Gnocchi with Zucchini, Corn & Basil

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Summer in Boston doesn’t always arrive in June like it should. With a sunny, 75-degree weekend, though, we’re almost there! This dish has warm-weather flavors in every bite with lots of sweet corn (frozen from last summer) and fresh basil. I added chicken sausage to make the meal more filling, but you could leave it out to make the dish vegetarian.

When I started eating for acid reflux, the new pasta prep methods were so tough to get used to. Pasta needs to be dressed lightly, as too much oil leads to heartburn; tomatoes, onions, and garlic are all forbidden. When I saw this recipe on the Iowa Girl Eats blog, I knew it was perfect for The Low-Acid Kitchen. I used gnocchi because their texture lends them to being enjoyed plain rather than smothered in sauce.

If you’re looking to impress a dining companion, I recommend using regular gnocchi in this dish; the color contrast with the sausage would look nicer. In these photos I used whole-wheat gnocchi to get the extra fiber. You will enjoy the meal either way!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 16 oz whole-wheat gnocchi
  • 2 links sweet Italian chicken sausage (optional)
  • 2 tsp lemon olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn, frozen
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped and divided
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi then spread in one layer and saute undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Toss them and continue sauteing at medium heat for 3-4 more minutes. Remove from the skillet and set gnocchi aside.
  2. Meanwhile, if you’re using the sausage, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Chop the sausage and saute for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the lemon oil to the gnocchi skillet at medium-low heat, and then add the zucchini, corn, onion powder, thyme, and coriander. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt to taste, add half of the basil, and saute for 30 more seconds.
  4. Turn off the burner. Add the broth and parmesan cheese to the corn mixture and stir to combine. Add the gnocchi and sausage and stir, adding more cheese to taste. Serve topped with the remaining basil. IMG_5498
  5. To reheat leftovers, add a spoonful of broth (or water) to each portion and heat in the microwave. Top with parmesan cheese and more fresh basil, if you have it.
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Serves 4. Active and total time 20 minutes. Adapted from http://iowagirleats.com/2013/02/14/crispy-gnocchi-with-zucchini-sweet-corn-and-basil/

 

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Schoolhouse Pizza: Chicken, Artichoke & Pesto Pizza

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Trying to eat less pizza has been a struggle since I started meal planning to prevent heartburn. As a native Chicagoan, I used to eat pizza many times each week. Now the acidic tomatoes, pungent garlic, and high-fat cheese make pizza a GERD problem. Still, I refuse to stop my experiments.

I thought I had figured it out. Schoolhouse Pizza in Quincy has a surprisingly highbrow menu for the South Shore of Boston. I haven’t found any other neighborhood joints with arugula, grilled pears, and truffle oil as toppings or salad fixings. I thought the CPA pizza would be perfect: pesto, artichoke hearts, grilled chicken, and a bit of cheese.

I miscalculated on this one, however. I expected a light smear of pesto on the crust, but instead, the pizza came with red sauce and with a generous helping of pesto. There must have been a half-cup of the green stuff on this pizza, and it oozed oil everywhere. Check out the leftovers on my plate.

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Sadly, I have to label this meal a restaurant FAIL for heartburn. However, I recommend Schoolhouse Pizza to anyone who’s not trying to prevent GERD. You won’t find better pizza or salad in the neighborhood. This one caused me GERD grief, but it certainly tasted great.

Cook & Party: Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi

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At-home cooking classes are great! Cook & Party brings ingredients, dishes, and wine to your NYC apartment and helps you make delicious Italian food. I wouldn’t have thought to make gnocchi at home, but it was easy to do. If you’re willing to clean up the flour later, this makes for a really fun evening.

These gnocchi have ricotta cheese instead of potato—which Chef Chiara said actually makes them lighter. Although cheese is high in fat, a small portion of these gnocchi won’t irritate heartburn. The difficult part is deciding how to serve them. We made a Sicilian sauce with tomato, eggplant, and basil.

