain-Free Tortilla Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • butter or other cooking oil

Enchilada Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast (about 1 1/2 large breasts; or, use leftover chicken for a quicker preparation)
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • sea salt
  • Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming spice blend (or substitute chipotle powder, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and any other pepper you like to be completely SCD legal)
  • 1/2 pound cheese, shredded (I used a lactose-free raw white cheddar, but a Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack blend would be nice)

Method

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place tomatillos, onion, bell pepper, and garlic on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined cookie sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.
  • Add all roasted veggies to a food processor, along with lime, cilantro, and spices, and blend until almost smooth or to desired consistency. Add yogurt once the mixture has cooled a bit, if you like your enchilada sauce a little creamier.

Chicken Breasts

  • Coat both sides of chicken breast(s) with spices and sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees.
  • Shred chicken (I use the dough blade attachment on my food processor to make quick work of this!).
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add a bit of butter or cooking oil to your fry pan and cook remaining garlic and onion until soft. Toss with shredded chicken.

Grain-Free Tortillas

  • Prepare your grain-free tortillas. Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 10 minutes, and beat again.
  • Heat up a small pat of butter or other cooking oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan (I use a Bialetti ceramic non-stick frying pan and it’s amazing!).
  • Add 1/4 cup of batter at a time. I find it works best to add a pat of butter to my pan and swirl it around. Then I hold the pan off the heat at an angle and add the batter at the top so that it runs down the pan–the thinner the better. If holes form you can always fill them in with a bit more batter. Set the pan down on the heat to finish cooking (about 1 minute, until the surface looks dull and bubbles form), then gently flip and let cook for another 30 seconds or so. This can take a little practice, but if some don’t turn out beautifully, don’t worry; after all, they are going to be smothered in cheese and enchilada sauce in a minute, so nobody will even know! Stack on a plate until ready to stuff.

Filling and Assembly

  • Assemble your enchiladas! Spoon a bit of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a glass casserole dish and spread thinly. Then, take each tortilla and add shredded chicken, a pinch of cheese, and a smear of enchilada sauce. You want the tortillas full but not so full that you can’t roll them all the way closed, so the exact amount of filling will depend on the size of your tortillas. Tuck the enchiladas into the casserole dish and repeat until all your tortillas are stuffed.
  • Spread remaining enchilada sauce on top of enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. I served mine with crookneck squash and grey Mexican squash sauteed quickly in butter. Serve with extra plain yogurt in place of sour cream, hot sauce, and slivers of avocado, if desired.

 

Leek and Bacon Breakfast Pie

This is another adaptation of one of Against All Grain’s absolutely amazing inventions. I’ve made this a few times and each time made a couple of tiny revisions, not because the original isn’t fabulous, but just to work better with the equipment and ingredients I usually have on hand. I think we’ve finally nailed it. This is a savory, rich treat that I would be proud to serve to at any brunch, or that we will happily gobble up as breakfast for dinner after a rough day. Feel free to play with this recipe–use sausage instead of bacon, add more veggies to the topping, or change up the herbs in the crust.

One thing to note is that this dish is rich in fat and calories. Usually this is not too much of a concern for IBD patients, who tend to be underweight anyway. While I am not underweight, personally, I have lost a lot of weight since being diagnosed with Crohn’s. Some of this might be the effect of the disease, but I also think that my body is better able to appropriately digest and utilize fats and proteins than complex carbohydrates. My husband and I both lost quite a bit of weight while on the Paleo diet, which is also a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet not so different from SCD. I think there is more and more evidence supporting the idea that complex carbs, too much sugar, and highly processed foods are behind weight problems, and that dietary fat (especially from good plant-based sources) is not what makes us fat. More on this later.

In the meantime, make this breakfast pie immediately. Chris kept talking about Heaven the whole time he was eating this, and I take that as a pretty good sign.

Mix up your filling first.P1000518

Then prepare your crust. Throw all crust ingredients into the food processor.P1000520

This is what it will look like when the dough is ready.

