Gluten Free Baked Chicken Tenders

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Chicken tenders are one of the most kid friendly foods out there, but you don’t always know how they are made. More often than not these a frozen from a large brand and likely fried and covered in salt. They are delicious like that, but it is definitely not the healthiest way to feed your family.

With the growing number of children with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, things like chicken tenders are not even an option for many families. This recipe is for a gluten free, baked chicken tenders. The holy grail of chicken tenders for picky kids or kids with allergies.

They key here is using chickpea bread crumbs and adding lots of herbs and spices to them.  More often than not kids are dipping these into ketchup, but rather than giving them salty, but otherwise bland chicken tenders, why not add in herbs and spices into them.  Maybe they will want less ketchup, which for your mom’s out there means less sugar!!!

What you need:

  • 1lb Chicken Tenders
  • 1-2 cups of chickpea bread crumbs (or traditional bread crumbs)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

Soak the chicken tenders in the egg wash for a few minutes.

Mix together the bread crumbs, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Dredge chicken tenders in the seasoned bread crumbs.

Place on a non-stick baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 15-20min until done.

You could also use fresh lemon juice, or other seasoning to add flavor. Your families will love these and you won’t feel so guilty about feeding them chicken tenders.

Veggie Packed Chicken Quesadillas

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I want to start first by apologizing for being so bad about posting over the summer.  We’ve had so much going on here, and with the launch of the salsa, it’s been pretty non-stop. August is on track to be the same pace, but I can’t complain about being busy can I?!

As I’ve said before, I have been so lucky with the women I’ve met in Greenwich, and can honestly say that almost every one of my friends is self employed and running their own company. It’s awesome to be around such incredible women, and just last week I had the chance to collaborate with one.  Jordan Rhodes is a really cool local blogger and travel expert.  She has an app called Glimpse Guides where she publishes city guides geared for luxury travel with kids. It’s such a unique app, and something I think a lot of people will find useful!

Jordan has 3 gorgeous children, and can attest to how picky they can be. Most kids are not really into eating their veggies, and some are so picky that they only eat a few things! So when Jordan asked me to come up with a few recipes for her followers to have that are easy, kid approved, and sneak in veggies – I jumped at the opportunity. Kids are always the toughest critics, so if I please them, I am doing something right!

All in, I made 4 recipes and will share them over the next few days/week. The first, and favorite were the veggie packed chicken quesadillas. Her 5 yr old daughter, who is a known picky eater, ate almost a whole quesadilla on her own on top of the other dishes I made.  This was a true home run!

What you need:

  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 jar tomatillo salsa (Pure Cocina)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups kale or spinach, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
  • 8 corn tortillas

Marinate your chicken tenders in about 1 cup of the tomatillo salsa for about 30min

In the meantime, put your cheese, kale, mushrooms, and chives into a food processor and pulse until well mixed

Over medium heat, cook chicken in a nonstick pan in the tomatillo salsa marinade for about 10 minutes

Remove chicken from the heat and and use two forks to shred it

Assemble your quesadillas with the chicken and cheese mixture

Melt the cheese in an oven or on the griddle

Serve with salsa, guacamole, or any other dip you’d like

Between the cheese and the really flavorful chicken, your kids will have no idea that what they are eating is healthy!  All they see is green looking cheese, and you can be happy they’re eating something that is good for them!

You can easily make the same recipe with shrimp or even roasted cauliflower if you really want to get your kids eating more veggies!

Give this one a try, and I promise, the kids will love it!

Buen Provecho!

 

 

Citrus Spring Salad with Grilled Scallops

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Yesterday, my girlfriend over at The Zhush posted a recipe of mine. Sue is a seriously talented interiors expert, and has an incredible eye for design. Her kitchen is pretty spot on to my dream kitchen, so I luckily get to live vicariously through her!

Anyway, a few weeks back she asked me to share a Spring recipe for her and her readers, so I worked to put together a salad that featured seasonal fresh ingredients.  We are nearing the end of Citrus season, but right now, grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons are so fresh and delicious. This is the perfect time to make this salad, and it could be a great addition to any Easter spread this weekend.

I made it with fresh grilled scallops, but you could easily substitute, canned tuna, chicken breast, or grilled shrimp instead.

