Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Salads

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

Basil.

Basil. Basil. Basil.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasil! Just a small whiff of this delightful herb makes me so darn happy. Doesn’t it just remind you of summer? If I could, I would probably put fresh basil on everything. Yes, even in sweet treats! Have you ever had strawberry-basil ice cream? It is INCREDIBLE.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

I purchased a large bunch of fresh basil at Whole Foods this weekend with the intention of using it in a summer pasta dish this week. Luckily, I had so much extra so I was able to experiment a bit with a basil vinaigrette. We eat a lot of salads in our house, so we like to change up the dressings fairly regularly to prevent eating the same thing all the time.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

I’ve always loved the combination of tomato + basil + mozzarella + balsamic, so I knew those flavors would make a delicious vinaigrette (minus the mozzarella, of course….that would be weird). I never thought to put tomatoes in a vinaigrette before, but we had a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes sitting on our counter, so I thought, “Why not?” and just went for it.

The result? A serious winner!

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

This dressing is slightly chunky, so you end up with delicious tastes of basil and tomato in every bite. I served it with a simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, and feta, but I think it would taste great with almost anything you can throw together!

 

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons shallot, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a mini food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, basil, shallot, garlic, dijon, balsamic, and honey. Blend for about 30 seconds. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender half way through and continue blending. Add the olive oil and blend for about 10 more seconds or until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 

Gluten-Free Grilling Side Dishes

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan

Chances are you’ll be grilling this weekend, am I right? So why not grill something a little outside the box…something that is sure to please everyone’s tastebuds: grilled romaine!

The first time I tried grilled romaine was in Philadelphia during college. The food scene in Philly is incredible and I feel so lucky that I got to experience it for four years. I actually think Philadelphia was a BIG influence on my passion for food and cooking, as it constantly encouraged me to try new cuisines and flavors.

My first grilled romaine experience was at a tiny BYOB restaurant on South St. in Philly. The romaine was a special on the menu that night and the waitress urged us to try it.  I have to admit, I was hesitant at first. Why would you grill lettuce? Wouldn’t that make it wilt or burn? Ooooooooh boy, was I wrong! It was simply incredible – charred to perfection and unlike anything I’ve ever had.

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe. Easy to make and cooks under 10 minutes! www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Surprisingly, I haven’t had grilled romaine since that one experience in Philly. This weekend Travis and I were at Whole Foods browsing the many Fourth of July specials. There were large bunches of organic romaine on sale, so we grabbed one and threw it into our shopping cart. All of a sudden I had flashbacks to that incredible grilled romaine from college, and I knew I had to recreate it that night.

This healthy side dish couldn’t be easier! If your romaine comes with extra leafy greens on the outside, simply pull those off and save them for a salad later in the week.  Slice the romaine heart in half and brush each half with extra-virgin olive oil. Then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and throw them on the grill for about 3 minutes total.  Without blinking an eye, you have a very low calorie side dish in a matter of minutes! I decided to add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese for added flavor, but the romaine is simply delicious on it’s own, too.

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe. Easy to make and cooks under 10 minutes! www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We paired our romaine with juicy grilled steak, but it would be great with burgers, chicken, fish, or whatever else you are grilling up this weekend! So easy and healthy!

 

Grilled Romaine with Lemon and Parmesan
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 Large head of romaine lettuce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan (grated or shredded)
Instructions
  1. If your romaine has extra loose leaves on the top and outer layers, remove these leaves and save them for a salad or another use. Rinse the romaine well, making sure to remove any dirt. Cut the romaine in half, vertically.
  2. Place the romaine pieces flat side down on a large cutting board. Brush the rounded backs of the romaine with olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Flip over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Grill the romaine on three separate sides (like a triangle): first, place the romaine flat side down on a hot grill in direct heat. After about 1 minute, turn the romaine so it lays on half of the rounded side and grill for an additional minute. Complete on the final part of the curved side. Be careful - the romaine cooks quickly so do not walk away from the grill during this process.
  4. Remove the romaine from the grill and place it on a large serving platter. Squeeze the lemon juice over the romaine and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve immediately.
 

Gluten-Free Side Dishes Vegan

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes

I am not really sure what inspired me to mix sweet potatoes and pineapple together, but boy am I glad I did. When I was in college I would make a big batches of roasted veggies at the beginning of the week and then I would eat them as a snack or with some sort of protein for dinner throughout the rest of the week. It was a delicious and healthy way to keep me on track and made me far less likely to reach for junk food when I was hungry.

This Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potato is a delicious side dish to pair with almost anything! It's a simple recipe with less than five ingredients, plus it's gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Usually my roasted veggies include a mix of sweet potatoes, bell pepper, carrots, onion, and whatever else was in my fridge that I could throw in.

This weekend all I had was two lonely sweet potatoes and one very ripe pineapple that was SCREAMING at me to eat it. I love grilled pineapple (especially on a burger -yum!) so I thought, “What the heck!?” and chopped it up to roast with my sweet potato. I also added a shallot as a contrast to the sweetness from the sweet potato and pineapple.

This Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potato is a delicious side dish to pair with almost anything! It's a simple recipe with less than five ingredients, plus it's gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

As this was cooking in the oven, the smell that filled my apartment reminded me so much of home. On Jewish holidays my mom makes a delicious noodle kugel with pineapple, so the smell of roasted pineapple this weekend sent me right back to my parents’ kitchen.

This Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potato is a delicious side dish to pair with almost anything! It's a simple recipe with less than five ingredients, plus it's gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Don’t you love when throw-together dishes end up tasting great? I had to exercise some serious self-control so I didn’t eat the whole batch by myself.

I think this would be delicious served with poultry or fish and the pineapple makes it a perfect dish for summer!

This Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potato is a delicious side dish to pair with almost anything! It's a simple recipe with less than five ingredients, plus it's gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sweet potato, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 2 cups pineapple, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 Tablespooon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the sweet potato, pineapple, and shallot in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey. ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour the olive oil mixture onto the sweet potatoes and pineapple. Mix well until the olive oil thoroughly coats the ingredients in the large bowl.
  3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, then stir the mixture. Roast again for an additional 25 minutes or until desired brownness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
 

This Roasted Pineapple and Sweet Potato is a delicious side dish to pair with almost anything! It's a simple recipe with less than five ingredients, plus it's gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Appetizer Gluten-Free Snacks

Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa

This Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa packs so much summer flavor into just one bite. By broiling the vegetables, you end up with a delicious charred texture that really brings out the flavor of each ingredient.

Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa Recipe

It is the perfect dip to chow down on while you are firing up the grill this summer. We ate this with multi-grain tortilla chips, but any chip would compliment this well!

The jalapeno makes this salsa quite spicy, so if you prefer a more milder taste, I recommend adding only a small amount of the minced pepper.

Delicious Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa Recipe ll  Serve it with chips for a yummy summer snack. Ready in under 15 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Serve this salsa at your next summer BBQ, and you’ll have your guests begging for the recipe!

Delicious Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa Recipe ll  Serve it with chips for a yummy summer snack. Ready in under 15 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 ear corn, shucked
  • 2 medium heirloom tomatoes (or 2 cups mini heirloom tomatoes)*
  • 1 small Jalapeno or Anaheim pepper
  • ½ white onion, chopped into 4 wedges
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cooking Spray
Instructions
  1. Set the oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the corn, tomatoes, pepper and onion on the baking sheet and spray lightly with canola oil cooking spray. Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and broil for 10-12 minutes, turning every few minutes, until lightly charred.
  2. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, chop the tomatoes and onion and place in a large bowl. Then cut the kernels off the corn and add to the bowl. Slice the pepper in half. Remove and discard the seeds. Mince the pepper and place the desired amount in the bowl with the other vegetables (I used about 2 teaspoons of the minced Jalapeno). Add the lime juice, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips. Salsa will last in the fridge for one week.
Notes
*Can substitute for cherry tomatoes
 

Delicious Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salsa Recipe ll  Serve it with chips for a yummy summer snack. Ready in under 15 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com/div>

Gluten-Free Side Dishes Vegan

Green Beans with Shallots and Pine Nuts

This is a simple and healthy side dish that comes together in less than 15 minutes and requires only three ingredients!

These Green Beans with Shallots and Pine Nuts are a healthy and delicious side dish that comes together in less than fifteen minutes! Gluten-Free & Vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I personally hate when people take green beans and smother them with unhealthy creams and toppings. Good quality green beans are so delicious and do not need a lot of added junk to please your taste buds!

These Green Beans with Shallots and Pine Nuts are a healthy and delicious side dish that comes together in less than fifteen minutes! Gluten-Free & Vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Shallots and greens go together like peanut butter and jelly (that is no news to anyone) and the toasted pine nuts add a perfect nutty crunch to this dish. I love to prepare my green beans this way because I think they can be served with almost anything – poultry, meat, or fish. This is the ideal weeknight veggie because it comes together in a pinch!

