Oct 24, 2017

Butternut Squash Cauliflower Casserole with Chicken Sausage

This easy, gluten free, cheesy low-carb veggie casserole was inspired from Skinnytaste, Pumpkin Mac and Cheese recipe.  I have been drooling since she posted it.  However, since I am on a low carb diet I decided to get rid of the pasta and just use the veggies.  I also used butternut squash instead of pumpkin and added some chicken sausage and it was AMAZING! 

I didn't roast the vegetables, I washed them and placed them in the casserole pan and just poured the butternut squash sauce over it.  It's a very satisfying dish,  I felt full for hours! and only 20 grams of Carbs!

I poured the sauce over the cauliflower, topped it with cheese and baked it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then broiled it for 4 minutes.  

This would be a perfect dish for Thanksgiving. It actually smelled like Thanksgiving in my house!  It's a perfect combination of vegetables, cheese, squash and the chicken sausage is a bonus! or leave the sausage out and make it a vegetarian dish.  

Just look how creamy the sauce is!  I used full fat coconut milk because I am dabbling with the ketogenic diet and so this recipe came to 9 smart points but you can totally just replace the coconut milk with fat free milk or even just use more chicken broth in place of the milk, which would bring  this recipe to 7 points for a loaded cup.  The best part is that it's only 20 Carbs per servings.

This is a nice size casserole.  It makes 10 cups but you can easily make half of this.  I always make double because I have a growing young man in my house, who tears through my refrigerator at night and I love having left overs!

Sep 28, 2017

Lemon Arugula Pesto Sauce

I went upstate NY and bought two very large batches of arugula from a small farm.  I knew if I didn't make it right away they would go bad.  So I decided to make a pesto sauce.  This gluten free lemon pesto was very flavorful.  I changed the nuts and used almonds instead of the traditional pine nuts and I was pretty impressed with the results.

I never used to like the taste of arugula, I thought it was too bitter.  Now I love the peppery, nutty flavor that the arugula imparts.  Maybe I had a bad batch because if the leaves are allowed to mature too long the plant will become very bitter.  Also, there is a difference between mature arugula and baby arugula.  The baby arugula that you buy in the supermarket is definitely milder.

So this is what the mature arugula looks like.  As you can see the leaves are larger than the baby arugula.  The flavor is stronger so I blanched these to soften make it a little milder.  You can use this pesto sauce on almost anything!

Shrimp and Pasta/Zoodles with Lemon Arugula Pesto

I made this delicious low calorie gluten free meal when I made my Lemon Arugula Pesto sauce and wanted to share it when I posted the sauce but that would have made the post way too long and I needed to calculate the macros differently so I decided to share this separately.  This was such an easy quick dish!  I also have been dabbling with the 21 DFX containers so I calculated that too πŸ˜‰

Sep 27, 2017

Gluten Free Baked Pumpkin Spice Empanadas

These little gluten free Pumpkin Spice Empanadas are filled with fresh fig jam and a light cream cheese.  My new Thanksgiving desert!  If I closed my eyes I would swear I was having a hostess cake.  Remember those little fruit pies? You remember them, the ones that were filled with apples, cherries, lemon and other flavors. This is similar but better! all homemade ingredients, nothing artificial and completely gluten free and light in calories!

It all starts with this dough! We roll this out into 16 balls (1.5 oz each) We use a tortilla press to flatten into a thin disc and fill it with whatever you want. The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon spice was just heavenly πŸ™

I used light cream cheese and my Homemade Fig jam.  Make sure you don't spread the cheese too much or it will come out when you seal it with the fork.

This is what it looks like after my husband took a giant bite!  It was delicious warm but I liked it even better at room temperature, after it cooled.

