Protein Banana Bread

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So I know its been a while since I’ve posted a recipe or blog post.  We’ve been crazy here at the Burke house, but all in good ways.  We’ve been traveling, busy with festivals, and new developments on the business side. I’ve met some really amazing people this summer, and grown closer to new friends here in Greenwich.

We are so blessed to be able to do so many neat things, and this summer has been one for a lot of new experiences. We’ve traveled a bit, met new people, and really taken advantage of the beauty in our area. My friend Heather, from Gacchi Bakery, and I worked the Greenwich Food and Wine Festival together and have done a lot of special events all summer.

I have been cooking a lot for clients and for us, but have been very lax about taking photos. I am going to start making an effort again to photograph as much as I can the things I’ve been making.  Starting with this great protein banana bread!

We don’t love bananas, so more often than not if I buy them, I don’t get through them before they get really soft. Banana bread is one of the few options you have at this point.  Sometimes I freeze them peeled also to add into smoothies, but other times when you want something sweet, banana bread is a great healthy option.

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What you need:

 

  • 2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and butter a 4×8-inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.

Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and protein.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before serving.

 

 

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.

Zucchini Carrot and Pineapple Muffins

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Another awesome way to hide veggies into things is by adding them into your baked goods.  Breakfast can be a particularly difficult meal to get kids to eat, and more often than not things like muffins and pancakes are the easiest  go to option. The only issue is that traditional muffins and sweet breakfasts are just carb heavy and lack a lot of nutrients.

Carrots and zucchini have been used in making cakes and breads for a long time because of their mild flavors.  The added benefit though is that both vegetables have so much nutritional value. Between carrots and zucchini you are giving your kids a great source for vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin B6, protein, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

It is kind of a no brainer honestly, and hidden into a muffin, it is extremely unlikely that any kid will turn their nose up at the thought of veggies. These muffins are really easy, and can be made ahead for the week.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded pineapple (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (excess water removed)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond flour (coconut flour, or regular all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Grease your muffin tins with butter or natural cooking spray.

Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

If you don’t love pineapple, sub in shredded apple or any other fruit you like. The best part about it is that you can do all of your shredding and mixing in a food processor to really save on work.

Jordan’s family loved these, so again another kid test and kid approved recipe!

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!

 

 

Green Breakfast Smoothie

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James and I just got back from our England vacation, and really enjoyed seeing family, friends, and celebrating the wedding of two of our favorite people! The only downside of going away, aside from the jet lag, is that our usual healthy eating tends to go out the window. We went out to eat at least once a day, if not twice, and had wine or cocktails with almost every meal. Not to mention, that for the recovery brunch after the wedding, we partook in eating 25 Dominos pizzas – talk about guilty eating!

Now that we are back, both James and I have returned to having lighter breakfasts of protein bars or smoothies or the occasional egg. For lunch, I’ve returned to eating at least two lighter meals – think protein cereal, avocado toast, grilled chicken salads, and lettuce wraps. The only thing we’ve been a little slower to get back to is home cooked dinners.  As you might expect after being away for 10 days, we’ve had a lot to catch up on, and when the jet lag hits around 5/6pm paired with the busy days, I have not had much motivation to cook. This weekend and next week we will get back on our normal routine fully!

Anyway, one of my favorite breakfasts is a protein smoothie.  We have a great protein powder that is really low in sugar and lactose free! Smoothies are also a way to squeeze in extra fruit and veg into a meal that would otherwise lack these things. Plus when you are on the go, you can put these smoothies in your old salsa jars and throw them in the car!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop of protein (25g or so)
  • 8-10oz of milk of your choice (I love Cashew-Milk)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 sprigs of kale removed from the stem
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Throw all of your ingredients into a good blender and mix until smooth.

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Feel free to add ice if you want more of a milk-shake type feel, but this is not required.

You could also add in a handful of almonds, cocoa nibs, dried fruit, or oats to bulk it up a bit.

 

Very Berry Cobbler

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As I mentioned yesterday, we had such a fun backyard bbq with friends on Sunday.  Spring has seemingly finally arrived, and berry season is in full effect. Right now you can get the most delicious strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, which are perfect for eating and cooking with!

This coming weekend we are heading to Texas for Easter, so our bbq last weekend, was our pre-Easter “framily” barbecue. For those of you that follow me on instagram or Facebook, I posted a photo a couple weeks back of little individual berry cobblers that I made for a client dinner party.  All 10 guests raved about how delicious it was, so I thought I would share the recipe with you all.

What is so great about this, is that the filling is just fruit.  No added sugar at all, and as they cook, they bubble up and create their own syrup. The topping is really simple as well, and uses all natural animal fats (butter), and only some brown sugar. This is a pretty healthy dessert, and one you can feel good about feeding your family.

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What you need:

 

  • 3 cups assorted berries
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I only had half white bread flour and it was still delicious)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9”x 6” rectangular or 8” round baking dish.

If using strawberries, quarter them so all fruit pieces are mostly uniform in size.

Place the berries in the prepared pan. Drizzle with the lemon juice.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until well-blended. Mix in the dry ingredients until mixture resembles crumbs. Drop the dough evenly on top of berries.

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Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and fruit is bubbly.

If your dish is really full, make sure to put a sheet pan underneath it, as often the fruit bubbles up over the side.

Serve it straight from the oven with a little vanilla ice cream.  Who doesn’t love a little cobbler a la mode?

 

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!

Red Berry Smoothie

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Happy International Women’s Day friends! I can’t believe I haven’t really posted in almost two weeks, but the last two weeks have been quite an adventure! We got back from our amazing trip to Hawaii, and really hit the ground running. Business for me in Greenwich has really picked up and I have been working small dinner parties, and even a very large cocktail party!

The planning alone takes a lot of time, but the preparation and organization needed to pull off a spectacular evening really takes dedication. Thankfully the events went off without a hitch, but each required their own brand of in the moment thinking on my feet.

The other very exciting adventure is that I am in the process of getting all of my necessary certifications to sell my salsas! I am still working on a good name for them, but they will fall under The Gourmet Cocina umbrella. I have been making salsa for almost a decade now and I have really perfected it. Every time I go home my family has me make it, and at least once a month, my husband begs me to make it too!  Even my spice averse English in-laws love it, and that is truly a compliment!

Anyway, to actually get to a phase where you are producing it, you have to get over a few hurdles, and I am working on those now.  I see some light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a process!

But back to being a badass girl boss right! It’s international women’s day and I have the great privilege of being friends with some of the most intelligent, strong, impressive women! I have a whole group of friends in TX, NYC, and Brooklyn who each dominate in their own industries, and another group of friends here in CT who all own or run their own companies, blogs, and brands. It is so inspiring to have such successful and fabulous women around me, and they all push me to take The Gourmet Cocina to the next level.

Aside from tomato soup, tomato sauce, and salsas, there aren’t really that many red foods.  I could have done something with beets maybe, but though tasty, there is nothing exciting about beets! So today I made myself a red berry smoothie as a little healthy treat in honor of all my fellow badass females out there. This one isn’t too complicated, but it was delish!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 6 oz coconut water
  • 4 oz regular water

Throw it all into a blender and enjoy!

I did’t have any spinach or greens to throw in today, but that would have been a nice added level of nutrition.

This is a breakfast of champions and will help you awesome ladies out there have the energy you need to start your day off right!

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!