Sunday, April 26, 2015

Guest Post Monday! Recipes for gluten and dairy free delights!

For those of you who do not know me, my name is DeeDee Vonnahme and I have been doing crossfit here in Murray for about a year and a half.  During that time some of you have gotten to know me and found out that I cook a lot for my family.  Here is some background information on why I am so passionate about cooking for my family.  I am married to Rich Vonnahme and the two of us have two little girls.  Ashley will be 9 the end of this month and Allie is 7 and will be 8 the end of June.  When the girls were about 2 and 3 years old I suffered from extreme fatigue, vertigo, a goiter on my thyroid and migraines.  With the help of some adrenal gland vitamins, vestibular therapy and some prescription migraine medicine I felt some better, but still not great.  A few years later my symptoms got worse and I felt absolutely terrible even though on the outside I looked fine.  I would literally pass out due to the pain of my migraines, my ears rang very loud constantly, I was afraid to drive my children around due to sudden severe vertigo attacks and I was afraid to leave my house most days.  I was desperate, in pain and emotionally a wreck because I could not be the independent self-sufficient wife or mother I was used to being and desired to be for my family.  My wonderful husband insisted I go to the Mayo clinic to get help.  The Mayo clinic, Karen Bailey at Cagle and Bailey Adult Health and Daniel Jones at Strawberry Hills & Walters Pharmacy helped me tremendously with my health in regards to prescription drugs and vestibular therapy.  I felt better than I had in years, but I still felt like I was on the edge of a migraine some days.  When Ashley was 6 years old we had her tested for allergies and found out she is allergic to wheat and milk.  I wasn’t surprised by the findings due to her symptoms, but I was very overwhelmed.  I remember walking down the aisles at the grocery and holding back the tears.  What was I going to feed my picky 6 year old that she isn’t allergic to and that she will eat?  Ashley wasn’t doing well emotionally with her new diet restrictions either and she felt so different and left out compared to the rest of the family.  I just remember her big blue eyes looking at me so upset and I promised her right then and there that she would not be alone in her diet and if she couldn’t eat it then I wouldn’t eat it either.  There is power in numbers and this promise made her feel somewhat better.  This was the best decision I have made in regards to my own health.  After eating a gluten and dairy free diet for a few weeks I had honestly never felt better!  Ashley and I still have our days where we have a little bit of gluten and dairy now and we are not as symptomatic due to only a small dose a few times a week, but overall we have a very healthy eating lifestyle.  I never imagined on the day that Ashley got diagnosis with a wheat and dairy allergy that her diagnosis would have such a huge impact in regards to mine and my family’s health.  I only wish I would have made this lifestyle change years ago.  It still amazes me what I will do for my children, but not for myself. Motherhood has only made me a better person and I am so blessed and thankful for my job as a stay at home mother.  I know how overwhelming it can be when trying to cook healthy and delicious meals for you and your family.  It has been almost 3 years since we went gluten and dairy free so I have had some time to find some delicious and healthy recipes which I am happy to share with all of you.   The recipes below are some of my favorites that I make often that everyone enjoys.

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 yellow onion diced
3 peppers diced (red, yellow, orange or green. Whatever you prefer just use 3 different colors. for a mix of flavor.)
1 cup of organic tomato sauce (I make my own and the recipe is below or I used the Muir Glen Organic Roasted Garlic Sauce)
28 oz can of Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes or just dice up your own tomato
Large lettuce leaves to use as a wrap.  I like the large romaine leaves.  My kids don’t like eating the mixture with leaves so I let them have a handful of corn tortilla chips and they eat the mixture like a dip.
Dice up all your vegetables and put them together in one big bowl.  Brown the meat in a skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks.  Have your spices handy and after the meat browns add in all your spices and mix thoroughly while continuing to cook for about 1-2 minutes.  This really allows the flavor of the spices to soak into the meat.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Wrap in lettuce for a healthy tasty meal!  I can’t say enough good things about this recipe.  It is not very time consuming and the flavor is amazing.