 I loved making these sweet and savory, hand held pies! Empanadas are my favorite and I love when I make them perfect on the first try!!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Empanadas


  • 1 packet quick rise yeast
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp fine sugar
  • 1 cup (237g) cup4cup all purpose gf flour
  • 1 cup (104g) coconut flour
  • 1 envelope dry Saco buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp crisco, shortening
  • 1 cup low fat softened cream cheese (room temp)
  • 6 tbsp Fig Jam
  • .5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp fat free milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

prepare a tray with parchment paper

proof the yeast: in a small bowl add yeast, 2 tbsp warm water and 1 tsp fine sugar. let rise about 10 min

In a bowl,  sift all of your dry ingredient and mix well, In a separate bowl whisk all of the wet ingredients up until the crisco. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry as well as the yeast and begin incorporating with your hands, kneading into a ball and place in a plastic bowl covered with a damp cloth. let sit about an hour

In the meantime, whip cream cheese until it is spreadable

Divide your pumpkin dough into 16 small balls weighing 1.5oz each.  Place the balls into a tortilla press lined with plastic wrap and create a nice thin disc.

Add 1 tbsp of the cream cheese in the middle of the disc plus 1 tsp of fig jam and gently, using the saran wrap fold over. Using your fingers, press the edges down to seal, do this over the saran wrap.  Then use the fork and press around the edges, again, over the saran wrap.  Remove the Empanada and place on the prepared tray

Whisk the powdered sugar with the tbsp of fat free milk to create a glaze

Using a brush, brush each empanada with the glaze

Repeat 16X until you have 16 empanadas. Bake in the oven for 20 min.  Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

Yields: Servings: 16 Empanadas,  Serving size: 1 Empanada,  Smart points: 7,  Calories: 172.9,  Total Fat: 5.1g,  Saturated fat: 3.5g,  Cholesterol: 21.9mg,  Sodium: 244.5mg,  Carbs: 29.1,  Fiber: 4.3g,  Sugar: 12.5,  Protein: 4.4g


Sep 26, 2017

Homemade Fig Jam

I love figs! I especially love fig jam with cheese.  My friend Gina from Skinnytaste gave me some fresh figs so I decided to try my hand at some fig jam.  It came out delicious! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜Š  It reminds me of a guava paste and pairs beautifully with cheese, any kind of cheese.   Serve this as part of your next charcuterie dish with some Manchego cheese and some rice crackers and your guest will thank you!

I used a mix of a couple of different figs and it was perfect.  Tis the "new wood" season for figs from now through October so take advantage.

Homemade Fig Jam 

  • 1 lb 3 oz (530g)
  • 1.25 cups of water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, squeezed
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Clean the figs thoroughly with a small brush and cut them in quarters.  I take an extra step to ensure the figs are not infested.  I know that sounds nasty but the fibers in the figs look like maggots and so I like to make sure they are not 😁 Fill a small clear bowl with cold water and place a couple of the figs at a time in the cold water, facing down.  If nothing crawls out, you're good 😜 Trust me, you don't want to skip this step.

In a heavy bottom pan bring the water and the figs and cook for 35-40 min on low, medium heat. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 20 minutes.  Remove from heat ad puree with an immersion blender.

Pour into a jar and refrigerate

Yields: Serving size: 16 tbsp,  Serving size: 1 tbsp,  Smart points: 2,  Calories: 35.3,  Total fat: .1g, Saturated fat: 0,  Cholesterol: 0,  Sodium: 37.4mg,  Carbs: 9.2g,  Fiber: 1g,  Sugar: 7.8g,  Protein: .3g  

Aug 28, 2017

Gluten Free Falafels

We absolutely love falafels!  Whenever my daughter and I go out to eat Meditarranean food we aim to find gluten free falafels, however, this is not an easy task. Many restaurants use flour as a binder. I have been trying to make these delicious little balls of chick peas and spice for some time now.  This is probably my fifth time trying and finally I got it right!

The problem I had was getting the right texture so that they do not fall apart when you cook them.  I also wanted to make them light so my goal was to bake them.  However,  no matter how many times I tried they were just super dry.  I mean they were edible but that's not enough for me.


I like the WOW factor! If I can't eat them and then want to stick a piece in everyone's mouth around me for them to taste, then I won't post it.  After several attempts, I have decided that baking them just didn't do it for me.  So I decided to use some canola oil and pan fry them.  Using the oil increased the smart points but they are so worth it.  