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What you need: (feeds 4)

  • 20 Scallops
  • large package of mixed greens
  • 2 plum or heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large grapefruit, skinned and chopped
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat your grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
Chop and slice all of your veggies and fruit.
In a small bowl mix together your lime juice, garlic, and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Toss your veggies in a large bowl with the quinoa.
Season your scallops with salt and pepper.
Grill your scallops for about 1-2min per side.  These cook very quickly, so keep a watchful eye!
Toss your dressing with the salad and serve onto four plates.
Top salads with 5 scallops each and add on some fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Enjoy!

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

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This week has been a doozy! I had to scale my salsa recipes to get a step process from the Cornell Food Science Center, meaning I had to make at least a gallon of each formula! My friends and husband are in heaven at the moment because they are reaping the benefits of my over-production.

I have been cooking dinner all week, but because I have been so busy during the day, I haven’t been able to photograph the meals and share them with you. If you follow my instagram stories, I told you all a while back that to blog about food you have to cook in the middle of the day to get good lighting.  Sure you can artificially create lighting with special tools, but I don’t have these tools, and since I do all of my own photography, it is a lot cheaper to use natural light.

Anyway, thanks to days becoming longer as the spring and summer seasons approach, I did manage to snap a couple of photos of things I have made this week. On Tuesday evening, I met up with a fabulous group of girls who are all fellow entrepreneurs in the Fairfield County area.  Many of these inspiring women own their own brands or shops, and others have highly successful lifestyle and travel blogs.  I am humbled by their achievements, but equally so inspired by their success.

We meet once a month usually and this month our hostess asked me to bring an appetizer. I wanted to make something tasty, but filling without being heavy. Sort of a unicorn of appetizers you might think, but this flatbread really hit the nail on the head.

What you need:

  • Store-bought flatbread or pizza crusts
  • Large Mozzarella Ball
  • Figs, quartered
  • Prosciutto, separated and chopped roughly
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Glaze
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 425F.

The beauty of using a pre-made flatbread is that it is a major time saver.  Of course you can do your own dough if you have the time, but as I mentioned, its been a crazy week!

Tear apart your mozzarella ball and spread it around the crust or flatbread.

Bake your flatbread on a pizza stone or directly on the rack for about 10-13min until cheese is melted and flatbread is crispy.

Add on your prosciutto and figs and drizzle over the balsamic glaze and olive oil.

Season lightly with sea salt and pepper and enjoy!

Orzo Spinach Pasta

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We have had an eventful couple of weeks here at Casa Burke. I turned 30, which was great, we threw a huge party for said 30th, my parents flew up and then got stuck here – thanks winter storm Stella, and then I got lasik eye surgery! Luckily, last week and this week are Spring Break for most Greenwich schools, so I didn’t have too much client work to juggle with the family visit and then eye surgery.

I am pleased to say I now have 20/20 vision, which is such an awesome 30th birthday gift! It is life changing to not have to wear contacts or glasses anymore. I got glasses around the age of 8, and contacts around the age of 11 because I was that super cool kid who was lucky enough to get braces at the same time…. I will give you a moment to imagine how popular/cool I wasn’t…

Anyway, I have worked a couple of parties for clients lately and planned the food for my own party, but sadly I was neglecting the blog.  Tsk Tsk… I know! But today is a new day, and I can see clearly the road ahead! I have an exciting salsa project in the pipeline and a few other cool developments, so over all The Gourmet Cocina is cooking! (pun definitely intended… still imagining how cool I am not?)

Today’s recipe is part of a two part series.  I will post the pork tenderloin that we served with this pasta tomorrow.  The pasta is definitely a stand alone, and really yummy and healthy!

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What you need:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2-3 cups orzo pasta
  • 1 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (a high quality one)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot of salted water cook your orzo according to the packaging instructions.  Mine said for 10-12min.

Meanwhile, using about a tablespoon of olive oil, sauté your onion in a good, heat conducting pan on medium-low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add in your garlic and cook for about a minute until fragrant.

Pour in the sherry wine vinegar and reduce by half.

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Once your pasta is done and your vinegar has reduced, drain your pasta and mix together the reduction and the pasta in a large bowl.

Add in your fresh spinach, and the heat of the pasta and sauce will cause it to wilt slightly.

Add in the balance of the olive oil, the fresh lemon juice, and sea salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is so fresh and delicious, and would be a great accompaniment to a lot of different things.  Feel free to add parmesan or pecorino or even goats cheese if you want, but I kept this dairy free.