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Press it into a cake pan. Pop it into the oven.P1000522

Now get o work on your toppings. Saute bacon until about halfway cooked and then add shredded leeks. Your house will now smell like heaven. Try not to eat all the bacon and leeks now. You will need them for your pie!P1000523

Your crust should be ready for fillings now. Layer in the cheese and then the bacon and leeks. Pop it in the oven again until the cheese is all melty and delicious.P1000524P1000525

Crack eggs on top. Pop in the oven one last time.P1000526

Devour!P1000527

Leek and Bacon Breakfast Pie Ingredients (serves 4-5 as main dish; more as side)

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold goat or cow milk butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cold water or bone broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg

Filling Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain strained yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used a mixture of fontina and swiss because that’s what I had on hand), shredded
  • 1 leek, cleaned, trimmed of dark green leaves, and shredded
  • 7 slices bacon, diced (to be completely SCD legal, make sure it doesn’t have any sugar or other ingredients in it!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 6 eggs

Method

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add all crust ingredients to food processor with dough blade and process until a ball forms. Press into a 9-inch cake pan (the dough might not reach all the way up the sides, and this is ok).
  • Place the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Mix yogurt, shredded cheese, salt and pepper, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Brown bacon in a pan until halfway cooked; add leeks and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until bacon is cooked but not yet crispy and leeks are softened.
  • Remove crust from oven. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the cheese mixture first, then layer the bacon and leeks on top. Return the pie to the oven for 10 more minutes.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and crack eggs on top. Bake for 15 more minutes, or until the egg yolks are cooked to your liking, and let set for 5 minutes before serving. We like to eat this with a few slivers of fresh avocado. It would also be lovely with fruit and a simple green salad with vinaigrette or roasted tomatoes.

(ALMOST) SCD Legal Meatloaf

I recently saw a post about foods that people from outside the U.S. hate, and meatloaf was one of them. I was surprised—meatballs seem to be an almost universal food, and meatloaf is like a gigantic meatball! While it may offend the refined palates of my international friends, my husband and I happen to both love meatloaf. It’s inexpensive, easy to prepare (although it needs time to bake), and this version is full of healthy veggies. While some people with IBD find red meat hard to digest, it’s important to try to incorporate it occasionally because anemia, or iron deficiency, is also often a problem in this population, and red meat is one of the best natural sources of iron. Without further ado, here is a very basic but pleasing meatloaf recipe:

Here is all the stuff you’ll need for the meatloaf itself:

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Put it in a bowl and mix it all together. Get your hands in there!

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Now press it into your pan. Mmmmmmmm raw beef….

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Next, let’s get the topping ready. Nothing fancy here. Just plop it in a bowl and mix.

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And smear it on your loaf.  Mmmm, smeared raw beef…

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Ok, now put it in your preheated oven until your oven thermometer reads 160 (mine reads 180 in this picture…whoops…it was still juicy!)

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I served my meatloaf with a creamy carrot puree as a side (I’ll post that recipe soon, too!). Buen provecho!

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Meatloaf Ingredients (4-5 generous servings)

  • 1 pound ground beef (grassfed is always better)
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped (I used red because that’s what I had on hand, but green is more traditional)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning*
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Topping Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra concentrated tomato paste*
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix it all around, but be careful not to over mix because the heat from your hands will melt the fat in the meat and cause it to turn out denser.
  • Press the meat mixture into a loaf pan.
  • Mix together all the topping ingredients in a separate bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. Add a little more honey if you like your topping sweeter, or a bit more mustard or vinegar if it’s too sweet.
  • Spoon the topping mixture onto the meat and spread in an even layer.
  • Bake for about 1.5 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. You may want to start checking after about an hour, since the amount of time this takes to cook will vary based on the type of pan you are using, its dimensions, your oven calibration, and so on. I recommend placing the meatloaf on the top rack and a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven underneath your meatloaf to avoid a mess if your loaf pan is very full like mine is.
  • Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. You may notice that this meatloaf is swimming in a lot of juices and does not hold together quite as well as traditional meatloaf. This is normal; it occurs because there are no grains in the mixture to bind the ingredients and absorb moisture, but the flavor is still very pleasing. Just remove slices very gently using a spatula, and you can drain off excess liquid once the first slice or two are out. It is possible that using coconut flour instead of almond flour would yield a drier loaf because coconut flour is more absorbent; I may try this in the future and report back—if you try it, please let me know how it turns out!

*Please note: No canned vegetables are SCD legal. I used them anyway because that’s what I had on hand, and, as I’ve mentioned previously, my goal is to adhere as closely to the SCD as possible without it dominating my life. So, I used canned tomatoes. Here are my recommendations to make the recipe 100% SCD legal: Chop about 4 large tomatoes into large dice. Toss with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and about a teaspoon of Italian seasonings. Roast at 375 until very soft. Process the tomatoes in a food processor until they are just slightly broken down. Substitute this for the canned diced tomatoes. For the tomato paste, simmer plain tomato juice on the stove until it is very reduced and season to taste with salt, then add the honey, mustard, and vinegar; or, substitute SCD legal ketchup and cut back on the honey and vinegar.