Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Gird your loins, cuz this is one long paleo party.  I am going to preface these recipes by reinforcing that this is a Thanksgiving Meal.  Capital Tee capital Em.  While I follow a Paleo diet and agree with the idea of keeping the usage of things like honey and clarified butter to a minimum, as far as I'm concerned they are quite welcome in a setting such as this.  It's Thanksgiving, not an every day occasion.  So if you prefer not to use them, more power to ya.  You could substitute coconut oil and/or just deal with no sweetness in your pumpkin pie.  But I promise you the flavors will sing if you make the following as listed.

I was really excited to plan this dinner and went back and forth on trying certain things, but ended up with the following menu:

The Turkey, and onions
Sweet Potato Stuffing
Yams & Apples
Brussel Sprouts with bacon, celery root and onions
Garlicky Green Beans
Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Baked Apples
Coconut Milk Ice cream

You will probably be familiar with many of the above recipes but perhaps not all of them.  I grew up having the Yams & Apples (family recipe y'all) and hope you'll find it an excellent substitution for your usual yams, especially if you're used them being donned with marshmallows.  The turkey is for the most part, your typical turkey, but I added a bit of my own flair to it.  It is important to note that I started preparing this meal the day before, and I have posted the recipes below in order of how I prepared them.  I also have two ovens in my home, so if you were to cook all of the above it may take some extra planning work to get it all done.

Lastly, I was so excited to eat once the food was all done, and by how well it came out, that I completely forgot to take pictures of the dishes.  L.A.M.E. I know.  Isn't the whole point of this to show you how to prepare a paleo thanksgiving of your own?  And what's a recipe without pictures?  Ugh.  Luckily I have awesome friends who took a few pictures for me, but you'll just have to trust me and the 12 people I had over for dinner, that everything is scrumptious.  I mean flat out tasty.  Can I say that about my own food?  Cuz I just did.  If you try any of these recipes, please let me know how you liked them! 

To Do The Day Before:

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

1 - 15 oz can organic pumpkin (not the pie filling - helloooo sugar!)
1 - 15oz can regular coconut milk, not lite
Scant 1/2 cup dark agave nectar (scant means a little less than)*
2 small eggs, or 1 jumbo
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
few shakes of cloves, pinch of salt

*I used dark agave nectar.  I've also seen agave that was clear, and I'm sure that would be good too, but I thought the darker one gave it more of a molasses-type flavor, reminiscent of gingerbread when it's all said and done.  Honey would work too if you're all out of agave.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, add the pumpkin, coconut milk and agave nectar.  Mix well with a whisk.  Add in the eggs and whisk to blend.  Then add in the spices and whisk again.  Pour into a 9-inch pie plate greased with coconut oil, and bake for about 70-75 minutes.  The pie is done when the edges are dark and set, and the center isn't too jiggly.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.  Refrigerate overnight.

Important Note: towards the end my pie was bubbling and looked like craters might be forming.  This is okay.  No, your typical pumpkin pie doesn't look like the moon or volcanic eruptions, but it will still taste awesome.  Maybe this means I needed to turn the temperature down, but then it would have taken longer to bake :).  I also successfully doubled the recipe above, while decreasing the eggs to 3 small and cooked it in a 9x13 baking pan for about 80 minutes.  Check it every 5-7 minutes after the first 60 just in case. 

Baked Apples

Just a time saver tip...while the crustless pumpkin pie is baking, begin coring the apples and mixing the filling, especially if you have only one oven.  You can easily double the baked apple recipe, you just may end up with a little extra filling.  You will be thankful, trust me on this one.  I had extra filling (I made 10 apples) and happily ate it the following day for breakfast.  Tasted like cookie dough, no joke.

