recipe: mini turkey zucchini meatloaves (#Whole30 compliant!)

If you feel like everyone and their brother, sister and second-cousin-twice-removed is doing the January Whole 30 this month, you’re right. I’ve noticed the same thing. And after a (somewhat secret) stint of three weeks of the eating program back in late October/early November, I jumped back on the bandwagon on January 3rd.

If you’re not familiar with Whole 30, here’s the basic idea: plenty of whole foods, and no grains, gluten, dairy, alcohol and a few other things I’m not missing nearly as much.  That said, I truly believe there are two main keys to Whole 30 success:

1) SUPPORT. I’m a member of two Whole 30 “support” groups on Facebook — the Harness Cycle‘s 31-day {JANUARY RESET} and a Cleveland Whole 30 Support Group (which has members from an array of states). Being able to post in a group of like minded folks that you’re insanely craving chocolate mid-work-day-stress to get encouragement to put away the Malley’s — plus plenty of ideas for other ways to embrace the foods you CAN eat — goes a long way.

2) FOOD PREP. One of my favorite Sunday afternoon pastimes include slow cooking proteins, roasting various vegetables and playing around with new recipes. This Sunday was no different, making a whole chicken in the pot crock, preparing 16 pounds of spaghetti squash I found at Whole Foods on sale and being inspired by my latest Door To Door Organics delivery. The organic ground turkey, zucchini, onion and garlic staring back at me longed to get creative, break out my muffin pan and prepare myself with a Whole 30 complaint protein offering that I could eat anytime of day — plus sneak a few veggies in at the same time.


Mini Turkey Zucchini Meatloaves

Makes 12 mini meatloaves


  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 egg, yolk and whites
  • 1/3 small white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients without over-mixing.

Lightly grease a twelve portion, medium-size-muffin muffin pan with olive oil or ghee/clarified butter. Distribute the mixture between all twelve spots of the pan evenly. Smooth out the tops of each mini meatloaf with a spoon.

Bake mini meatloaves for about 25 or so minutes, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven, loosen the meatloaves from the pan’s sides and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Eat immediately (great with a variety of sauces and sides) or store in air tight container for future meals.

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recipe: Pasta “Fellini” (inspired by Little Italy’s La Dolce Vita)

After our big anniversary night out at Dinner Lab and far too many weekends away from my kitchen during the month of September, I felt like continuing our celebration via a meal at home this past Saturday evening.

I swung by Heinen’s after a solid class at Ride + Workout that morning and splurged a few of our favorite things: a Delmonico steak for Hans, a piece of wild caught salmon for me, and the ingredients for one of Hans’ favorite pasta dishes.

Inspired by a meal we had a Little Italy’s La Dolce Vita many anniversaries dinners ago, I recreated the sauce my redhead still talks about — a blend of tomatoes, pancetta, gorgonzola & parmesan. I did my best to recreate their “Fellini” sauce – at least I’m pretty sure that’s the name that the La Dolce Vita team actually calls it. For our (and this blog’s) purposes, it stuck — much like this sauce does to the right noodle.

pasta a la fellini la dolce vita

Pasta “Fellini”

For 2 large servings or 4 smaller servings for sides

  • 1 cup of dry short cut pasta* (your many options here, thanks to Wikipedia)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pancetta, diced
  • 2/3 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
  • Pinch of salt (to start, season to taste later)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 cup of cream (milk if you’re in a pinch)
  • ¼ cup of gorgonzola, plus extra for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup of parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling

Heat a pot of water to boil. Add pasta to water when at rolling boil. Cook pasta to right before it gets al dente (you’ll finish cooking it in the sauce, so reserve some of the pasta water, just in case.)

In a large sauté pan set to medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add garlic, dropping the temperature to medium. Sauté for one minute.

Add pancetta, cooking for 2 minutes before adding the grape tomatoes, salt (go easy as there’s salt in the meat), and pepper. Sauté on medium-low until tomatoes start to break down, about 5-10 minutes. Add cream and stir, deglazing all that flavor off the bottom of the pan.

Heat the sauce to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cooked pasta and stir. Simmer until pasta has soaked up the sauce, about 5 minutes. (If it needs a bit more moisture to finish melding flavors, add a very small about of pasta water now.) Stir in gorgonzola and parmesan. Turn off heat and allow cheese to melt into sauce/pasta combo.

Serve, sprinkling pasta with remaining cheese and enjoy.

*For my gluten free friends — this dish is easily made GF by the subbing of your favorite gluten free pasta!

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recipe: Grandma Olga’s Apple Cake (with gluten free option!)

hans and alicia apple picking

Go apple picking. Decide what recipes to make. And on my mom’s side of the family, we don’t make apple pies — we make apple cake.

Since going gluten free five years ago, my baking hobby wained. But as GF options started to improve, I started to dabble. And with the cool temperatures of Fall upon us, I dug out an old family recipe, make some easy breezy substitutions and have been enjoying one of my childhood favorites for breakfast (and lunch and snack time) all week long…

apple cake

Grandma Olga’s Apple Cake

Makes 12 servings

  • 6 medium sized apples (any variety good for baking works), peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider (if available)
  • 2 cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill “All Purpose” Gluten Free Flour for gluten free eating)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (use GF if needed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Combine apples and sugar in bowl. Let sit for one hour, stirring occasionally. Towards end of hour, pour in apple cider.

Preheat oven to 350*.

In a separate bowl, combine the other wet ingredients: oil, eggs and vanilla. Pour into apple/sugar mixture and stir.

In another separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt

Combine the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing by hand to incorporate until batter is smooth.

In a 9 x 13 greased baking pan, pour the batter, evenly distributing the apples. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until dark golden brown (in cinnamon will make it darker than you expect) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

**p.s. this goes EXCELLENTLY with Pope’s Kitchen‘s Fig and Cocoa spread that I purchased at the Cleveland Garlic Festival this past weekend!

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