Also,  I made these falafels from dried chick peas not canned.  They are so much better and so much tastier when they are made fresh.  I cooked the chick peas in the pressure cooker for 50 minutes.  As you can see from above, the end result was dough like.  The reason for this is simple.  If you are going to deep fry the falafels then you would not cook the chick peas all the way through, but if you are baking or pan frying them you have to cook it through or it will taste like you're eating sand.  This makes a lot of falafels, 42 balls to be exact.  So unless you're having a party, you may want to freeze half.  I gave my half to my daughter, since she lives on her own now.  She deep fried them and could not stop talking about them.

So I cooked them in the pressure cooker, drained the water, added all of the ingredients except for the egg and sesame seeds (I added after) and pulsed it the food processor in batches. When it was done, I added the egg and sesame seeds. I then split the dough in half, gave one half to my daughter and rolled the other half in my hands, into 21 little balls (a little over an ounce). I froze them for 10 minutes.  Lastly, split that into 2 batches and in a non stick pan I added one tbsp of canola oil and pan fried till brown.  So, I cooked each batch (aprox 10 balls) in one tbsp of oil.

So obviously, if you want to keep the calories down you would eat this in a salad right?  Hell to the NO!!  Not when I have a batch of Naan dough in my refrigerator and some fresh tzatziki sauce!  I would rather skip a meal and eat all of my calories here!

Actually,  the total points for this meal is 11 smart points. Which is very fair for dinner.  I calculated 5 points for three falafel balls, 4 points for the Naan, 1 point for 2 tbsp of tzatziki sauce and 1 point for 1/2 tsp of olive oil my salad.   This was filling and I wouldn't have had it any other way, on that day.  However,  that being said there are days where my focus is on point and the salad and the falafels, topped with tzatziki sauce would be perfect! just not on this day 😜😝

Aug 24, 2017

Tzatziki Sauce

I really don't think this sauce needs an introduction except to say that it is a lighter version of my favorite sauce.  Its the perfect addition to almost anything.  I top my falafels, my salmon and even my chicken with this.  It will elevate any dish,  Add a little hot sauce and yum, yum, yum is all I could say πŸ˜‹

Jul 15, 2017

Grilled Indian Inspired Spicy Cauliflower and Chickpeas

This gluten free, vegetarian dish is probably the best cauliflower I have ever made.  Did you know that besides chickpeas being high in protein and fiber there are also many other nutritional benefits? Chickpeas contains what's called resistant starch.  That's a starch that isn't fully broken down and absorbed.  This is a good thing for many reasons such as: stimulating blood flow in the colon, increasing nutrient circulation and helping to prevent us from absorbing toxic/carcinogenic compounds. But, also the rate of digestion changes absorption, increasing satiety, which means it keeps us full longer.  

I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture but I marinated the cauliflower in a yogurt sauce with Indian spices.  When I originally made this dish, I was thinking I could have this like a taco: a meatless taco of course. I was going to make my Naan bread but make the bread thinner and rounder so it would be taco like.  However,  as I was making it some unexpected company showed up and so this was served up with some grilled salmon kebobs instead.

I cooked the cauliflower and the chickpeas separately and made a side of mango slaw which would have been the topping on the taco. You don't have to make this cauliflower with the chickpeas, you can have the cauliflower by itself or as a side dish.  I forgot to take a picture of the grilled chickpeas after it was done cooking. You can make them as soft or as crispy as you like.

Jul 6, 2017

Banana Bread

The one thing that I can promise you is that I would NEVER post a recipe that is not as perfect as it can be.  This gluten free banana bread is absolutely perfect!  I dare anyone guess that this is gluten free. I drizzled it with chocolate because I love the combination of chocolate and banana but you really don't need it.  The picture has extra chocolate because I made a mess drizzling it and attempted to fix it by adding more. It is delicious without the chocolate, especially with a cup of coffee...yummmm

I tried this recipe at least 3 times and in my previous attempts the loafs were too dense. This is delicious and moist the way a banana bread should be. I made 3 mini loafs but you could totally make these into muffins.  This would make exactly 12 muffins since there is one cup of batter per loaf which would be 1/4 cup of batter per muffin. I like the mini loafs because you can freeze two of them until you are ready to eat them. 