After baking the apples I let them cool to room temp and then placed them all on a baking sheet in the fridge.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

1 - 12oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 large orange
Honey to taste (about 1/3 cup or more)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, pour in the cranberries and get them warmed up.  Then zest the orange and add into the pan.  Juice the orange and add this into the pan as well.  Stir to combine and continue stirring occasionally until the cranberries are really cooking.  They will start to pop and kind of fall apart.  This is good.  After stirring for about 8 minutes, cover the berries and let cook over low for another 10 minutes.  If the berries look real dry, add a splash of water before covering.  Then, add in the honey to taste.  Start with 1/4 cup and go up as needed.  I like to keep it tart for a taste contrast with all the other food, but if you're accustomed to the slice-and-go canned variety you may add a smidge more.  Then stir well and continue to cook another few minutes more and take off of the heat.  Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate over night.

To Do The Day Of:

The Turkey, and onions

I will admit that this was my first time cooking my very own Thanksgiving Turkey.  It was a bit of a daunting task, mostly because I had never cooked anything that massive before.  I worried that I wouldn't have enough time to get it cooked, and ended up having a bit too much time, if you know what I mean...  I went here to get basic instructions on cooking a good turkey, and changed it up a bit.  In my worry of not having enough time to cook I put the turkey in an hour early, and it actually cooked a bit longer than it needed to.  It was still delicious, but if I'd stuck to the instructions on that site it would have been perfect.  However, I took the turkey out an hour before we started to eat, and that was perfect timing.  The turkey was still warm but not too hot when we ate it, and for those of you with one oven that will work out perfectly for baking the yams and stuffing after you take the bird out.

1 - 20lb Turkey, thawed that same site tells you how to thaw it out properly also
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons mulling spices, divided
salt and pepper
4 large white onions, quartered

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and make sure the neck, giblets and any other surprises are removed from BOTH ENDS of the bird.  Momma didn't raise no foo' but that doesn't mean we all know where to look for these things.  In a small bowl mix the coconut oil with 2 T of the mulling spices and a few shakes of salt and pepper.  With your hands, separate the skin from the breast of the turkey, trying not to break the skin.  Since my bird was so large I separated half from one side and then turned it around and separated half from the other side of the breast.  Then take your coconut oil mixture and rub this between the skin and the breast meat.  Try to get the mulling spices evenly distributed if you can.  If it looks like you have enough of the mixture on the bird and have leftover, just spread it inside the bird cavity.

Next, shake some sea salt and pepper all over the skin of the bird and rub it in a little with your hands.

Place the bird in a large baking pan with a rack, boobs up, and bake in the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes.  (In my oven, it would only fit on the lower rack).  Watch the oven for the last 5-7 minutes of these 20, as it may begin to smoke out of the oven.  Just open the oven a crack and continue cooking a few more minutes.  Then immediately lower the temperature to 250 degrees and continue cooking for another 20 minutes for each pound of bird.  I know, I know, this temperature seems incredibly low.  But it really produces a moist, tasty bird.

*When the bird has one hour to go for cooking time, add the quartered onions underneath the rack of the turkey along with the remaining 1 tablespoon mulling spices.  Drop it all right into the juices from the turkey, and continue cooking for that last hour.  If you don't have a pan with a rack, just put the onions around the turkey as best you can.

When the turkey's done (between 170-180 degrees) pull it out of the oven and set it on the counter to cool.  Before serving, remove the rack or turkey, and spoon out the onions into a serving bowl along with some of the juices.  Try to remove the big pieces of mulling spices, and just let your guests know to take them off their plates :).

Yams & Apples
The Yams & Apples are in the middle of the above picture.  They aren't fancy, but they are gooooood.

3 large yams (the orange ones)
3 red rome apples*
splash of lemon juice - bottled is fine
6 tablespoons clarified butter, preferably pastured (plus a little to grease the pan)
1/3 cup honey

*These are the deep red ones you only find this time of year.  They are not good for eating like other apples since they are very soft and a bit grainy.  But they are very sweet and awesome for baking.  If you can't find them, other sweet apples will do (no granny smith).

 (If you have one oven then begin this dish when you have about 2 hrs before you plan to eat, and 1 hour of turkey cooking time - allowing 1 hour for the bird to rest while you use the oven).