The tomatoes (along with all of the wine I drank) made this a very bad night for GERD. I should have set aside some of the sauteed eggplant before the tomatoes were added. The gnocchi would be delicious lightly dressed with eggplant, a little olive oil, and fresh basil. Chiara also suggested the combination of olive oil and sage.

I’m going to experiment with this recipe to see if I can make the gnocchi more reflux-friendly. Adding some whole-wheat flour and reducing the cheese are on my to-do list. But even as is, these are a great option for impressing dinner guests, as long as you choose an appropriate sauce.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and knead until a dough forms. If it’s very sticky, add a bit more flour.
  2. Flour the surface of a clean counter and knead the dough until completely smooth. Roll it into logs about 1 inch thick, and use a floured knife to cut them into 3/4-inch pieces of gnocchi. Arrange them on a floured baking sheet as you go. IMG_4708
  3. Boil a large pot of water and add a pinch of salt. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook briefly (2 to 3 minutes), just until they float to the surface. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Serves 6. Recipe courtesy Cook & Party.

Chicken, Butternut & Basil Stir-Fry

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Butternut squash isn’t a traditional ingredient for stir-fry or Chinese food, but it works so well here. The starchy consistency means you don’t need rice, and that makes the meal a lot easier to put together. Also, I can’t get enough winter squash during this time of year.

A down side to the dropping temperatures is that my basil plant needed to be retired. The leaves were getting brown edges, and I knew the first frost could happen anytime. I stripped off every leaf, even the pea-sized babies. This translated to 1 cup of leaves and inspired me to add a basil explosion to this stir fry. Thank you, basil plant, for your contributions this year! I will be purchasing one of your cousins in the spring.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt
  • 6 chicken tenders or 2 small chicken breasts
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 heaping tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the butternut squash and chop it into small pieces.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Arrange squash evenly on the sheet and coat with cooking spray. Roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
  3. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the surface with cooking spray.
  4. In a small bowl, mix oregano, thyme, onion powder, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Dice the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Coat with the spice mix. IMG_4793
  6. When the pan is very hot, add the chicken in a single layer. Lower the heat to medium. Add the ginger, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce and stir to coat evenly. Cook until chicken is just cooked through, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  7. When the squash is done, immediately add it to the hot pan along with the chicken. Add the basil leaves and olive oil and stir to coat. Serve immediately (before the basil wilts too much). IMG_4799
Serves 3 to 4.

Carrot-Basil Mini Frittatas

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I’m on a breakfast kick, and mini frittatas are my favorite outcome from this morning-food extravaganza. They solve the problem of how to serve eggs to a group—bake them all at once! Also, the mini size is so darn cute.

These are easy to make; the only difficulty is in removing them from the pan. Use cooking spray, even if your muffin pan is nonstick. Allow the frittatas to cool for a few minutes after cooking, and use a rubber spatula to pop them out. If you leave them in the pan too long, they’ll be difficult to remove. Try running a toothpick around the edge of each frittata before prying them loose with the spatula.

Basil and piquillo peppers are the stars of this dish. That makes the flavors a bit Italian, but you could serve these alongside anything at a brunch. None of your dining partners will guess that these are low in fat, with only two egg yolks in the entire batch!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 pieces piquillo or roasted red pepper (2 tbsp chopped)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard-sized muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium in a nonstick skillet. Add the carrots and cook for about 7 minutes until softened.
  3. Rinse the piquillo peppers under cool water and dry very well. Chop and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and onion powder until very well blended. Add cheese, peppers, parsley, basil, and carrots; mix well. Spoon or pour evenly into the muffin cups. Each cup should be about two-thirds full.
  5. Bake until just set, 20 to 22 minutes. The tops will not be browned, but the edges will be when you take the frittatas out of the pan. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan with a rubber spatula.
  6. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. Reheat in the microwave for about 60 seconds.

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Makes 12 mini frittatas; serves 4 to 6. Adapted from http://www.incredibleegg.org/recipes/recipe/muffin-frittatas