I love meatballs — there’s something, well, fun about round food. And meatballs are easy to make, even when you’re gluten free. I made these meatballs — with tasty ground chicken and a lot of ginger! — for a party at a friend’s house. There were actually three kinds of meatballs (I was feeling overachieve-y that day), but these were the hands-down favorite.
Since then, I’ve made them whenever the mood strikes (and whenever ground chicken is on sale). They’re delicious with chicken wraps or on top of rice noodles. I mix up a quick chile sauce with a bit of lime juice, chile paste, and fish sauce to pour over the noodles or as a dipping sauce. Of course, my gluten-free ponzu would work just as well!
I do love my greens, and I love this dish. It can be spicy, warm, tangy, or even creamy. Use lots of greens to make this a full mean for Meatless Monday, or reduce the amounts for a side dish.
While I’ve noted that you can use any type of greens you wish, I find I get the most satisfaction from spinach and chard. They are “wetter”, meaning you don’t need to add a lot of extra liquid while cooking down the greens. Kale and collard greens will need more liquid to braise until suitably tender.
Note: once you’ve made this dish once, you will crave it all the time!
I’ll admit it: I envy people who have time to make full meals during the week. Every day, my inbox is filled with recipes and meal plans and great ideas to feed my family. As I look at complicated ingredient lists and photos of artful garnishes, I wonder if I’m doing something wrong.
Because, during the week, I don’t have the luxury of meals that take forever to prepare. My menus are filled with fast, efficient meals. Any artful garnishes that hit the plate are pure luck! Continue reading “Ready, Set, Eat!”
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is suddenly everywhere. This ancient South American grain is tasty and versatile. It cooks up just like rice*. I find that quinoa absorbs flavor really well, and I really love as a stuffing for squash and peppers.
Quinoa also makes a great vegetarian patty or cake, perfect as a base for Huevos Rancheros or an interesting side dish (maybe topped with a creamy mustard sauce?). Quinoa and black bean cakes are a great way to use leftover quinoa, with the added bonus of tasty black beans. Adjust the seasonings in this recipe to suit your palate and goals — there is no wrong way to make these!
* Seriously, just like rice — if you’re cooking on your stovetop, it’s 2 cups water or broth to 1 cup quinoa plus seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, or whatever you like), bring to boil, let simmer for 15 − 20 minutes; if you’re using your rice cooker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for basic white rice.
I love me some burgers, and — truly! — since going gluten free, I think of burgers as jumping-off points for really fun meals. When I think back to how I felt after eating a burger with a bun (and, especially at restaurants, trying to figure out how to consumer the massive meal I was served), I realize how I don’t miss the bread.
As you can see from the variations below, think of the basic burger as a canvas for tasty variations. Serve with gluten-free fries (Tater Tots are GF!) or mashed potatoes or a green salad. Or any salad you like. Burgers are quick and easy weeknight meals.
Condiments can range from the traditional ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard to pesto sauce or salsa. Add your favorite cheese, if cheese is your thing.
- Basic Cheeseburger: Burger. Cheese. Oh, and whatever else floats your boat. Include the condiment(s) of your choice. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce or baby lettuce mix.
- Bacon Cheeseburger: Top your Basic Cheeseburger with two slices of fried bacon and grilled onions. Promise yourself you’ll go to the gym in the morning. Make this even more decadent by drizzling gluten-free barbecue sauce over the whole thing.
- Avocado Burger: Yes, this is as simple as it sounds. Top the Basic Cheeseburger with sliced fresh avocado. Or guacamole, if you prefer. You can make a light avocado salad with cubed avocado, diced tomatoes, diced onion, and a bit of lemon juice. Add a little salt and pepper and you have an elegant topping for a burger! Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce. Skip the cheese if you want. Ain’t nobody judging your burger.
- Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Pesto Burger: Prepare your basic burger. Serve on a bed of freshly chopped or wilted spinach. Top with a tablespoon or so of pesto sauce. Finish with a dollop of goat’s cheese. For extra credit, if you have extra roasted garlic around the house (hey, you might!), spread a thin layer of garlic over the burger before adding the pesto. Note: carmelized onions also work very well with this combination. So do roasted red peppers. If you want to gussy up your spinach, lightly dress it with a vinaigrette.
- Huevos Rancheros Burger: Have I mentioned my love of Huevos Rancheros? No? Hmm, you need to read more of my recipes! Seriously, this traditional Mexican breakfast dish can be adapted to just about any meal you can imagine. In this incarnation, the burger takes the place of the tortilla, and the rest of the ingredients are layered on top of the meat. Start with a few spoonfuls of tomatillo salsa on your plate (I prefer the tanginess of tomatillo, but if you’re a tomato salsa person, go your own way). Add the burger, with or without melted cheese (a pepper jack is perfect here). Top with a fried egg and sliced avocado. Finally, drizzle more salsa over the top. Serve with fries, tortilla chips, or even refried beans (heck, if you have leftover refried beans, you can substitute them as the base for your Huevos Ranchero burger).
- Mediterranean Burger: Top your basic burger with a salsa of chopped tomatoes and cucumber. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the top. Serve over a green salad lightly dressed with a lemony vinaigrette dressing. Tomato-Cucumber Salsa: Chop the tomatoes and cucumbers (use a seedless English cucumber if available), season with salt and freshly ground pepper. If you like red onion, add some into the mix. For added flavor, mix in a teaspoon of chopped fresh mint and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves. Let the flavors marinate together at room temperature while you make the rest of the meal.
- Smash Burger: I like a smash burger when I’m grilling indoors. The concept is simple: instead of forming patties in advance, place balls of ground beef — about four ounces each — onto a hot grill. Let sizzle a minute and then smash down with your spatula to form a thin patty. Season with salt and pepper and cook until done. Only flip once during cooking. Add your favorite fast-melting cheese.