Cut the yams in half, and place in a large pot of boiling water.  Cook until they are soft on the outside but still a bit firm in the middle, about 20 minutes.  Drain and let them cool so you can easily handle them.

While the yams are cooking, core the apples and slice them into rounds about 1/3 inch thick.  Splash the apples with lemon juice and set aside.  When the yams are cool, remove the peel and slice them into 1/3 inch rounds.

In a 9x13 glass baking pan, coat the bottom with clarified butter.  Place the yam slices on the bottom in an even layer, and top with apple slices.  Repeat one more time to have two alternating layers each of both yams and apples.  In a small mixing bowl whisk together the butter and honey along with another splash of lemon juice, until combined.  Pour this over the yams and apples and set aside to begin baking when you have 60 minutes before you plan to eat.  Then bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes (detailed out below in the stuffing recipe since you'll be cooking them at the same time if you have one oven).

Sweet Potato Stuffing

When I originally planned to do a Paleo Thanksgiving meal, I was going to avoid an attempt at making stuffing.  I didn't think anything would resemble stuffing made with bread, and just wasn't very excited about it.  Then someone had to ask me what I was going to make for stuffing, and I had to go for it.  Mission accomplished.  Trust me when I say that this has all the flavors of stuffing.  It tastes just like the stuffing I grew up with, and BONUS, won't make you feel like you have a brick in your stomach afterwards.

3 large sweet potatoes (the white ones)
4 chicken apple sausages, cooked
2 stalks of celery, halved lengthwise and chopped small
2 braeburn apples, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped into bite sized pieces
Turkey stock (or juices from the turkey pan)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
sea salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.  Toss in a mixing bowl with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and pour onto a large baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.  Turn them over after 10 minutes.

Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the rest.

While the taters are baking, in a small saute pan add the chopped onion with a little olive oil and cook until they begin to carmelize - 10 minutes.  Cut the sausages into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the celery and apples and toss.  Then add in the taters, thyme, sage and turkey stock/juices, and toss carefully with a spoon, trying not to break the sweet potato pieces too much.  Shake a little salt and pepper in there and pour into an oven-proof baking pan with a cover that can go in the oven.  I used a ceramic pot that you see in the above picture - the white one.

At this point you should be about 1 hour out from eating, give or take.  Set your oven to 350 degrees and place the Yams & Apples on one side of the middle rack, and the stuffing pan on the other side.  Bake both of them uncovered for 20 minutes.  After 25 minutes place the cover on the stuffing, leaving the yams uncovered.  Continue baking them both another 35 minutes or until the apples are slightly browned.  Remove both from the oven and allow to cool briefly before digging in.

For the Brussels I began cutting off the ends and slicing in half about 1 hour before we planned to eat - so...after you stick the yams and sweet potatoes in the oven.  While slicing you can cook the bacon on the stove and flip in-between cutting and washing sprouts.  This will also give you time to peel and chop the celery root if you aren't using leftovers.  I actually used 2 cups of leftover celery root/onion mixture from a few weeks ago, that I had put into a ziplock bag and frozen.  So take note, it freezes well :)

Cut the brussels and cook the bacon at the 1 hour marker, but wait to cook them until 30 minutes before you plan to eat, following the cooking directions in the link.

Garlicky Green Beans

This is very, very basic.  I wanted to get one more veggie in the dinner since green beans are a typical staple, and not everyone likes brussell sprouts.  

1.5 pounds haricot verts (fancy for thin green beans)
3 T. clarified butter
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
sea salt and pepper

Wash and trim the green beans.  

