Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. (GF, DF)

Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies that are gluten-free and are sweetened naturally instead of with refined sugar! All the ooey-gooey goodness of traditional chocolate chip cookies, but a little bit healthier.

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Valentine’s day is Saturday! Got any plans to make a sweet treat for your loved ones?

My all-time favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies. So, you can imagine my frustration when I found out about my wheat allergy over the summer and realized I would no longer be able to enjoy my beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe. I had to find a replacement. Stat.

This recipe is an excellent alternative to my aforementioned traditional wheat-filled chocolate chip cookie recipe. The first time I made it, I was seriously skeptical. I mean, look at the ingredients! Can almond flour really work here? Can honey bind it all without even using an egg?

The answer: yes.

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These cookies are super chewy, which is exactly the way I love them.
And they’re soft.
Really soft. In fact, don’t even think about attempting to eat one as soon as you take the pan out of the oven because they will appear underbaked. This worried me at first, but sure enough, after they cooled for a while they firmed up and could be held just fine. (By the way, underbaking is one of the tricks for making my original chocolate chip cookies amazing, and it works here too!)

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Obviously if you’re making cookies you realize there’s going to be some serious sugar-intake happening, but I do appreciate that these cookies use honey instead of refined sugar. Honey is still a form of sugar, but if you buy good quality, raw, local honey, you are at least also getting some nutrients from the sweetener. The flavor of the honey does come through a little bit, but I love honey so that did not bother me at all. If you don’t like honey (is that possible?), then these might not be the cookies for you!

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A note on the almond flour–I used Trader Joe’s almond meal/flour. I am not sure how well any other brand would work. Almond flour can vary greatly depending on what brand you purchase, so just be aware!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (use enjoy life for dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup softened butter (coconut oil for dairy free)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with silpat liner or parchment paper.

2). In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chocolate chips together until well-incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips.

3). Scoop about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Keep 2-3 inches of space between cookies. Gently press down on the cookie dough to flatten each cookie slightly.

4). Bake for 6-10 minutes, depending on your oven. The cookie should be slightly golden on the bottom and will appear underbaked, but they will finish baking as they cool.

5). Important: cool for 10-15 minutes on the cookie sheet before enjoying! You absolutely must let them cool or else they will be too soft to handle. Enjoy!

Yield: about 19 cookies. Approximate Nutritional Information per cookie: Calories: 135 Carbs: 11g Fat: 10g Fiber: 1g Protein: 2g Sugar: 9g Points+: 4. Recipe originally from here.

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Easy Paleo Almond Chicken Tenders. (GF)

These chicken tenders are coated in almond meal and baked for a healthy take on traditional chicken fingers!

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Ever want a no-fuss dinner that you know everyone will love?
All the time, right?
Add this one to your weekly rotation.
Oh yes, I said weekly.
If you know me well, you know I RARELY cook anything twice, but I’ve already made this dish numerous times because it’s such a crowd-pleaser.

I mean, everyone loves chicken tenders, right?
Exactly.

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Thankfully, these are much more heart-healthy than what you’d order in a restaurant or buy at the store because they’re breaded in almond meal instead of flour, and they’re baked, not fried.

Let’s be honest, usually when something is baked, that’s code for “not-as-good-as-fried”, but this chicken turns out perfectly cooked and amazing. Plus, it’s so much easier than frying since you just stick the whole pan in the oven at once and you’re done!

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Before baking, I dipped the chicken in a beaten egg and then in a spicy almond meal mixture. A lot of fun spices come together here like cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. There’s a bit of heat from the pepper but it’s not overpowering.

I used Trader Joe’s almond meal for the breading. Depending on what brand you use, you may have different results. 1 cup of almond meal is perfect for 2 pounds of chicken. Your chicken should be perfectly cooked in about 25 minutes, making this a great weeknight meal option your whole family (even picky eaters) will love!

Easy Paleo Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/2 tsp if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • cooking spray

1). Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a pan with foil for easy clean-up if desired, and spray with cooking spray.

