Allergen-Free French Onion Soup

8 p.m. is a little late to still be waiting on dinner, but I suppose when you cook every night, it ends up being that late anyway.

French Onion Soup (Espinosa Kitchen)

French Onion Soup

(adapted from Cook Yourself Thin)


  • 1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 large onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices crosswise
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme – separated from stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock/broth
  • Allergen/Gluten-Free Bread in a mug (optional)
  • 1 large slice Gruyere or provolone cheese (for those without allergies or sensitivities)
  • 2 Chicken Sausages (Trader Joe’s Spicy Jalapeno)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden (not brown) and nearly melting, about 45 minutes.
  3. Stir in wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Stir in stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  4. If using cheese, add allergen-gluten free bread (if desired) to an oven-safe bowl filled with soup and top with cheese. Melt using broil until cheese is melted. Careful not to burn.
  5. If not using cheese, use allergen/gluten-free bread for dipping on the side.
  6. Saute the Chicken Sausage (1 per bowl of soup) and add to the soup for a balanced meal and extra flavor!

Allergen-Free Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Gosh this soup is so easy. I am recovering from a surgery, so I have been spending a lot of time at home and am not able to cook much, so this recipe looked like a good option since it was simple and in-line with my elimination diet. In order to make this meal balances, I ate some turkey meat on the side as there isn’t a significant source of protein with this soup.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (Espinosa Kitchen)

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup


  • Medium butternut squash
  • 2 baking apples
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 springs fresh thyme
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 apple – diced – as garnish (if desired)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut garlic cloves in half.
  3. Cut squash in half length-wise. Scrap the seeds and strings out with a spoon. Brush the oil over the cut sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves face down on a cookie sheet or baking pan and insert the garlic and thyme sprigs inside the crevice where the seeds used to be. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Peel, core and slice the apples into quarters. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. When the 15 minutes for the squash are done, add the seasoned apples to the pan and bake another 15-20 minutes until apples and squash are tender.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool enough to peel the skin off the squash.
  7. Discard thyme sprigs. Place apples, garlic and squash to a medium pot. Mash with a potato masher.
  8. Add desired amount of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  9. Remove pot from heat and blend using an immersion blender (you can use a food processor, but the immersion blender is way easier. I’d highly recommend investing in one.)
  10. Add coconut milk and blend until smooth (or chunky if you prefer).
  11. Top with apples pieces if desired.

Roasted Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda Soup

WOW! I have really impressed myself with this recipe. Carlos’s father and step-mother came for dinner last last to celebrate Carlos Senior’s birthday. I wanted to try this soup. I found a base recipe and then added what I thought it needed to be perfect. And perfect it was. This is probably my new favorite soup – and it should be yours too! It is THAT good.

Roasted Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda Soup (Espinosa Kitchen)

Roasted Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda Soup


  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 (8oz.) jars roasted red peppers (available at the dollar store), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 1/2  cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash puree (full squash, halved, baked at 400 for 1 hour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk or evaporated milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup or 6 oz. shredded smoked Gouda cheese


  1. Bake butternut squash (if needed).
  2. Heat oil in large soup pot. Add onion and cook – about 3 minutes – until tender.
  3. Add garlic and cook another minute.
  4. Add carrots, roasted red peppers, chicken broth, tomato paste, squash puree, diced tomatoes, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer (uncovered) about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, add milk, and slightly puree using an immersion blender. Be sloppy about this blending as the more chunks there are in the soup the better.
  6. Return soup to heat, add cheese and fresh basil. Cook until cheese is melted.
  7. Top with additional basil if desired for garnish.

Spinach and Artichoke Melt

My friend Stephanie was in town recently for about a month. We went o middle school and high school together and she has since gotten married, moved to Colorado, and had 2 children. Luckily (for me) her parents still live in  Winona, so I get to see her at least once a year. This was the dinner I made when she brought her handsome son Ben over for dinner. (By the way, Ben is such a snuggle bug!) Her other son, Tyler, didn’t join us that night, but he did have  fantastic time with Carlos earlier in the week when he took him out on the lake for his first canoe ride and kite flying!

Spinach and Artichoke Melts

Spinach & Artichoke Melt

Click the link above to try out our delicious dinner.

The only thing I changed in this recipe is I used fresh spinach instead of frozen. GOOD choice!

Hummus Veggie Pita

For the last few weeks, I have been on a lactose-free diet (doctor’s orders). This pita sandwich has become my lunch staple. Even if I eat at my desk, I pull out my ingredients and make my lunch in front of my computer. I get giggles from my co-workers, but boy is it worth it! This is delicious! Seriously, who needs cheese? (Well, I do…. but I can’t admit that right now!)

Hummus Veggie Pita

Hummus Veggie Pita


  • 1 whole-wheat pita or flatbread
  • 3 Tablespoons Hummus (my recipe)
  • 6 slices cucumber
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/8 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds (optional)


  1. Spread hummus over flatbread so it covers it like pizza sauce.
  2. Lay cucumbers in 2 rows of 3.
  3. Top one side with shredded carrots (store-bought shredded or shredded in a food processor)
  4. Top one side with sprouts.
  5. Add sunflower seeds if desired.
  6. Top with mayonnaise if desired.

*Note: You really don’t need the mayonnaise on this sandwich, but honestly, I have had it both ways, and the mayonnaise adds the perfect kick. It’s a nice compliment to the hummus and vegetables.

Pan-Fried Tofu

Tofu is my new favorite addition to cold lunch salads. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who usually cooks it for me. If you don’t have that luxury, you can do it yourself!

Pan-Fried Tofu (Espinosa Kitchen)

Pan-Fried Tofu


  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari (real Soy Sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste or Sriracha

Cooking Tofu:

  1. Place tofu between paper towels and under a large book to release excess moisture.
  2. Dice into small squares and toss in cornstarch.
  3. Heat EVOO in large sauce pan.
  4. Sauté tofu with tamari and chili garlic or Sriracha for about 5 minutes, tossing half way through.

Lemon-Basil Quinoa Vegetable Salad

Working two jobs creates limited time to make lunches. I have really been excited to make this recipe and perfect it to my liking. I haven’t been writing on here as often lately due to various medical issues, but I hope to tackle this issue and resolve it soon so I can move on with my life and enjoy my favorite hobbies, such as blogging, again. Thanks for being so patient and supporting my enthusiasm for making delicious food! Thanks for reading!

Lemon Basil Quinoa Vegetable Salad (Espinosa Kitchen)

Lemon-Basil Quinoa Vegetable Salad


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth)
  • 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ pint halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (or green if desired)
  • 1 cup corn (frozen, thawed)
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 green onions
  • 3-5 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • Extra-Firm Tofu (2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon EVOO, and 1 tablespoon tamari)

{For the dressing}:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Rinse quinoa, and cook according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and basil. Set aside.
  3. Sauté peppers, onion, and mushrooms.
  4. Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Pour dressing over top and mix well to combine.

Cooking Tofu:

  1. Place tofu between paper towels and under a large book to release excess moisture.
  2. Dice into small squares and toss in cornstarch.
  3. Heat EVOO in large sauce pan.
  4. Sauté tofu with tamari for about 5 minutes, tossing half way through.

Note: I divide the salad into lunch-sized containers and top with tofu. This is perfect for cold lunches.