In a large saute pan (large enough to hold all the beans) heat the butter with the garlic.  Add in the green beans and cover, cooking 3-4 minutes.  Uncover and stir the beans around in the butter, and continue cooking until the beans are crisp-done.  Salt and pepper them and serve for consumption!!
The above picture is of everything but the pie and baked apples on one plate.  Clockwise from top left: Yams & Apples, The Turkey and onions, Sweet Potato Stuffing, Garlicky Green Beans, Brussel Sprouts with Celery Root and Onions.  Looks like they forgot the cranberry sauce!  Doh!  I know it's a little cramped on that plate, but we had to fit it all on there! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bacon-y Brussels with Celery Root and Onions

Ahhhhhh brussel sprouts.  The vegetable I wouldn't taste until a year ago.  They can stink, that much is true.  But they are also darn tasty if you cook them right (i.e. don't over-cook them).  And who knew they grew in such pretty bunches like in the picture below?  I will assure you that the different flavors in this dish will soften the blow if you are weary of consuming this vegetable, and if you are already a fan, will make them that much tastier!

1.5 pounds of brussel sprouts, washed (or about half of what you’d cut off a fresh stalk)
½ celery root bulb, peeled and cut into strips
1 yellow onion, in ¼ inch slices
1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
4-6 strips of bacon

First off, peel the celery root and cut it into strips like you would in this recipe. If you make the salad with celery root this would be a good recipe to use up the leftovers (hint: that’s exactly what I did here). Slice the onion and add it all to a frying pan along with the oil. Cook over medium heat until the celery root is softened, but still a bit “al dente”. Remove from heat and set aside. If you’re using leftover root and onions, skip to below:

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the strips of bacon and cook until just crispy. While the bacon is cooking, cut the ends off the brussel sprouts and cut them all in half, lengthwise. Remove the bacon and reserve about 1-2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan. At this point, you want to remove any blackened bits that are left behind from the bacon. What I do is I scrape the bottom of the pan and all the black bits to one side of the pan with a spatula. Then tilt the pan with the black bits up and grease at the bottom. Then remove the black stuff with the spatula.

Return the frying pan to the heat and add in the brussel sprouts. Turn to coat them in the bacon grease and lower the heat to medium. Cover the frying pan and continue cooking, turning occasionally, for another 6 or 7 minutes. (while that’s cooking chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces). Add in the bacon, celery root and onions and toss well. Cover again and continue cooking until the sprouts are cooked but not mushy, another 5 minutes or so.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lasagna with Eggplant "Pasta"

When starting out this recipe I wasn't so sure that I would enjoy eating lasagna that did not contain layers of ricotta or cottage cheese along with vats of mozzarella.  I WAS WRONG TO DOUBT.  If you get the meat and tomato sauce packed in with a lot of herbs you will mimic the flavor without needing the cheese.  I did add a little gouda cheese to the top though, to appease the members of my family that eat dairy :).  The key to even cooking here is cutting the eggplant nice and thin.  If you don't react well to eggplant (nightshade) you could sub zucchini slices.  You'll just need a bunch more of them unless you have one of those colossal zucchinis hanging around.

1 eggplant, peeled
1 pound grass fed ground beef
2 links of italian or andoullie sausage (really sausage of your choice)
1/2 onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1.5 cups organic pasta sauce (I used half a 28oz can of Trader Joes tomato basil sauce)
      *Look for a sauce without added sugars and basic ingredients
1 teaspoon mixed italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper
olive or coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Start by peeling the eggplant (you can eat the skin, but when you bake it like this the skin doesn't get that soft, and I prefer to skip the somewhat leathery texture it can have).  Then cut it into 1/4 inch slices, or thinner if you can.  Lightly salt and pepper the slices and let drain on a paper towel for 10 minutes.  This will bring some of the moisture out of the eggplant before baking, so your lasagna doesn't become all soupy. 

While the eggplant is draining, chop up the onion, garlic and add them to a skillet with 1 tablespoon oil.  Cook, stirring often, until onions are transluscent.  Then add in the ground beef and sausage.  Again cook, stirring often until there is very little pink left in the pan.  Then add in the pasta sauce, italian herbs and basil.  Mix all together and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan with oil and cover the bottom with eggplant slices.  Try to cover as much surface area as possible.  I started out using the larges pieces and then took some of the smaller ones to fit in the corners, though it doesn't have to be perfect.  Cover the eggplant with about a third of the meat mixture and spread evenly.  Repeat two more times so you have three layers of eggplant and end with the meat mixture on top.
Pop that sucker in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.  If you aren't able to get the eggplant slices real thin you'll need to cook it for the full 30 minutes.  If you want to top it with cheese, add thin slices of cheese of your choice to the top and bake for the last 10 minutes.

