One of my favorite quick dinners comes from a can. It’s tomato soup and you would have no idea this comes from a can. This is the Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Bisque. It is very similar to the Amy’s brand soup with the same name. It is so rich and creamy and just delicious. You would think the flavor makes it high in calories and fat, but that is not the case. The whole can is around 300 calories. In order to make this meal a little more filling, I always add frozen mixed vegetables into the bowl of soup and heat it all together. Then I pop it in the microwave for about 4 minutes total and top it with pepper. This meal goes great with a slice of toast.
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So since I’m back to blogging, I thought it would be good to have a theme over the next several weeks. One thing I think can get hard is cooking easy and healthy gluten free dinners. I’ve decided that a couple times a week, I will post a meal that I’ve created for my husband and I. All of these dinners will be easy to cook and will please both the gluten free diner and the family equally.
For starters, tonight I made something very different, but it is a seasonal food and as fancy as it is, it took very little time. Tonight’s dinner included pan fried soft shell crabs, roasted broccoli, and creamy herb risotto. Here’s my plate.
In order to make this dinner, I bought 4 already cleaned soft shell crabs. I lined a plate with paper towels. Then rinsed the crabs in water and laid them out on top of the paper towels. I created a breading mixture out of Gillian’s Gluten Free Breadcrumbs and sprinkles of the following seasonings: garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, dried onion flakes, cayanne pepper, pepper and salt. I was afraid the seasoning wouldn’t be enough, but it definitely flavored the bread crumbs well. I then poured skim milk into a bowl. I dipped the crabs one by one in the milk and then the breadcrumb mixture. I heated a pan on medium heat with a little bit of olive oil, and once warm each crab went into the pot. Cook the crabs on each side for about 4 minutes or until crispy. Here’s a closeup of the finished crab. They were really tasty. For the broccoli, I roasted the broccoli at 450 for about 20 minutes on a foil lined baking pan. Make sure the pan is sprayed with cooking spray. It’s also good if a little water from washing the broccoli gets onto the pan. Sprinkle the broccoli with salt, pepper, and garlic. This really is the best way to make broccoli, and there is really easy cleanup. For the rice, we used this box of Lundberg Risotto, and just followed the directions. This definitely was an easy gourmet type dinner.
First, I have to apologize for the lack of posting over the last month or so. Things have been really hectic in my life from work to my personal life. I have been so busy lately that most of the time that I am home is used for sleeping and therefore, I haven’t had much time for blogging. I don’t want to stop blogging all together, but I may not blog as much as I was for the next month or so. Please just stay with me as I push through this business. Soon I’ll be back to more of a regular blog schedule.
The last time I wrote, I had just come back from a cruise to celebrate my first wedding anniversary. The thing that I never wrote about was the whole cruise experience while maintaining a gluten free lifestyle. This was definitely a great cruise and I was able to enjoy the food almost as much as my gluten eating husband. We sailed on the Emerald Princess to St. Martin, St. Thomas, Grand Turk, and Princess Cays. Here is a picture of the beautiful boat.
We had a great time on the cruise, and we really enjoyed ourselves in every way from relaxing to eating to doing fun excursions.
Now to concentrate on the food part of the trip. First of all, our travel agent notified the cruise that I would have to eat gluten free food. I also called the cruise line prior to our trip to make sure this was noted on my reservation. I had done a lot of research online as well to see what others had to say about eating gluten free on a cruise. I was definitely prepared and brought many lara bars and some gluten free crackers. I ate these items only a handful of times on the trip and really did not need to eat most of what I brought. The maitre d in our dining room was great. The first night at dinner, I told our waiter I had a gluten allergy and the maitre d came over and showed me a list of all the gluten free foods that had on the ship and told me he would make sure my food came out correctly. He also came over during dessert every night with the next night’s menu so I could order food for the next day. The first night’s dinner was the hardest of the trip, but overall it was fine. I was able to enjoy almost anything I wanted from the menu and they would cook it for me. Here’s a few pictures from dinner in the dining room.
Yummy pineapple creme brulee…it was delicious!
This was an appetizer I ordered that was chicken and eggplant empanadas. In order to make this app gluten free they gave me gluten free bread with the insides of an empanada…very good and happy they could make me what I requested.
This is lobster night…very good and yummy. I had no sauce on my lobster and prawns.
We also dined at the two specialty restaurants aboard the Emerald Princess called Sabatinis and Crown Grill. The meal at Sabatinis was the best meal of our entire cruise in my opinion. When making reservations at both of these restaurants we told them I had to eat gluten free and they said it would not be a problem. At Sabatinis we were really taken care of. The menu is sort of a tasting menu, but with extremely large portions. You first get cold appetizers. I was able to have almost all of the cold apps and it was a lot of food. For the hot appetizers, I could only have a couple and they made me special zucchini that wasn’t fried.
The waiter asked what I was thinking for my main course and he would tell me how it could be prepared for me. I couldn’t decide between langostines and prawns…the waiter decided to bring me both…and they were both amazing, but I think the prawns were a little better.
