Mango Jalapeño Salsa.


*Stamped spoon can be found at:

Sometimes you need to lighten up a gray day with some tropical salsa.  Today, is a bit gray and going to be rainy… I thought this would be the perfect way to brighten up dinner.  I make this salsa early and let the flavors blend in the fridge until dinner.  Top over grilled chicken, pork or fish.  Or eat it straight up with tortilla chips.  Perfect for a party!


2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
2 green spring onions, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds removed (or left in if you like the heat), finely diced
1-2 tablespoons of a better quality balsamic vinegar


Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl.  Give a good toss and let the flavors develop for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.  Remove right before serving and add additional balsamic if necessary.

— Knead to Cook

Classic Hummus.



If you’ve never made hummus, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Store bought hummus pales in comparison.  This took me about 3 minutes to make.  It tastes unbelievably good and can be used as a dip, sandwich spread… whatever!  So healthy and even the kids love it!  I made it for a party that we’re having tonight to serve with some fresh veggies.  Chips, pretzels, crackers… they all work as a delivery vehicle :)


2 15 ounce cans of low sodium chickpeas (One drained and rinsed, one with liquid)
1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of water
4 garlic cloves, smashed (skin removed)
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt


Add everything to your Vitamix or blender.  If you using a Vitamix, set to Puree and let it run.  If using a blender or food processor, blend until smooth and creamy.  Remove and store in a container with a lid.

*Recipe loosely adapted from Vitamix cookbook.

— Knead to Cook

Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf Muffins. Wheat-free.




I have a few recipes I still wanted to try and review for my dear friend Lauren.  Her wheat-free cookbook is fabulous.  Last night I tried the Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf and made it in a muffin pan for easy serving.  Everyone loved it!  It was so tasty and she was right… didn’t miss the breadcrumbs at all!

1⁄4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1⁄2 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (20-ounce) package ground chicken (or turkey or lean ground beef) -I used lean turkey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, and 1 egg white
1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground rosemary
1 teaspoon ground basil
3⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated (I used Feta)


  1. Bring the quinoa and broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15–20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.
  4. Inalargebowladdthechicken,cookedquinoa, onions, garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, egg and egg white, salt, pepper, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese. Mix until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet. I scooped my mixture into muffin pans and baked it that way.  I did spray the tins with olive oil.
  5. Bake until no longer pink in the center, 50–60minutes (muffins took about 30 minutes). An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160°F. Let the meat loaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

— Knead to Cook

Chocolate–Peanut Butter Chobani Smoothie. Wheat-free.


I made another fantastic recipe from Lauren’s book!  The giveaway is tomorrow night (check my Facebook page for how to enter).  My daughter and father guzzled this one down faster than I blink.  Glad I snapped some pics first!


This smoothie is so delicious, you won’t even believe that it is healthy!

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until thick and creamy. Serve immediately.

Looking to Add More Protein to Your Smoothie?
Protein powder is an easy way to increase your protein, especially in smoothies. There are many varieties of protein powders. Read your labels carefully to make sure the protein powders have no ingredients containing wheat.


2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
1⁄2 banana, frozen
1⁄2 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1⁄2 cup vanilla Chobani yogurt
1⁄2 teaspoon wheat-free vanilla extract 4–5 ice cubes


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until thick and creamy. Serve immediately.

— Knead to Cook

Indian Style Chicken with Lentils and Chobani.

I always feel the need to apologize for not taking pictures (when I do this) during daylight hours but with winter time here and some late night dinners… I have to work with what I’ve got.

As you know, I’m doing a joint giveaway with my awesome friend Lauren Kelly who wrote the following book:

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Our giveaway is this Friday and the details are listed on my Facebook page on how to enter.  I jumped at the chance to try some recipes from this book.  So far, both recipes have knocked my socks off!  Yesterday I made her oatmeal cookie bars – to die for.  Last night for dinner, I made this Indian Style Chicken with Lentils and my all time fave Chobani.  Everyone loved it and we had no leftovers!  {good sign.}


1 cup lentils (I used pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s last night.)