 

 

 

 

Polenta Squares with Mushroom Ragu

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As promised here is the second bite we did for the Fairfield County Mom’s Blog event.  Sorry for the delay, this week has been a doozy! It has been super busy week work wise, but also we found out that my poor puppy broke her toe, so she is in a cast and limited to very short and very few walks a day! This is a dog that runs for an hour a day and goes to camp two times a week… She isn’t yet misbehaving, but I am sure like a young child, unless I keep her occupied, she might start to rebel.

I have some exciting updates for the company that I will share soon, but over all things are really coming together with The Gourmet Cocina, and it’s really been a fun ride! This week has been all about learning and exciting new ventures, and I really can’t wait for what the future has in store.

But back to this little snack!  These polenta bites are gluten free, vegetarian, and actually pretty darn healthy! I used butter in them, but for the vegans out there, you could certainly use another substitute instead. I also had some extra mushroom ragu, and cooked that in with some fresh spinach for a really awesome side dish! It could be really good on chicken too!

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What you need:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp corn starch

Set the water, 1 tbsp of butter and 1/2 tsp of salt to a boil, and add in your polenta.

Stir frequently until thickened, about 5 min, and then remove from the heat.

Poor the polenta into a 9 x 9 baking pan so that it is about 1/3 inch thick and let cook for at least 15min.

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In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan, and cook your mushrooms and onions for about 8-10min until soft and the juices have mostly dried up.  Make sure to add in about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper during this process.

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Add the garlic next and cook for about 2 min.

Once the juices are mostly evaporated, decrease the temperature to medium-low and add in your white wine. Cook down for about 5min with a lid on and the liquid reduces by about half.

Stir in the rest of the butter and the corn starch until thickened and an even mixture. If you find you need a bit more corn starch for a thicker consistency, add it in small amounts at a time until you reach your desired thickness.

Season the ragu with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut your polenta into 1″ squares and top with the ragu.

Enjoy with a glass of the same wine you used to cook with 😉

Have a great weekend everyone, can’t wait to share some fun recipes next week!

 

 

Baked Cajun Crab Cakes

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For those of you that follow my social media accounts, you will have seen that we did an event last night at Lululemon Greenwich with Countdown Fitness and the Fairfield County Mom’s blog. Countdown did a 30min workout with about 10 women and I made them some yummy/healthy snacks for a post workout treat.

It was a really great event, and I think the women really enjoyed breaking a sweat! I also think the workout made them enjoy the snacks even more – guilt free! This recipe is a great one, and perfect for parties. You can also make larger sized crab cakes versus mini ones and make this a delicious family meal at home. These have basically no filler in them, they are all crab and all delicious!

I made a second treat for the ladies last night, but I will leave you in suspense until tomorrow on that one!

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What you need:

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1 lb lump crab or crab claw meat, picked over
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive-oil cooking spray

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.

In a small skillet quickly cook up your scallions over medium heat with about a tsp of olive oil for 2 min or so just to remove the raw flavor from them.

Remove them from the heat and let them cool.

In a large bowl mix together 1/2 cup of panko, egg, milk, worcestershire, dijon, lemon juice, old bay, scallions and hot sauce. Use a whisk to beat the egg mixture until well blended.

Drain your crab meat of any excess fluid and add the crab to this mixture.  Using a spoon or your hands mix together these ingredients.

Using your hands form the mixture into crab cakes.  These mini crab cakes were about 1.25 inches, but its up to you how large you do them.

Line them on a sheet pan and place them in the refrigerator to set for at least 30min.

Remove from the refrigerator and using the other 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs, lightly coat the outside of the crab cakes.

Make sure your sheet pan is oiled before placing them back on the pan. Then use the cooking spray to spray the top of the crab cakes.

Cook the crab cakes in the oven for 10-15min until browned.  You can flip them half way through to brown both sides.

These are full of flavor and so easy to make, and baking them instead of frying them is an awesome way to save on unnecessary calories!

Enjoy!

Kale/Apple/Beet Salad

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I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine’s Day yesterday! Whether you were your own Valentine or you spent the evening with a significant other, friends, or a pet, I hope you had a delicious dinner and felt some love! Many of you probably had chocolate, or other decadent treats for the occasion, and might be needing a little detox after the wine and champagne.

As I mentioned I cooked last night and kept it pretty simple.  We had a fabulous dinner out on Monday and James bought me flowers then, but last night I made him a perfectly cooked steak with some mashed potatoes and a salad. Steak is one of his favorite things to eat, so on more special occasions I splurge on meat from our butcher because it really is delicious!