These Green Beans with Shallots and Pine Nuts are a healthy and delicious side dish that comes together in less than fifteen minutes! Gluten-Free & Vegan! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Green Beans with Shallots and Pine Nuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. green beans, washed and ends trimmed
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted*
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately strain the green beans and rinse with cold water for about 1 minute (alternatively, place green beans in a bowl of ice water). Pat dry.
  2. Turn a large pan to medium-high heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes until golden. Add the green beans to the pan and toss for about 1 minute to warm. Salt and pepper to taste. Place the green beans and shallots on a platter and sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Notes
*Pine nuts can be substituted for toasted, slivered almonds.
 

Gluten-Free Snacks

Curried Yogurt Dip and Sweet Potato Chips

I never crave salty things. My cravings come in the form of chocolate chip cookies, ooey-gooey brownies, and anything chocolate-peanut butter.

Travis is the opposite. He craves chips. Recently he’s been buying a different type of chip each week. For the past month it’s been sweet potato chips and now he has both of us hooked! I never thought I could be so in love with a salty snack, but these are addicting (I think it is because they are a little bit sweet).

A big bag of Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato chips inspired this yogurt dip.

Curried Yogurt Dip and Sweet Potato Chips Recipe -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The dip is only three ingredients, so it is very easy to throw together. I think it is a delicious and unique alternative to your standard chips + salsa or guacamole (although, I will always love my guac).

Curried Yogurt Dip and Sweet Potato Chips Recipe -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Travis and I ate this yogurt dip without any guilt because it is completely healthy! I recommend Way Better, Trader Joe’s, or Terra Sweet Potato Chips – none of them have nonsense ingredient lists and they all taste great.

IMG_2655

 

Curried Yogurt Dip
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ cups Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • ½ tablespoon Curry Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
  • Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine the yogurt, curry powder and lime juice in a small bowl. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Chill the yogurt dip for one hour in the fridge before serving.
 

Breakfast Gluten-Free

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins

Holy Moly, I just made the best darn granola.

This Cardamom Granola with Almonds and Pistachios is incredibly addicting! It's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and Vegan. Eat it on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, or just by the handful. You're going to love it! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Basically every day at work I snack on Greek Yogurt. Usually I just add some berries with a pinch of stevia and cinnamon to sweeten, but recently I’ve been craving some crunch.

This Cardamom Granola with Almonds and Pistachios is incredibly addicting! It's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and Vegan. Eat it on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, or just by the handful. You're going to love it! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

After scouring the web for new granola recipes, I wasn’t finding anything that suited my needs. I wanted to keep this version low-sugar, but not lose a lot of sweetness and flavor.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

In one recipe, I spotted cardamom on the ingredient list and thought that was very unique. Most granola recipes stick to the usuals: maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I love cardamom, but I find it stays in my spice cabinet more often than it should, so I decided to pull it out for this batch of granola.

This Cardamom Granola with Almonds and Pistachios is incredibly addicting! It's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and Vegan. Eat it on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, or just by the handful. You're going to love it! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I like my granola chunky, and I recently learned a great tip from America’s Test Kitchen to help keep it that way.

This Cardamom Granola with Almonds and Pistachios is incredibly addicting! It's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and Vegan. Eat it on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, or just by the handful. You're going to love it! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Don’t stir the granola! Every granola recipe I see says to stir the mixture once or twice throughout the baking time. ATK says for chunkier granola clusters, don’t stir the mixture and just wait to break it up once it is completely done baking.

This Cardamom Granola with Almonds and Pistachios is incredibly addicting! It's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and Vegan. Eat it on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, or just by the handful. You're going to love it! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

ATK, you’re a genius…again! My granola turned out chunky – just the way I like it. Now I get spoonfuls of delicious granola clusters with every bite, which is a great contrast against the smooth Greek Yogurt.

This Cardamom Granola with Almonds and Pistachios is incredibly addicting! It's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and Vegan. Eat it on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, or just by the handful. You're going to love it! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

It is also packed with spice from the cardamom and cinnamon, so I don’t find myself missing the added sugars that you see in typical packaged granola.

I hope you try this granola. It could quite possibly be the best I’ve ever tasted.

 

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw, unsalted pistachios
  • ⅛ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt*
  • ¼ cup real honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins (or any other dried fruit)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. In a small microwavable bowl add the honey and heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds. Add the olive oil and vanilla to the honey and stir to combine. Pour the honey mixture over the oat and nut mixture. Stir so that honey coats the oat mixture.
  3. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then add the raisins. Carefully stir the granola a few times to break it into desired sized chunks. Allow to cool completely and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
*If you only can find salted nuts, omit the salt from the recipe.
 