So because my first two tries were unsuccessful, I will tell you what I did differently.  First, whisk the wet ingredients well but once you add the dry ingredients, do not over mix, don't even use a whisk, just use a rubber spatula to mix.  Also, I originally used the refrigerated buttermilk but maybe I used too much.  I went with the powdered buttermilk and it was perfect.  Lastly, do not over bake!  Cook for no more then 25 minutes.   

Jul 3, 2017

Puerto Rican Pinchos/ Beef Kebobs

In Puerto Ricao we call these Pinchos, which is Spanish for "spikes" and they are commonly sold off the side of the roads or in kioskos, which are like makeshift kiosks.   These are basically beef kebobs but using traditional Spanish seasonings. They are definitely better marinated overnight.

These Pinchos are usually served with a piece of bread on top.  I serve them hot off the grill with just a little hot sauce.  I always make larger amounts of meats because it's easier for food prepping.  Usually I will only cook what I need and freeze the rest.  The flavor only gets better and it's less work to do during the work week.  I don't like BBQ sauce, never did but Pinchos are usually topped with BBQ sauce and hot sauce.  I like to use the same marinade to make a sauce. Once you skewer the beef, set the marinade to the side.  In a small pan, heat the marinade, you can add a little beef stock or water to make sure you get it all off the pan, add 2 tbsp of raw honey, 2 tsp olive oil and a little hot sauce and simmer about 8 min. Brush the meat with this in the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.  


Most Latin people like their meat well done. I know for most of you this is unheard of but that's how most of us grew up eating meat.  I like it medium, with just a touch of pink but not bleeding.  So timing on these Pinchos will vary for all of us.  I cooked mine for a total of 7 min.  I cooked each side for 3 min and then used my marinade and turned it to the sides for an extra minute.  I also used metal skewers, but if you like yours medium rare you should probably use the wooden skewers (soak them in water for 30 min first) because the metal will heat the core more than you would want.  My pictures show 2 servings on each skewer.  There is about 8 oz on one skewer.        

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, Camarones Coctel

Looking for an amazing gluten free, 4th of July appetizer to impress your guest? Inspired by a small hole in the wall Mexican spot in Elmhurst Queens that doesn't even have a sign on the outside.  They make these amazing shrimp cocktails in 3 different sizes; small, medium and large.  They are loaded with shrimps, drowned in their homemade sauce (which they are very secretive about), olive oil, clam juice, white onions, cilantro, avocado and finally hot sauce! It was amazing!! and it was so loaded with shrimps that I didn't even need a side.  


The sauce is EVERYTHING in this dish.  Since the Mexican spot was not about to up their secret recipe I decided I was gonna give it a shot and make it myself.  I played with it the different ingredients that is used in any cocktail sauce until I got the flavor that I desired.  I think it's perfect! the only thing I might have done differently is use a little fresh horseradish and bought larger shrimps.

These little cups dress any table up and make you look like a superstar! The sauce is amazing! did I say that already?  Let me say it again, AMAZING!  It's like a cross between a shrimp cocktail and a gazpacho soup!  I have to say I have never been interested in making a gazpacho soup because cold soup has NEVER appealed to me until now.  I drank that sauce like I was drinking a Bloody Mary😜

I made this dish really quickly.  I wanted to bring it to a BBQ I was going to and didn't make the sauce the day before (which is probably the best way) but I made it work.  I grilled the shrimps on the grill because I just didn't feel like using the stove since it was so hot out, but you can just as easily boil the shrimps and make it more of a traditional cocktail.  I also, used fresh tomatoes and grilled those as well to give the sauce more depth.  Look at that cup! Fancy, smancy right??!! lol These could be made as large or small as you want. I made 8 cups with 6 shrimps,  the pictures have larger cups so I used more shrimp.  Also, I used about 1/2 cup sauce in each cup but the measurements I give you made 6.5 cups of sauce.  I plan on making the dish again on the 4th of July so I don't need to make more sauce.  Lastly,  I used Sir Kensington's ketchup because regular ketchup has high fructose corn syrup and I didn't want that in my recipe.

