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Spinach Balls for St. Patty’s Day {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Spinach Balls for St. Patty’s Day {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Gluten-free Spinach Balls

Gluten-free Spinach Balls, a great appetizer for St. Patrick’s Day or any time!

I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary of being totally wheat-free, but it was last year at a dear friend’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party that I first heard a story from a mutual friend about how how her health and life had been transformed by getting rid of “gluten.”

Gluten??? I didn’t even know what it was… except that I had seen it sold in the baking sections of grocery stores, and I knew it was sometimes added into flours to make better bread. Hmmmm.

She told me how her headaches were gone, her general wellness had improved, she dropped weight, had less hunger, and basically just felt fantastic! I was intrigued to say the least. I had been fighting chronic headaches since my teens, so if there was ANY chance that getting rid of this mysterious GLUTEN could make me feel better, I was 100% open to it. This year, I was able to give her a big hug and tell her that our conversation last year had changed my LIFE, the lives of my guys, and that I had even started a food and health blog which was helping to spread the word to even MORE people! She was touched and happy to have made a real difference. I know just how she feels because I have that warm feeling with every comment I get from readers who let me know that they appreciate this blog!

At last year’s shindig, she browsed the fantastic spread of food, looking for options that were gluten-free. I had brought my traditional spinach balls (made with stuffing mix), and she obviously couldn’t eat those. She settled on some cheese, veggies and dip, and some of the corned beef and vegetables, but the vast majority of foods that people had brought to share were off-limits.

This year I was deciding what to take, and decided to MODIFY my spinach balls to make them gluten-free and low-carb! (I adapted this base recipe.) I replaced the stuffing mix with some extra cheese, smashed pork rinds and a little coconut flour… Success!! They disappeared just as quickly as the original version, and satisfied the growing number of people who were gluten-free! Last year there were a couple people who did not eat gluten… this year there were probably 6 of us, and on top of that, our friends who still eat wheat had taken our needs into consideration and had made some things that were safe as well. What progress!! In addition to the corned beef and cabbage provided by our most fabulous hosts and dear friends, there were the spinach balls, a chocolate cake mint trifle (that I will be posting next 🙂 ), peanut butter cookies, bacon-wrapped BBQ water chestnuts, a variety of cheeses including an amazing Irish goat cheese with herbs, spinach artichoke dip, shrimp cocktail, and a variety of crackers. While not everything was low-carb, it was still fair game for a party in my opinion, and I enjoyed a bit of everything!

Gluten-free Spinach Balls

  • Ready to steam in mircowave

    Ready to steam in microwave

    20oz frozen spinach

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2Tb coconut flour, sifted
  • 1C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1C mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2C plain pork rinds, well-chopped
  • 3/4C butter, melted
  • 1/4C fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Draining excess water

    Draining excess water

    1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb Cooked crumbled bacon

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place spinach, onion and garlic in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cook at full power for about 6 minutes or until the spinach is cooked and onions and garlic is steamed. (Carefully remove plastic wrap to prevent steam burns.)

Spinach mixture

Spinach mixture

Remove excess water from spinach by pressing through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon or with your hands if cool enough. Alternately, you could wrap spinach mixture in good quality paper towels and “wring out”  the excess juice. After spinach is drained, combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, making sure to thoroughly mix together. Make balls 3/4″ to 1″ in size, placing on cookie sheet to bake. Bake approximately 10-12 minutes or until firm and lightly browned at bottom edges.

Ready to cook

Ready to cook on silicone cooking mat

All done!

All done! My son is already asking for me to make these again, when I WON’T be taking them to a party 🙂

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Italian Stuffed Mushrooms {Grain free, Gluten free, Low Carb}

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

An appetizer that we enjoy making at home in a wide variety of flavors, is stuffed mushrooms. Traditional recipes usually call for bread crumbs or some sort, and being gluten free, we no longer use the crumbs, but have no problem finding delicious fillings. This variety was intended to be sort of a pizza-inspired treat. You can use any mixture of ingredients that sounds good to you including cheeses, meats, seafood, veggies, seasonings. This is just one option out of endless possibilities! I honestly did not measure any of the ingredients, just threw them together., so just use your own judgment for amounts, and of course, feel free to change anything that suits you!

*** Another variation would be to use shrimp and seafood as a stuffing with celery, onion, garlic, and make an easy cheese cream sauce instead of using a tomato-based sauce. To think outside the box, consider a cheeseburger filling, a Mexican inspired filling or certainly vegetarian would be great too!

Stuffed MushroomsPizza Stuffed Mushrooms:

  • 10-12 large mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
    (keep stems for another use or dice some for stuffing)
  • Healthy oil
  • diced celery
  • chopped garlic
  • diced ham
  • chopped greens (such as spinach or mustard greens)
  • chopped walnuts
  • fresh chopped basil
  • Italian cheese blend
  • low carb spaghetti sauce (I used Organicville)
  • salt, pepper and seasonings to taste
  1. Heat oven to 400. Clean large button-style mushrooms and remove the stems. Save the stems for another use, or finely dice and include in the stuffing (which I did.)
  2. Place mushrooms rounded side up in a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes just to get a jump on the cooking process.
  3. While caps are cooking, saute filling ingredients except cheese and sauce, and cook to desired done-ness.
  4. Mix filling with enough sauce to coat well, but not runny, mix in chopped basil (or any other herbs and spices as well.)
  5. Remove mushroom caps from oven and turn over (drain mushroom liquid from the pan if needed.) Place a tsp or so of cheese in each cap, then top with about 1Tb of filling and a little more cheese.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and mushrooms are cooked through.
 

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