Dairy-free Thanksgiving mashed potatoes
As probably the biggest fan favorite and most notorious side, good mashed potatoes are an extremely important key to a successful Thanksgiving meal. They must be creamy but not too mushy, have texture but not too lumpy, and most of all, flavorful. While mashed potatoes may get a bad rep on the “healthy” scale, since most act as a canvas for unnecessary filling ingredients (hello, heavy cream, I’m looking at you), this recipe focuses on making the actual potatoes the star of the show. Plus, it is dairy free for all you non-lactose lovers out there and is garlic and onion free for anyone following low FODMAP.
Gluten free stuffing side for Thanksgiving
Without a doubt, my favorite dish on a Thanksgiving spread has always been the stuffing. The thing I love most about this side, besides the fact that it is basically just carbs moistened (yep, I said it) with flavor of other ingredients and chicken broth, is that every family makes theirs differently. No two houses make their stuffing the same; some (me) feel passionately that no stuffing is complete without sausage, some dice the bread so small it is a somewhat carb filled mush, and some throw some things in there that honestly boggle my mind. No matter the recipe, stuffing should be included on every single forkful of turkey eaten during the Thanksgiving meal. In our house, the stuffing has always included the same key ingredients: sausage, pecans, apples, and celery. Each bite includes the perfect mix of sweet and savory with also the somehow crunchy and also moist bread. While most stuffing dishes are an absolute no-go for anyone avoiding gluten, this version features my favorite gluten free bread, Canyon Bakehouse, making it an approved dish for all types of celiac relationships.
An extremely easy, healthy, comforting, and filling meat chili
When the temperature starts to drop, my kitchen immediately transforms into a vessel for comforting, warm, rib lining meals that you want to have encompass you in a big open armed bear hug. That is how I feel about chili. When I enjoy a good bowl of chili my mind goes to a winter day on a comfy couch by a fireplace wrapped in a cozy blanket watching a football game. If that doesn’t sound like an extremely glorious Sunday to you, then we have different ideas of relaxation and comfort. Not only does this chili provide the ability to suddenly transport you to a different place, much better than the desk you may be eating this at for lunch, but it is extremely easy to make. And I’m not just saying that; this meal is sincerely stupid easy. I would stretch to even say it is the easiest thing that has ever been, or ever will be, featured on my blog. If you have an instant pot or slow cooker meal you are in luck because this baby is a dump and cook meal that requires the simple effort of pushing a button. It is a serious crowd pleaser and one of my Sunday meal prep staples as I am able to put everything in the machine, push a button, and get on with cooking my other meals. Plus, in my honest opinion, chili is one of the few foods that actually tastes better the next day once all of the flavors have combined and the sauce has thickened.
Skillet dinner with charred broccoli, toasted cashews, hints of coconut oil and lemon, and the perfect seared salmon
Although it feels like I just got back, it has somehow already been a month since my trip to Iceland. The trip was filled with an insane amount of breathtaking views (waterfalls, geysirs, glaciers, hikes, hot springs, etc), plenty of glasses of Viking beer, and some (insanely expensive) great dinners. As a lover of all things seafood, I was incredibly excited for all of the fish filled menus I was sure to see, and this meal did not disappoint. I have dreamt of this last dinner in Iceland, from a restaurant called Messin, since we returned home. The second they placed a cast iron skillet on our table I knew I was going to fall in love with this dish. The charred broccoli mixed with the toasted cashews and the perfect salmon with that seared exterior and rare interior had my stomach craving this meal the moment I walked out the door of the restaurant. As soon as we arrived home, I knew what the next experiment was going to be in my kitchen: recreating this meal. I am happy to say that is just as good, and about an eighth of the price, when made at home. This is most definitely a new quick and easy weeknight dinner staple; plus, it only involves one dish for both cooking and eating out of.
A healthy, gluten-free, version of every kid’s favorite meal: chicken fingers.
Growing up chicken fingers are a staple in every child’s diet. Back in the 90s these things were served at every sleepover, birthday party, post game tailgate, or restaurant table. It is the only thing every single kid enjoyed eating and a food that parent’s could guarantee their child would finish. Now that I have grown older and more focused on what ingredients are going into my body, I cannot remember the last time I ordered chicken fingers. While chicken is still a staple in my diet, there is no need for the excess batter and fried oil that comes along with this order. It wasn’t until my Whole30 experience, where I actively was restricting all fried food, that I realized I kind of missed them. You always want what you can’t have, right? It wasn’t even necessarily the grease aspect, but mainly the crunchy and crisped factor that encases the chicken and the option to dip them in delicious sauces. With the evolution of my taste palette steering away from fried foods, as I got older I also fell in love with an ingredient that I grew up despising: mustard. As a kid, I used to hate when my mom would spread mustard on a Philly pretzel at a sports game and now I would do just about anything for that combination. I mean it, in my kitchen, mustard goes on everything. Not only is mustard a great dipping option for these healthified (making up words) chicken fingers, it is also a main ingredient in the batter to make sure every bite has that spicy and tangy taste.
