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Although we do love returning to old favorites, I find it more exciting to find a new dish and bring something fresh to the dinner table.  For some reason, many of our recent side dishes have consisted of some form of potatoes, and it was time for a change.  I was juggling (yet another) busy afternoon, and needed something that could be ready quickly and/or prepare itself (ie- crockpot).  Perusing Make it Fast, Cook it Slow, I came across a recipe I’d never tried before- Corn Risotto.  I had all of the ingredients and it would cook in two hours- just long enough to run around town and come back to find it ready.  I decided to pair it with chicken apple sausage (love me some Trader Joe’s- no pork casing!) and a green veggie to accompany it.  I loved the look of this Easy Sautéed Spinach recipe, especially since the blogger used step-by-step photos that looked so appealing.  I washed the spinach and left it out to dry, so that I could throw everything together quickly when we got home.

Corn Risotto & Sauteed Spinach

After its two hours of cooking, the Corn Risotto needs a few final minutes once you stir in the last two ingredients (cream and Parmesan cheese- although I used light half-and-half instead of cream).  This was just long enough to cook the spinach.  I then quickly pan-fried the chicken sausage, and dinner was truly ready in no time.  I skipped the cayenne pepper in the risotto since we don’t like things spicy, and everyone was really pleased with the meal.  Risotto was a fun side dish, and made in the crockpot, really couldn’t have been easier.  The spinach was delicious, and had enough flavor to overcome any bitterness sometimes present in cooked spinach.

Discovering an interesting side dish can add flare to an otherwise boring meal. Share your favorite side dishes with our readers so we can all try something new! To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.

I was going through my recipes recently and stumbled upon one I’d near forgotten about. This was a dinner I’d made fairly frequently and the whole family enjoyed. I dusted it off, made it for dinner, and it was so good I had to make it again a week later. Simple, nutritious, gluten-free, and vegetarian… what’s not to love? It’s one of those quick dinners that comes together in a flash; in fact, you could even mix the ingredients together in advance for an even faster meal.

Quesadilla

Black bean and zucchini Quesadillas

2 zucchini or yellow squash, shredded
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes, diced; or a can of diced tomatoes, spiced such as Rotel if desired
optional- 1/2 cup orange pureed vegetable (pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato)
shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican)
avocado
sour cream
8 brown rice or whole wheat tortilla wraps

In a large bowl, mix black beans, shredded zucchini, tomatoes, and orange puree if using. Put tortilla on sprayed griddle or in frying pan, sprinkle with cheese, spoon on black bean mixture. Top with a little more cheese and fold in half. Cook until tortilla browns and cheese starts to melt; flip and brown other side. Top with sour cream and avocado, if desired.

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