This Cardamom Granola with Almonds and Pistachios is incredibly addicting! It's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and Vegan. Eat it on top of yogurt, a smoothie bowl, or just by the handful. You're going to love it! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Gluten-Free Salads Vegan

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad

This past week I took a nice solid detox away from everything.

I flew back to the East coast for a wonderful week of relaxation with my parents. I don’t get to go home as often as I would like, so when I am home, I try to savor every moment of it.

This trip I split my time between Boston and Maine, which was very special because I haven’t been to our home in Maine since before I moved to Los Angeles (a year and a half ago!).

IMG_4563

While I was home, I got to see some of my best friends: Amanda, Gabby, and Jenni. They all live in Boston, so I am always so appreciative for the time I have with them when I come home. The time always goes by too fast, though!

It was especially nice to be home with this little cutie:

IMG_4639

Diesel was quite spoiled this holiday season. He got some new toys and a pretty badass new sweater. He was pretty thrilled about them. He is one of the few dogs I know who actually enjoys wearing sweaters and jackets (as opposed to constantly trying to paw them off). Since he is so small, he gets cold  easily during the winter, so I think he appreciates the added layer!

 

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How cute is his little nub of a tail?

 

As I have mentioned before, one of my favorite parts of going home is the chance to cook with my dad. Whenever I come home, he always has a new recipe or kitchen gadget he is excited to show me. I always love the opportunity to learn from him.

My dad made a version of this Pear and Fennel Salad before and raved about it.  It sounded delicious to me and since we had a pear and some fennel in the fridge, we decided to make it again and just invented the rest by adding other ingredients we had in the kitchen. The end result was delicious!

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad Recipe -- perfect for winter! l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I have used chopped pears into salads before, but never roasted them first. After trying this salad, I will always roast my pears in the future. It really brings out the natural sweetness in the fruit and makes the slices almost melt in your mouth!

What really made this salad, though, was a wonderful Cranberry Pear Balsamic that my parents picked up in Arizona. We just sprinkled the balsamic by itself (no oil!) onto the salad and it was simply perfect. I urge you to try and find this balsamic (or something similar). If you can’t find it though, don’t worry. You can still make this salad and substitute another white balsamic in its place.

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad Recipe -- perfect for winter! l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This was a wonderful winter salad. I know I will make this many more times over the coming months. It is easily adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. You can use spinach in place of arugula, raisins instead of cranberries, pecans instead of walnuts, the list goes on.

If you make this, let me know what combinations you try!

 

Roasted Pear and Fennel Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1 unpeeled pear, halved, and then cut into ⅛ inch slices
  • 1 fennel bulb, stems, cores and tough outer layers removed, then cut in half and sliced lengthwise into ⅛ inch thick half-moons
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted*
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 3 large handfuls of arugula
  • Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar (or another White Balsamic of choice)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the fennel and pear slices on the baking sheet, arranging in a single layer. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the fennel and pear. Roast for 20-25 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Watch carefully as to not burn. Remove from the oven and allow the fennel and pear slices to cool.
  2. Arrange a medium salad bowl with the arugula at the bottom. Then add the cooled pear and fennel slices. Sprinkle the cranberries and toasted walnuts on top. Then serve with the Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar.
Notes
* To toast the walnuts either place them on a separate baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven while the pear and fennel are roasting for about 5 minutes (watch them carefully because they will burn quickly). OR heat a medium skillet to medium-high heat and add the walnuts. Toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly. The walnuts will be done when they turn a darker shade of brown and you will be able to smell them toasting.
 

 

Beef and Lamb Gluten-Free Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I think it is safe to say I am slow cooker obsessed.

Let me preface all of this by saying, yes, I know I am WAAAAAY late to the slow cooker game. For a while now, everyone  has been telling me that I needed to get one. Given my busy work schedule and limited time in the evenings, I always acknowledged it would be a very helpful appliance to have in my kitchen. I loved the idea of coming home from a long day of work and having dinner already made and ready to eat!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

When I arrived back to LA last week from my trip to Boston, there was a GIGANTIC package sitting on my porch. I was ecstatic when I opened it up to find a new shiny slow cooker from my brother and sister-in-law for the holidays! Seriously. Perfect. Gift. Remember when I told you Dave is the #1 gift giver? Well, he and Morgan nailed it again.