Homemade Tomato Sauce
(This recipe is time consuming so make in bulk and freeze the extra in portion size freezer bags for up to six months.)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 stalk celery diced
1 carrot diced
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2 32 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick.  Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning.  If sauce tastes acidic you can add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter to taste, but I personally never put butter in this recipe.  Add half the tomato sauce into a food processor and process until smooth.  Continue with remaining sauce.  Allow to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cups into freezer bags and freeze for up to six months.
This is a really healthy tomato sauce recipe and if you make it in bulk then you will have some on demand, but seriously don’t put so much pressure on yourself and think every time a recipe calls for tomato sauce it has to be homemade.  There is nothing wrong with semi-homemade. 

Absolutely Fabulous Greek Dressing
This is my favorite salad dressing!  It is so full of flavor! There is no comparison to the store bought brands that have a ton of chemicals and in particular xantham gum which I am allergic to and almost every dressing in the grocery contains.
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¾ tsp oregano
¾ tsp basil
½ tsp ground pepper
½ tsp salt
½ onion powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
I triple the recipe and put all of the ingredients in my Nija food processor and process for about 1 minute.  I just store the dressing in a jar and leave it out on the counter for no longer than 2 weeks.  You will use it up within 2 weeks because it is so yummy.

Dijon Maple Rosemary Chicken
A package of chicken breast (4-6 breasts)
1 container of dijon mustard
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
Fresh rosemary
I use a filet knife and slice the chicken breasts in half long ways.  Place some aluminum foil in a casserole dish and place the chicken breast on the foil.  Whisk together the dijon mustard, maple syrup and rice vinegar.  Pour the marinade over the chicken and cover the casserole dish with some aluminum foil and let the chicken marinate for at least a few hours.  You can marinate the chicken overnight too so the flavor really soaks in.  Bake uncovered on 450 degrees for 40 minutes.  Remove the chicken and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top of the chicken.  The rosemary is the perfect combination for the chicken marinade, but my kids don’t agree so I leave the rosemary off their chicken. 

Gluten Free Spaghetti
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Jar of Muir Glen Organic Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce
1 lb Italian Sausage Balls (You can buy the Italian sausage balls premade at the meat counter in the grocery or you can roll up your own balls with your favorite sausage).
Slice the spaghetti squash and remove the seeds.  Place the spaghetti squash in the crockpot with the sauce and sausage and cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.  When ready you can shred the meat of the squash with a fork and it will look just like spaghetti.  Discard outer shell of the squash and serve with the sauce and sausage. 
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls (Don’t knock it until you try a bite)
2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 large onion diced
1 small head of cabbage diced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
8 oz of tomato sauce
½ cup of water
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Brown the ground beef with the onion in a large skillet.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer about 30 minutes.  Add more water if you need more liquid.  I use my Nija to chop all of the vegetables because my kids don’t like to eat large pieces of vegetables.  My kids eat unstuffed cabbage rolls with tortilla chips or with a spoon like chili. 

Crockpot Queso Chiken Chili
(This recipe is not paleo friendly, but this is still a must have recipe especially if you are making dinner for friends.)
1 lb boneless chicken breast
3 cups of salsa
1 ½ cups of water
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
3 bell peppers
1 14 oz can corn, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz light cream cheese
6 oz pepper jack cheese

Place the chicken breasts, 1 ½ cups salsa, water, cumin, chili powder and salt in the crockpot.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours.  When the chicken is done, shred the meat. Place the bell peppers in a large nonstick skillet over high heat without oil.  Cook for 4-5 minutes without stirring.  This creates the browned, roasted look on the outside of the peppers.  Stir once and repeat until the peppers are nice and browned.  Set aside.  Repeat this process with the corn and jalapeno together. After the chicken has been shredded, add the roasted peppers, roasted corn and jalapeno, black beans, remaining salsa, and cream cheese to the crockpot.  Stir and replace cover, allowing the cream cheese to melt.  Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding another ½ cup of water if needed.  Let the soup simmer for another 15-30 minutes until everything is smooth and melted.  Just before serving, stir in the pepper jack cheese.

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