Jun 29, 2017

BBQ Honey Lime Boneless Chicken Thighs

There is nothing like grilled anything in the summer! These gluten free chicken thighs are so scrumptious it was hard to stop at two. You can eat them as they are or even shred them and make tacos, chicken salad or even enchiladas. I ate them with a side salad and asparagus.

They taste best marinated overnight but if you're in a rush, marinate for at least 1-3 hours to let the flavors bind. I added the pique, which means hot sauce, for an extra kick but you don't have to.

Jun 22, 2017

Summer Berry Cake

Sponge like gluten free cake with blueberries and raspberries....yummmy!!! This is a perfect desert for your 4th of July BBQ. I wanted to top them with coconut cream to complete the red, white and blue but I forgot to refrigerate the can, and you have to refrigerate the can to get a cool whip texture.  I thought about taking the pics the following day but I knew they wouldn't go the night without being eaten 😜

I made a smaller portion just in case the recipe didn't work, because as I said in previous posts, I am not a baker.  It is all trial and error but there was no error in these little babies! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‹ I was going to  make them as muffins but I wanted to try my new little springform pans.  I think the only thing I would've done differently was add more fruit.  This would make 6 muffins if you made them in muffin tins. It was a little less then 3/4 cup in these small springform pans. So a serving is 1/3 of these.

Jun 19, 2017

Enchilada Sauce

This is my favorite sauce because it's so versatile and naturally gluten free! You can use this to make anything: dips for the tortillas, Casseroles, Enchiladas or tacos.  This sauce is awesome alone or as a part of any dish.  Best of all you can double this and freeze some for future recipes.

Jun 17, 2017

Southwestern Quinoa Platter with Shrimp

If you are planning a Father's Day BBQ this is the dish to bring! Quinoa is a very versatile gluten free complete protein rich grain, complete meaning it has all nine essential amino acids with twice as much fiber as most grains. It is hailed as the super grain and interestingly enough I didn't even know what quinoa was up until about six years ago when my Bolivian friend introduced me to it and now I can't get enough of it.  Quinoa is not a staple for Puerto Ricans so it took us some time to even learn the proper pronunciation!  

When I first brought this dish to a family BBQ, there were a lot of questions  The first question was what the hell is this? and where the F&#%@ is the rice???? We take our rice very seriously! Luckily, I had arranged for my aunt to bring the rice so the natives calmed down. I watched to see who would be the first to eat it.  Everyone put a little taste on their plate but it was obvious they were really leery of this new character on the table.  But, by the end of the BBQ it was clear who the winner of this battle was........MY Quinoa Platter!! Unbelievable, but yes the quinoa platter was almost gone and the rice tray was still half full. Now I am tasked to bring this at almost every event! Success! and now we all love the super grain, even my not so healthy eaters!!  

I shouldn't be that surprised considering all the delicious ingredients that go into this dish.  Look at how pretty that looks!  But as I said, Puerto Ricans take their rice very seriously.  So this is a great way to convert your family to a healthy lifestyle, especially our diabetics.  This is a much healthier option then rice.


I don't always use shrimp for this dish.  It's expensive to buy enough shrimp to accommadate the amount of quinoa in this dish.  I usually make just the quinoa if it is a side dish.  However,  this is never my side dish, I add the shrimp when I want to make it a complete meal.  If you are taking this to a family BBQ just omit the shrimp since there will be many other sides to choose from.   

Jun 6, 2017

Grilled Ratatouille (Vegetables)

Ok so usually I make the meat the center of attention in all of my meals but this dish is clearly the star of the show.  I have been working hard to make my veggies so good that I won't miss the carbs and boy oh boy did this dish rise to the occasion.

Just look at all of the vibrant colors! It's funny but while I was grilling the veggies I smelled pizza.  It's interesting how certain aromas can trick your brain or bring you back to a distant memory.  It seems cruel but whatever I still didn't miss the carbs!  This is a great dish!  It looks like a lot but it actually made 6 full cups after it was grilled.

I grilled them in two batches on a copper infused grill mat called Yoshi sheet that is designed to go on the grill and it was awesome! I am excited to try cooking fish on it.