Continue reading “Healthy Mustard Chicken Fingers”
Often times people’s number one excuse for not meal prepping is that they do not have time. Trust me, I understand, time is freaking precious and hard to come by. However, that is not an excuse to sideline the act of meal prepping. Plus, once you decide to tackle this somewhat daunting activity, it will save you an immense amount of time throughout the week. Time you didn’t even know existed! Got home from work late? No need to worry about what you are going to try to scavenge from your fridge and spend time cooking or scrolling through Seamless to try and find the healthiest but still not great delivery option, just pull this meal out of your fridge, heat it up, and BAM! Dinner is ready in 5 minutes. Not only does this meal save time throughout the week, but it is SO simple to make and provides you with a healthy and delicious option for lunch or dinner. Plus, with only using one sheet, this baby seriously minimizes the number of dishes you have to clean. Because what is worse than finishing meal prepping and realizing you have a mountain sized pile of dirty dishes in your sink. To really bring this meal to the next level, I used the new sprayable ghee oil that adds in the perfect amount of butter taste but, in unison with the theme of this meal, requires minimal effort. Just take the cap off and spray away. Really, it’s that easy. Stop reading and go cook already!!
If cooking in the kitchen is my one true love, dining out is definitely my side piece. The excitement of trying a new restaurant and sharing the experience with the ones I love, combined with the unique atmosphere and menu that every worthwhile restaurant provides, makes my stomach and heart do a happy dance. With every restaurant I dine at and enjoy, I immediately place it into a sub-category in my mind (or the ongoing 5 page note on my iPhone) and mark it for a future date. Fortunately for my friends, when I receive texts asking for restaurant recommendations for specific neighborhoods or occasions, I am always fully prepared and equipped with a quick response. With my love for sharing dining experiences of all kind and making sure all of my friends and reader’s never waste a meal at an un-enjoyable restaurant, I have created a new venture on my blog: Freckled Foodie & Friends Favorites, a neighborhood guide from foodies you can trust. These aren’t your typical yelp reviews or google searches, but instead recommendations from food bloggers all over the country; people who take their food very seriously and who, I hope, you trust. Each guide will focus on recommendations from the writer’s specific neighborhood, because, what’s better than insight from a local!
To kick things off, the first guide will be to the West Village and written by yours truly, myself. Not only is this area filled an massive amount of NYC’s top restaurants and bars, but also the place I have been fortunate enough to call home for the past 4+ years.
The West Village Guide
Poke. The trend that is slowly trying (and both sadly and happily failing) to turn NYC into the laid back coastal city of San Francisco. If you are from California, then I am jealous of you for many reasons. One being that you are fortunate enough to have already enjoyed this refreshing dish for the many years it finally took us New Yorkers to get our shit together and hop on board. I love all forms of seafood: grilled fish, sushi, sashimi, shellfish, raw bars (my form of heaven), and creatures that many scurry away from (I’m looking at you baby octopus with all 8 tentacles attached). That being said, I had never experimented in the kitchen with preparing and consuming raw fish. Is it because I live in Manhattan and don’t fully trust the seafood I purchase enough to eat it raw? Honestly, probably. So with the combination of my summer weekends spent at the beach near the ocean / much more trustworthy fish, and the inspiration of my good friend, it was time to test my kitchen skills and tackle poke bowls. After a weekend filled with hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, and one too many scoops of ice cream, Sunday night called for a light, yet also somehow filling, dinner to start the week off right. I set out that afternoon and headed to the fish market both bloated and determined to impress my parents. The result of this excursion was a DIY poke bowl station that took under 45 minutes to prepare but won the title of “one of my dad’s top 3 favorite meals this summer”. Boom. Mission complete.
By now, I don’t think I need to justify or explain my love affair with peanut butter. But in case you are a new Freckled Foodie fan and are unaware, I freaking love it. It is a staple in my kitchen (I have quite the collection) and I believe it serves a purpose in every single meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert. You name it, peanut butter belongs there. One thing I do not love about peanut butter (GASP) is all of the brands that are filled with unnecessary ingredients, specifically sugar. Peanut butter should have one ingredient. You guessed it: PEANUTS. This is one of the many reasons that Crazy Richards has quickly won my heart in the lineup of a thousand different nut butter brands. Continuing my effort to prove that peanut butter serves a purpose in all times of the day, I decided to incorporate this delicious jar into an even tastier sauce to accompany my go-to weeknight zoodle dinner.
Check out more information on Crazy Richards PB and my featured recipe here
Continue reading “Zoodles with Peanut Butter Sauce and Shredded Chicken”
Ever since starting Freckled Foodie and continuously photographing my meals, I’ve noticed one stand out consistent meal: zucchini noodles and salmon. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bowl of pasta. In no way am I going to tease you to believe that this will replace the hearty, comforting, nap induced bliss you feel after a bowl of hot pasta. However, what I can tell you, is that there are many of nights I actually prefer to have this meal instead (I know, blasphemy). I was always skeptical of “zoodles” for this exact reason. Refusing to accept them as a form of pasta, I changed my mindset to view them as simply another delicious option for a meal, which is exactly what they are. This meal’s pulling force that continues to suck me in on a weekly basis is the place it lands on the taste / effort scale. This meal is exceptionally easy to make, especially if you follow some of my prepping tips below, and requires minimal effort in the kitchen. It also is a refreshing, light, and delicious dinner or lunch option while seemingly impressive to dinner guests. Plus, these zoodles are simply aesthetically pleasing when they so perfectly resemble long ribbons.