We also ate at Crown Grill. This is the specialty steak restaurant located on the ship. Now, I am not the biggest steak lover, but the steak was pretty good. I could not have their specialty sauce, but it was great without it. For my appetizer, I had grilled shrimp on top of a fruit salad. Then I had a beet salad. For my entree I had the filet. This was a huge filet, but the husband’s steak was beyond huge. I have to show you a picture.
This steak was not just a steak, but a 22 oz porterhouse. Mike is a big guy, but even he struggled to finish it. You can see the sauce served with his steak. We also got several sides that I did not get a picture of. My dessert was just chocolate ice cream. Mike enjoyed cheesecake. Obviously I didn’t have a bite of it though, but the presentation was nice. Again we enjoyed ourselves. This was Mike’s favorite meal of the trip.
Both of these restaurants charge an additional $20 (Sabatinis) or $25 (Crown Grill) per person, but were completely worth it. If we had gone out and eaten either of those meals at home it would have easily been $200 at least.
Now for the other eating around the ship. We ate breakfast in the dining room half the trip and the buffet half the trip. I ate a lot of eggs on the cruise. Eating in the dining room is much nicer and easier to eat gluten free, but they are only open until 9AM. I found things like fruit and eggs to eat in the buffet also though. And they made sure to have gluten free bread in the buffet every morning. I just had to ask a chef for it. They also did not heat it in the regular toaster oven that all the other bread is toasted in. I didn’t exactly eat lunch everyday. One day I got a hamburger from the grill. Other times I just got salad from the buffet. The buffet was disappointing, but the grill really was great. I made a hamburger salad type of thing as my meal when I ate there. They also have an ice cream bar, but I was disappointed that until the last day I didn’t know they actually had cups. All of the ice cream was served on cones. The first day I asked if they had cups, and they told me they didn’t so I said I couldn’t eat the cone and said thank you and walked away. Then the last day I saw a man eating ice cream from a cup, so I went back up to the ice cream bar and asked for a cup and she said they didn’t have any. So I asked how the other person had a cup. They told me you could only have a cup if you were allergic to the cone. I said I couldn’t eat the cone…they should have told me there were cups for people like me. So thankfully on the last day I did have ice cream. It’s probably good that I didn’t have it earlier because I would have eaten too much of it for sure.
Also, just to note I ate gluten free bread at breakfast and dinner almost everyday. I could tell it was a corn based bread and I definitely liked it. I asked what brand it was and then they told me they make the bread on the ship. I couldn’t believe it. I think that’s really great that they do that.
From food to fun we had a great time cruising and would definitely do it again. Being gluten free was not a problem at all and everyone at our table was jealous of the service we got due to my eating. If you want a nice vacation and want to be able to eat without a problem, definitely think about a cruise. You won’t regret the decision.
Hopefully I’ll be back before Thanksgiving. I have lots of desserts to bake. If not, Happy Thanksgiving!
I’ll be back to blogging soon! Sorry I’ve been MIA for so long, but I’ll definitely be back within the week with great new posts.
Sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days. We are getting ready to go on vacation, and of course I am the busiest I’ve been in weeks just trying to get ready. This is the longest I’ve gone without posting since this blog began. So for your viewing and reading pleasure, here are some of the things I’ve been eating and doing over the last few days.
Friday Night Dinner
I love when I think I have good ideas for dinner during the day. One thing I am not exactly good at is meal planning. I have ideas of what foods I am going to cook every night, but I don’t always know how I’m going to prepare a food especially as the week goes on. Thursday night meals always seem to suffer, but tonights was different. Here’s what we had…
Picture #1 = Tilapia
- 1lb tilapia
- italian seasoning
- mixture of olives
- sundried tomatoes
- crushed red pepper flakes
- garlic powder
- parmesan cheese
This was extremely easy. First, I sprinkled the garlic, italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes on the fish and put it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes at 400. Then I took the fish out and flipped it to the other side sprinkling it again with garlic and italian seasoning. I then sporadically placed a mixture of olives and the sundried tomatoes around the fish, and sprinkled the fish with the parmesan cheese. I then cooked it until it was done. My less than happy to eat fish husband enjoyed it, so it wins in this house.
Picture #2 = Mashed Winter Squash Casserole
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 acorn squash
- half a can of pumpkin
- pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tbsp. margarine
I first cooked the butternut and acorn squashes until soft. I then cut them in half and scooped out the insides, and put them into a bowl. I also added the canned pumpkin. I then put in all the seasonings and mixed. I then sprayed an 8×8 pyrex pan with cooking spray and put the squash mixture inside. I then sprinkled more pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg on top and put it back in the oven to get crispy on top at 400 for about 15 minutes or so.
Picture #3 = String beans
- Bag of string beans from the grocery store
I simply microwaved the string beans in the bag for 4 minutes. Then I took the string beans out of the bag and sprinkled the pepper, salt, and margarine on top, and then mixed it together.
Such a yummy dinner!