2). Cut the chicken breasts into long strips about 1-2″ wide.

3). In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly.

4). In a larger bowl, combine the almond meal with all of the spices.

5). Dip each piece of chicken in the egg, letting the excess run off. Then dip into the almond meal mixture, coating well. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with leftover chicken. Tip: don’t overcrowd the pan! For crispy chicken tenders, there has to be space between them for the air to circulate. 

6). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Enjoy!

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 214 Carbs: 4g Fat: 11g Protein: 28g Fiber: 2g Points+: 6 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

 

Gluten-Free Oat Waffles.

Easy, light and fluffy waffles made with oat flour that the whole family will love!

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Happy Saturday!

Tell me: waffles or pancakes?

It seems like everyone has a preference.

Personally? A few years ago I would have said pancakes > waffles. I’m really not sure why, other than the fact we didn’t have a waffle maker growing up and my mom would make pancakes for a special breakfast. In fact, the only thing I wanted when I got home from months of studying abroad in college was pancakes!

Then I got married. My husband LOVES waffles. A very good friend of ours generously gave us a waffle maker over the summer, and waffles have been requested occasionally ever since. Usually I make him traditional waffles, but I was curious to try this gluten-free version a few months ago and it has never let me down! Now? Pancakes = waffles.

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I love that this recipe is so simple. No crazy combination of flours here, just one: oat flour. You can make your own, which is what I did since I already had oats in the pantry, or you can purchase some. If you have oats and a food processor/blender, it’s super easy to make your own–just blend away!

An important note: make sure to account for the 10 minute of batter-resting time. I almost forgot this step once, but thankfully I realized it before I started pouring the batter in the waffle maker! It’s absolutely crucial to let the batter rest so the oat flour absorbs excess moisture.

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Have fun with the toppings! You can’t go wrong with classic maple syrup (just be sure to get a high quality syrup if you go that route!), but I also love waffles with a small dollop of raspberry or strawberry preserves. My husband’s favorite is a spoonful of my crock pot apple butter, which adds a nice punch of warm spices. Then there’s always the savory route…chicken and waffles, anyone?

So, what are you waiting for? Go make a special breakfast for your family this weekend!

Gluten-Free Oat Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (if making your own, you’ll need about 2 cups of oats blended together to yield 1 1/2 cups of oat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup room-temperature milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 5 tablespoons of melted coconut oil or butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons room-temperature maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1). In a medium bowl, mix together the oat flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

2). In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, melted coconut oil/butter, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

3). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes to allow the oat flour to absorb excess moisture. Start preheating the waffle iron at this point.

4). Mix the batter once more then add it to the hot waffle iron. Once golden and cooked through, remove from the waffle iron then repeat with more batter. You can keep them in a 200F oven to keep them warm, if you’d wish, and they should also freeze beautifully. Enjoy!

Recipe yields about 5 square waffles (as pictured above). Serving size: 1 waffle. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 210 Carbs: 15g Fat: 15g Protein: 6g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Points+: 6. Recipe originally from Cookie and Kate.

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites + 2 Year Blog Anniversary! (GF, DF, Paleo)

Slightly tangy but sweet, these coconut lime energy bites are a perfect light dessert or healthy on-the-go snack option!

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My blog turns 2 today, and I’m celebrating with a healthy little sweet treat: coconut key lime energy bites! If you’ve been reading Audrey’s Apron from the beginning, you know this blog idea had been a long-time dream of mine since college and I finally put it into motion 2 years ago today. A lot has changed in the 2 years that I’ve been blogging. I’m thrilled that so many of you follow this little cooking journey of mine. And it really does make my day when you comment that you made a recipe and loved it!

The biggest change on the blog this year? Probably my photography skills! It’s still a work in progress, for sure, but at least I’m not taking pictures with my phone camera anymore! OH the horrors! My ever-supportive husband got me a real, legit DSLR camera for my birthday this year and it has been so fun using it!

So, I just want to say THANK YOU for following, reading, commenting, tweeting, etc. I love sharing our culinary successes together!