Let the lasagna cool about 5-10 minutes before serving.  Since the eggplant slices don't cut the same as pasta noodles would, I used a sharp knife to cut through it and then pulled out slices with a spatula, that way it doesn't fall apart much.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken with fancy mushrooms (or not) in a creamy sauce

Have any of you ever used chanterelle mushrooms? I work near a small family-owned market and one day heard one of the butchers rave about how much he loves these things and every year when they're in season he sautees a boat-load of them in butter and eats them just like this.  Okay, never having tasted them before, I hesitated (they cost a whopping $17-$20/pound!) but finally bought some when they went on sale the other day.  I ended up making this recipe in two versions...one with fancy mushroms and coconut milk, the other with cheapos and whipping cream.  I liked both versions, but preferred the whipping cream recipe.  Below is a picture of the recipe made with coconut milk, and the picture at the bottom of this post is with whipping cream.  I may get chastized for admitting this, but while I thought the chanterelle's were tasty indeed, I didn't think they were worth repeatedly paying that much for them.  Enjoy!

5 chicken drumsticks (why? they're cheap, but you could use any other piece of the chicken, you would need to adjust cooking time though)
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, cut in half (chanterelle or shiitake and button mushrooms)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
salt and pepper
1/2 can coconut milk or 1/2 cup whipping cream
tiny pinch of saffron** if using coconut milk, for whipping cream I used 1 tablespoon taragon
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Season the drumsticks with salt and pepper.  In a large saute pan heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add in the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add in the drumsticks and toss the onions around so the chicken hits the surface of the pan, not the onion.  Cook for 2 minutes on each side and then pour in the coconut milk and add the pinch of saffron, if using (if using whipping cream, don't add it in yet).  For both versions, add in the mushrooms now and cover, cooking another 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

*If using the whipping cream, follow the recipe as above, but do not add the coconut milk. Add in the mushrooms and tarragon after cooking for 2 minutes on each side of drumstick, cover and cook another 10 minutes.  Then once the chicken is just done, pour in the whipping cream and cook, uncovered, another 2-3 minutes to heat up the cream and bring it all together.

I ate this chicken along with a spoonful of the sauce, on top of a bed of fresh spinach leaves and a little chopped avocado.  I also added a small handful of pistachios on top of the whipping cream version for a change in texture. 

**If you are not familiar with saffron, I would just make the recipe as is and forgo it.  The recipe will taste great without it.  Saffron give off a bit of an earthy flavor that some people don't like, plus it's expensive also.  I'd hate you to spend $8 on a little jar of it and not like it!

Pork tenderloin with apples and onions

I am realizing with this post that it seems I'm on a pork kick lately.  I do eat a wide variety of meats but for some reason the recipes that are post-worthy tend to be of swine.  Hope all 5 of the people who read this site like pork! ;)  I took a recipe for pork tenderloin where you would normally bake it for about an hour, and cut it up into smaller pieces to cook over the stovetop so it wouldn't take as long.  It was a busy day and I was lazy, and I think it ended up tasting just as good.

2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 4-5 pieces of equal size (as close as possible)
1 whole onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fennel seeds (crush them if you have texture issues, but keep them in because the flavor is awesome)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
2 apples, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
2 tablespoons coconut oil

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil and melt.  Season the pork with salt and pepper, then add in the pork pieces into the hot pan and sear on all sides (about 1-2 minutes per side).  Once all sides are seared, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  While it's cooking, mix the mustard, fennel seeds and vinegar in a small bowl.  After 5 minutes, add in the garlic and onion slices, filling in the gaps around the pork pieces.  Pour in the mustard mixture, covering the pork with it.  Cover and cook another 5-7 minutes, until the pork is almost cooked through.  Then add in the apple slices and cover again, cooking 3-5 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

I served it with some basic steamed broccoli.