I broke in my slow cooker this weekend by making a delicious beef stew.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Travis and I prepped everything after breakfast on Sunday morning and then threw it all into the slow cooker for 7 hours.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

I have made beef stews in my dutch-oven before, but despite long cooking times in an oven on very low heat, I still always found the beef was never as tender as I would have liked. I was excited to see what would happen to the beef this time by using the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Holy Moly, was this beef tender! It was falling apart just by the slightest touch from my fork — just the way I like it.

The best part was that when the evening rolled around (Sunday evening always seems to come too soon, doesn’t it?), I didn’t have to do anything! I just stirred in a few final ingredients and the stew was warm and ready to eat!

This was the most delicious beef stew I have ever had. The addition of the brown ale really amps up the flavor in the broth and after slow cooking all day, the beef, carrots, and potatoes were so tender and soaked with rich flavor through and through.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Travis and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was one of those meals where we both sat there not talking to each other, just saying “Mmmmm” with every bite we took.

Yup, I am so hooked on slow cooking. I am honestly sorry I waited this long to try it! If any of you guys have great slow cooker recipes, please pass them my way. I am ready to try everything!

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs trimmed boneless chuck roast, cut into 2 inch pieces (I recommend buying 2.5lbs because once you trim the excess fat it will be about 2 lbs)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced in half and cut into ½ inch thick slices
  • 12oz Nut Brown Ale (I used Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale)
  • 1¼ cups unsalted beef stock, divided* (I used Stock Options Classic Beef Stock)
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Parsley for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Add about a teaspoon of oil to the pan. Add half of the beef to the pan, cook for 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan and place in a heat-proof bowl. Repeat by adding another teaspoon of oil and the remaining beef. Remove the beef and any leftover juices from the pan.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the garlic and onions and saute for about 4 minutes. Add the ale to the pan, scraping down to loosen any bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of stock and the remaining 1¼ teaspoon salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper (*NOTE: If you could only find salted beef stock omit the added salt at this point, but add the pepper). Bring to a simmer.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add the beef, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves and thyme. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
  4. Combine the remaining ¼ cup stock and flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir the flour mixture into the stew and cook for 13-15 minutes until thickened. Stir in the red wine vinegar and dijon. Discard the bay leaves. Serve with fresh parsley.
Notes
**Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

This Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe is a delicious and cozy meal to come home to on a winter evening. Brown ale gives the broth a delicious, rich flavor! l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Desserts Gluten-Free

Healthy Brownie Bites

I have been seeing lots of raw vegan desserts pop up around the internet these days. Some of them intrigue me, but most of the time I sit there and question the fact that combining XYZ ingredients is actually going to taste like a piece of carrot cake, apple pie, or the like. I am all for healthy desserts, but my goal is have the healthier version taste exactly (or better!)  than the real thing. That's why I love desserts like my Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies - they're healthier than the classic chocolate chip cookie, but they taste so gosh-darned freakin' delicious, so you never feel like you're missing anything. Healthy "Brownie Bites" Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite So when I saw this recipe for 3 ingredient recipe for truffles that claimed to taste like healthy brownie bites, I knew I had to give it a whirl.  I thought, "Hey - if they don't turn out well,  at least I only wasted three ingredients!" Healthy "Brownie Bites" Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite So, I set out to make these little bites. At first I wasn't impressed -- they weren't sweet enough for my liking. But, after making a few changes to make them a bit sweeter, I think I made a real keeper. Healthy "Brownie Bites" Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite I was snacking on these all throughout the weekend. As someone who usually craves something sweet right after lunch or dinner, I think these are perfect. You get that sweet chocolate-y fix without loads of calories. Healthy "Brownie Bites" They also transport quite well, so they could be a great healthy dessert to bring to a party this holiday season. Did I mention they are vegan, gluten-free AND dairy-free, so they are bound to please all of your friends with dietary restrictions. If you try them let me know what you think!    
Healthy “Brownie Bites”
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Walnuts (raw, unsalted)
  • ½ cup Dates (pitted)
  • 2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Stevia (or another all-natural sweetener)
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Sweetened or Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (Optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the walnuts in a bowl of a food processor and process until they become like sand (about 45 seconds). Add the dates, cocoa, stevia and vanilla and process until well combined and the mixture looks like brownie batter (about 20 seconds). You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula once or twice to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
  2. Form the dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, rolling to smooth in your hands. Put the shredded coconut in a small bowl or plastic baggie and toss the balls in the coconut. Place the bites in the fridge for about 30 minutes to harden and then they will be ready to serve. I stored mine in the fridge.