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Back to this yummy recipe. I found these to be a perfectly delicious paleo substitute for key lime pie. They’re much healthier, and bite-sized, so that’s a win!

The coconut is totally optional, by the way.
I just love how it makes them look sort of like little snowballs.
Or truffles.
Yum!
So for all you coconut-averse readers, just know it’s more for aesthetics and you can definitely leave it off.

A word of wisdom: make sure that your dates are in fact pitted before you throw them in your food processor and turn it on.
Otherwise it will begin to jump wildly all over the counter while making an AWFUL noise.
Don’t ask me how I know, just promise me you’ll double check, ok? Ok.
P.S. The dates I bought from Costco most definitely did have pits in them. #IwishIwouldhavedoublechecked.

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So the great thing about this recipe is that the food processor does all the work for you! Throw in some cashews, almonds, dates (pitted!), lime zest & juice, and turn it on! Then all you have to do is form the mixture into little balls and roll them into coconut if you so choose.

Pack them in your lunch, serve them as dessert, or keep a few in your purse for emergencies–these chewy energy bites are perfect for whenever you need a quick boost!

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • Zest and juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut for rolling, optional

1). In a food processor, add the cashews and almonds. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.

2). Add the dates and lime zest and juice. Pulse until the dates are finely chopped and the mixture begins to clump together.

3). Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture out and roll it into a ball. Roll in shredded coconut if desired, then repeat with remaining mixture. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days, or in the fridge. Enjoy!

Servings: about 15. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 74 Carbs: 9g Fat: 4g Protein: 2g Fiber: 1g Points+: 2 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto. (GF, DF)

An elegant French-inspired chicken dish easy enough to make on a weeknight, and show-stopping enough to serve to company!

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See that?
That’s pure culinary enchantment, friends.  And a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner idea. Because French food is automatically romantic and inviting.

This is an adaptation on a French classic: tender chicken nestled into a savory mustard and herb sauce. With prosciutto. A very Italian ingredient. Sooo, this is really more of a French-Italian fusion dish, but the prosciutto is important–it’s salty character really brings out all the flavors of the dish. Don’t have proscuitto? No worries, use bacon or pancetta instead.

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If you like the flavor of mustard, you will really enjoy this dish because it uses both a classic dijon and a grainy mustard. The chicken gets coated in it and it’s also used in the sauce. Don’t worry, it’s not overpowering at all, though!

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Thyme is another main ingredient here. I don’t cook with thyme very often, mostly because I never have it on hand, and because the dried version is overbearing to my pallette. In this case, the fresh thyme blended beautifully in the sauce, so if you have any reservations about using thyme, leave those aside and try the recipe as-is. I think you’ll love it!

A few more important notes about this dish:

  1. There are a few steps involved, but none of them are difficult, so don’t let the somewhat lengthy instructions below derail you from making this recipe. It’s a lot of “cook this in the pan, remove it, now add something else, remove it, now add it all back together”.
  2. I used a mixture of both chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can use what you want.
  3. You will need a skillet with a lid for this dish.
  4. Cooking nerd here, but one of my favorite steps in this recipe is deglazing the pan! It allows you to get all of the flavor off the bottom of the pan and into the sauce.
  5. If you can tolerate dairy, add 2 tablespoons at the end right before serving for a creamier sauce. Honestly, I didn’t miss it and don’t think it needed it, but I’ll leave it up to you!
  6. This dish is best served HOT and fresh!

Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

For the chicken “marinade”:

  • 2 lbs chicken (I used breasts and boneless, skinless thighs)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or sweet)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup diced prosciutto (or bacon, or pancetta)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 2 Tbsp grainy mustard

1). In a large bowl, combine the chicken “marinade” ingredients well.  Add the chicken and coat evenly in the mixture. Set aside.

2). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced prosciutto, stirring frequently until it starts to crisp up and brown slightly. Remove from the skillet and put in an empty bowl.

3). In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until soft and translucent. Add the thyme and after a minute, remove from the skillet to the bowl with prosciutto.