3 cups water

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (I used 4 but I love garlic)

1 medium onion, peeled and finely minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin

1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup plain Chobani Greek low fat yogurt

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (I used Sriracha)


  1. Preheat broiler.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the lentils and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
  3. Just before the lentils are cooked (when barely tender, after about 25 minutes), add 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic, onion, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper flakes and parsley.
  4. Toss the chicken with the yogurt, curry powder, remaining salt, and Tabasco sauce. Place chicken on foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes per side.
  5. Mix the chicken into the lentils and serve with rice.




— Knead to Cook

Cranberry Apple Granola Cookie Bars.


My very sweet friend Lauren Kelly is a certified nutritionist and new author of:


Lauren is generously sharing a signed copy with a lucky winner and fan of Knead to Cook on Facebook this Friday, February 8th, 2013.  I couldn’t wait to dive in and start testing out some recipes.  Today I tried the Cranberry Apple Granola Cookie Bars.  I did use almonds in lieu of walnuts (prefer almonds more) and I omitted the cranberries because my oldest isn’t a fan.  My review… they are heavenly!!!  I highly HIGHLY recommend these.  And they are totally wheat free! They are totally flexible too.  You can add cherries, raisins, whatever nut you prefer.  The end result… perfection!  Love Lauren and her recipes!



3 cups wheat-free rolled oats

3⁄4 cup walnuts ( I used slivered almonds), finely chopped

3⁄4 cup ground flax seed

1⁄3 cup almond meal

1⁄2 cup shredded coconut

1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt

11⁄4 cups honey

1 teaspoon wheat-free vanilla extract

2 ounces dried cranberries, unsweetened (optional)

2 ounces dried apple slices, unsweetened


These bars are like a cookie and a granola bar in one. There is no need to buy the store bought granola bars anymore. These are healthy and delicious.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, walnuts (or whatever nut you prefer), flax, almond meal, coconut, and salt. Place on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Dissolve honey and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. Remove dry ingredients from the oven and pour into a bowl. Lower oven to 300°F. Grease 9″ × 13″ glass dish with cooking spray.
  5. Mix honey mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, add the cranberries and apples.
  6. Pour into greased dish and spread out evenly.  Use rubber spatula to press down evenly. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Let cool for at least 1 1⁄2-2 hours to harden.


— Knead to Cook

Gambino family sauce & meatball recipe.


I grew up in the most basic, tiny (I mean seriously tiny) kitchen with two amazing cooks that shaped my life by turning out mouth-watering, delectable foods.  I’ve taken those recipes and put my fingerprint on them and today, my family enjoys my grandmother & aunt’s food with a touch of me.  Now, I don’t stick with one specific hardcore recipe.  I morph recipes to suit my mood.  This recipe represents me today.

Sauce and meatballs to an Italian, are staples, much like a chicken soup is when you’re sick.  I strive to be healthy, working out and eating right but I will NEVER give up pasta.  I can’t even fathom how to do that.  With that, here is my recipe.



3/4 cup of bread crumbs or panko (seasoned or plain)
1 egg
2 teaspoons of salt
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 of a yellow onion, finely diced
Hot pepper flakes
1/2 lb of each – ground sirloin, ground pork and ground veal


In a large mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, garlic, onion and hot pepper flakes.  Once mixed, add the meat and blend well without over-mixing.

In a large skillet with about 1/2 cup of olive oil, heat over medium flame.  Once hot, use a melon baller and scoop out the meatballs and place into the skillet cautiously (the oil may spray up).  Cook until a nice crust is on each side (about 2-3 minutes).  Then remove and place on a paper towel lined plate tto soak up the excess oil.  Work in batches and avoid over-crowding.  Once all of the meatballs are browned, gently place them in the sauce to finish cooking.  Be cautious when stirring not to break them up.



1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped into small pieces
2 cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each)
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of a better quality red wine
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
3 tablespoons of dried parsley or 1/4 cup of fresh
2 tablespoons of Italian Seasonings
Olive oil
Optional:  grated parmesan (for garnishing)
Fresh basil (for garnishing)


In a large Dutch oven (I used Le Creuset) over medium heat,  pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of your pan.  Add your onion, garlic, carrots and green peppers.  Cook this down for about 6-8 minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and then turn down to the lowest setting.  Cover and simmer for at least 3+ hours.  I normally let this simmer for about 6 hours.

Cook your favorite pasta according to package instructions.  Top with your sauce and enjoy!  Grate parmesan atop if you prefer or add fresh basil.

— Knead to Cook