Italian Meatball Burgers

by Susan on August 31, 2014

Now that Labor Day weekend is upon us, rather than focus on being sad about summer’s departure I’m going to instead focus on the positives: tons of great fresh produce.

For today’s burgers I used basil from our garden, and served them up alongside our family’s favorite grain-free “breaded” zucchini fries. The zucchini was the perfect alternative fry to compliment the Italian flavors of the burger.

These burgers were so easy to make and unbelievably delicious! While my kids enjoyed theirs on ciabatta, I enjoyed mine straight up (the basil and marinara sauce made this a perfect knife-and-fork burger).

As written this Cooking Light recipe was already gluten-free (sans the bun, of course!). Skip the cheese to keep it dairy-free.

Italian Meatball Burgers
adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage (turkey or pork)
1 tbs. chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/2. tsp. crushed fennel seeds
salt & garlic powder
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 cup shredded sharp provolone cheese (optional)
6 large basil leaves
6 tbs. organic marinara sauce

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Remove casings from sausage. Combine sausage, chopped basil, and next 5 ingredients (through ground sirloin) in a medium bowl. Divide beef mixture into 6 equal portions with moist hands, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press thumb in center of each patty, leaving a nickel-sized indentation.

Grill burgers for 6 minutes. Turn burgers over; grill 2 minutes. Sprinkle cheese (if using) evenly over burgers, and grill 6 minutes. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes.

Serve burgers drizzled with marinara sauce and topped with basil leaves (on ciabatta buns, if you do gluten).


Grain-Free Stuffed Pepper Casserole

by Susan on August 30, 2014

grain-free stuffed pepper casserole

I love stuffed vegetables: mushrooms, peppers, zucchinis… you name it. My kids, on the other hand, tend to like the “stuff” inside but are less enthusiastic about the vessel containing it.

I found this creative recipe for a stuffed pepper casserole on Plaid & Paleo which seemed like the perfect compromise. The peppers are chopped up within the casserole, so while it’s less pretty to look at it’s a bit more kid-friendly. The recipe also uses cauliflower rice in lieu of traditional; with all of the other elements going on here, it’s practically impossible to tell that the dish contains cauliflower.

This is a perfect dish for busy weeknight and school days, as you can prep it quickly and then have it ready to bake at dinnertime. The recipe is both gluten and grain-free, and can be dairy-free if you choose to not melt any cheese on top.

Grain-Free Stuffed Pepper Casserole
adapted from Plaid & Paleo

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
2 minced shallots
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 cups organic marinara
3 medium green peppers, chopped
2 tbs. worcestershire
salt, pepper and garlic powder (to taste)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (lessen or omit if you don’t want any zip)
4 whisked eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add beef and onions and cook until meat is no longer pink.

While meat is cooking, run cauliflower through a food processor to create “rice.”

Add cauliflower to a large bowl along with chopped peppers and marinara sauce. Add cooked beef and shallots. Season with worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic powder and pepper flakes. Mix well.

Stir in eggs and mix again. Spread mixture into a large casserole dish. Sprinkle on cheese, if using.

Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, or until firm. Finish casserole off under the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp the topping, if desired.


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