4). To the same pan, add the other 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken for a few minutes until browned on one side, then flip and cook a few minutes more. Remove from the skillet onto an empty plate.

5). Time to deglaze the pan! Add the broth to the hot, empty pan and scrape all of the crispy brown bits off the bottom of the pan using a flat edged wooden spoon. Add the chicken, onions, and prosciutto back to the pan. Cover and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes. Be sure to turn the chicken a few times. Check to make sure it is cooked through before proceeding to step 6.

6). Remove the chicken from the pan to stir in the grainy mustard into the sauce. Add the chicken back to the pan, give it a few quick turns in the sauce, and serve!

Servings: 6. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 246 Carbs: 2g Fat: 11g Protein: 38g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 1g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary. (GF)

Red potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted together with rosemary make a simple, easy side dish perfect for any meal.

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I recently fell in love with the flavor combination of rosemary and sweet potatoes. There’s something so earth-y and wonderful about the two that make them go together so well. It’s a simple combination, really, but not one that I made at home before, and this dish lived up to all of my expectations. It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes though, am I right?

Even though I 110% adore sweet potatoes, for whatever reason I equally wanted red potatoes when I made this dish, hence the decision to mix them together. This also made my husband happy since he typically prefers red potatoes over sweet any day. All that to say, every potato lover in your family will be happy when you serve them these! You can also use regular white potatoes if you prefer, or even use only sweet potatoes!

Reason #274 why I love this dish: I love any excuse to gather fresh rosemary from our back yard. If you’ve ever wondered if you should plant a rosemary bush, the answer is a resounding yes! It’s so convenient to never worry about running out.

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These potatoes roast low and slow in the oven, leaving you with plenty of time to focus on the main dish while they do their thing in the oven. It’s brutally cold and windy out, and this side dish screams warm and cozy, which is exactly what I want in my life right now! I hope you enjoy it!

Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary (GF)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter (or olive oil for dairy-free/vegan)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the butter in a 9×13 pan and put it in the oven for a couple minutes to melt the butter. Remove from oven and add the remaining ingredients, tossing well to ensure even seasoning.

2). Roast for about an hour, stirring 2-3 times, until the potatoes are golden and tender.

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 159 Carbs: 26g Fat: 5g Protein: 3g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 4g Points+: 4. Recipe adapted from here.

Paleo Italian Stuffed Peppers.

Perfect for a weeknight meal, these paleo stuffed peppers are easy and healthy!

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It’s January! Everyone is looking to clean up their diets this time of year, and this is the perfect recipe to fit any new year’s resolution that is clean-eating related. This dish is paleo, Whole30 compliant, gluten-free, and overall delicious. You won’t even miss the rice that is traditionally included in stuffed peppers.

The real star of this show is the meat. So savory! So flavorful! It was absolutely perfect. There’s a hint of Italian fare from the basil, but it is not overpowering. I added lots of chopped spinach to get as many veggies in as possible.

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Did I mention this recipe is super simple and easy? While the peppers are doing their initial bake, cook the meat and vegetables. Once the peppers are out of the oven, stuff them with the meat mixture. Then you can either put them back in the oven for a few minutes, or, if you don’t mind firmer peppers, eat them as-is. Also, if you don’t mind adding dairy, I think a sprinkle of parmesan cheese would be fabulous here! I’m already thinking of other ways I can use this meat mixture (tacos, perhaps?) because it’s soo good!

Paleo Italian Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1lb grass-fed ground beef (or turkey)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, chopped (or 1/2 can diced tomatoes, or 4 small tomatoes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1). Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Place the bell peppers, cut side down, in a large baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes.
2). While the peppers are baking, add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Season well with salt and pepper.
3). Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and then add the basil and spinach. Cook until wilted. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
4). Evenly distribute the meat mixture into each pepper half. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or eat!

Servings: 4. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 240 Carbs: 7g Fat: 15g Protein: 24g Sugar: 4g Fiber: 2g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here.