We don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so we passed on dessert, but I know Valentine’s Day is basically the chocolate-iest day of the year! Most people will want to avoid sugar, cheese, and other unhealthy things after last night, so I have made this delicious salad as a yummy detox meal. It is so delicious, and you get a little natural sweetness from the apple and beet without any guilt!

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What you need:

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 red beet
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Chop up your kale thinly, and put in a large salad bowl.

Cut your apple and beet into matchsticks and put on top of your kale.

Mix together your dressing ingredients and dress your salad.

Season the salad with salt and pepper and dig in!

If you don’t love kale, try mixing the kale with some romaine so you still get the health benefits of kale, but not a full kale salad.

This salad is an awesome base for grilled chicken or quinoa if you want to turn it into a heartier meal. James would definitely need both of those to call this a meal!

Winter Salad with Farro and Acorn Squash

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One of the only redeeming qualities of winter is some of the yummy veggies you get in season.  Acorn Squash is so delicious, but it isn’t really available all year round. Butternut squash gets all the use in the winter as it seems to be a favorite for many people, but I think acorn squash is a little over looked.

It is a little more of a mild flavor than butternut squash, and a bit less sweet.  I like butternut squash, but my complaint about it is the sweetness. I have an amazing butternut squash risotto recipe that I will share with you before winter is over, but for now, with New Years resolutions in mind, I have instead made an acorn squash salad.

They say in winter to not eat too much cold food as it can upset your digestion, but getting a good balance is still ok. Plus as I have mentioned, I have a very tall, hungry husband, so I added warm farro to this salad and we ate the squash fresh out of the oven.

dsc_0487-copyWhat you need:

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale
  • 1 romaine heart
  • cherry tomatoes (cause I love tomatoes)
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • caesar dressing
  • 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked farro (optional)

Pre-Heat your oven to 375F.

Cut your acorn squash in half and dig out the seeds in the middle. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Roast your acorn squash in a 375F oven, cut side facing up for 30-45min until soft.

While this roasts, make your caesar dressing and chop up all of your lettuce.

Julienne the apple into thin matchstick sized pieces, and slice your tomatoes in half.

If you are including farro, cook this to the packages instructions.  You only need about 1/2 cup of dried farro for this whole salad to have a little extra heartiness to it.

Toss together your veggies and dressing and lemon juice and season your salad.

Once the squash is done, slice it into 1/2 inch thick pieces and enjoy.  The skin should come right off, but it makes for a more clean presentation to leave it on when plating it.

Feel free to add chicken to this or a salmon filet if you don’t want a meatless option, but for a nice meatless Monday option, why not!

 

Seared Tuna Salad

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The core of what I do is create a balance in our lives and the lives of my clients. Just like everyone else I love unhealthy food sometimes and a drink every now and again.  In order to not feel guilty about those meals, I make sure to eat well the rest of the week.  Usually weekends are when we splurge on burgers, pizza, or that extra glass of wine! So during the week I cook pretty well.

In the winter it is harder to motivate yourself to eat cold foods.  It is so tempting to eat hearty and warm food for every meal, but every now and again, it doesn’t hurt to have a salad.

This salad is a delicious seared tuna, with quails eggs, and a miso lime dressing. It is so full of flavor and really light.  During this season of lots of holiday parties, a light meal is really refreshing.  Last night, I went with a group of friends and fellow entrepreneurs in the Greenwich area to a 5 course dinner out with wine and cocktail pairings.  Everything was so good, but for tonights dinner, I needed it to be light! We have another two holiday parties on Friday and Saturday nights so, this week is all about balance!

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What you need:

  • Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato
  • Chives
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Tuna steaks
  • 6 Quail Eggs (hard boiled)
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Chop up all of the ingredients you want in your salad.  I kept it simple, but feel free to add in any veggies you like!

Season your tuna steaks with salt and pepper.  Make sure these are sushi grade tuna so you can eat them raw.

Heat your grill pan to medium high and drizzle the tuna with olive oil before placing it on the pan.

Cook your tuna for about 2-3 min per side just until you see the grill marks and remove from the heat and set aside.

Mix together your dressing ingredients: miso, honey, wasabi, salt, lime, vinegar, soy, and your oils and whisk until a homogenous mixture.

Plate your salad, tuna, and quail eggs and top with your dressing.  Serve with a lime garnish if you’d like and enjoy!