Breakfast "Muffins"

It needs to be mentioned that I did not come up with this scrumptious snack.  Jason, a friend of mine from Mad Dawg Fitness told me about these muffins one day, and I knew I had to make them for myself.  I mean, they contain bacon.  SOLD.

12 pieces of applewood smoked bacon, nitrate/ite free if possible
6 oz mixed greens, chopped
12 omega 3 eggs
salt and pepper
thyme/basil/whatever spice you like in your eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the bacon in a saute pan over medium-high heat until cooked, but not crispy.  You want to keep the bacon somewhat soft so you can easily "mold" it to the muffin tin shape.  Drain the bacon on paper towels but reserve the leftover bacon grease in the pan. 

Chop the mixed greens into bite-sized leafs, like the size of small spinach leaves.  Then add into the saute pan with the bacon grease.  Season with salt and pepper and any other herbs you'd like.  Add a splash of water and cover, cooking over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until softened.  Remove from heat.

Oil a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil.  (Oil the inside of the muffin cups and also the rims.  When you crack the egg on top, any egg touching the muffin tin will bake quickly and is hard to clean off afterwards.  If you oil the rims it just helps in clean-up).  Cut each slice of bacon in half, and place both halves in a muffin cup, covering as much surface area as possible.  Repeat with the rest of the bacon.  Then spoon in mound of cooked greens on top of each bacon slice.  You need to leave enough room to crack an egg on top without the egg spilling out too much.  Repeat with all of the cups.  Then crack and egg over each.  If some of the white spills out, take a fork and gently move the greens around underneath.  Sometimes if you move them around the white will seep down into the veggies and fit better.  Sprinkle each egg with a little salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the egg is set.  Then let cool 5 minutes before taking them out of the pan.  I used a butter knife to cut around the edges and they came out pretty cleanly.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pork with cider spices and mixed green/celery root salad

Yes, this is an adventurous dinner.  I saw the mulling spices in the store the other day and NEEDED to figure out how to use them other than in apple cider.  If you have a coffee grinder I think grinding them up a bit would be a good idea, otherwise you can do what I did and just scrape most of them off the pork after it's cooked.  The pork will soak up the spice flavor while cooking and you won't get the surprise of crunching down on a whole clove or piece of orange rind.  And on the salad front, I am a fan of the celery root. It's ugly, but it has a great subtle celery flavor without being too strong.

Oh, and please forgive the photo quality this time.  I misplaced my camera so these are taken with my phone.

Spinach/Celery Root Salad

1 bulb celery root, peeled
1/2 white onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 cups fresh mixed greens, washed
1 avocado
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

To peel the celery root I just attacked the top portion of it with a regular vegetable peeler, and then cut off the skin from the bottom portion. They tend to have a lot of knobby ends and veins of what look like the outside skin; folding inside. Just cut these off and out to leave you with the white celery root.  Discard the green tops or use to flavor a soup or stock.

Once peeled, cut the celery root into matchstick pieces, or julienned. I cut the root into 8 pieces, then cut these into flat disk and then into matchsticks. Once it is all cut, add to a small saute pan along with the coconut oil. Heat over medium and cook 2 minutes. Add in the onion and cook until both are soft, another 5-7 minutes. The onion will get soft and the celery root will soften, but will still have a bit of a bite to it. This is ok.

Remove from the heat and place on a plate in your fridge to cool. Then cut the avocado into chunks and then toss into the mixed greens along with the almonds and cooled celery root mixture.

2 lbs pork loin
2 tablespoons mulling spices (if grinding them I'd reduce this to 1.5)
sea salt and cracked pepper
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

Cut the pork into managle pieces.  I cut mine into roughly 2x4 or 2x6 inches so they'd all fit in the pan.  Season both sides of the pork with salt and pepper, and then coat both sides with the mulling spices.

Then heat a large saute pan over medium and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.  Evenly space the pork around the pan so they aren't touching.  If they're too squished, then cook the meat in 2 stages, adding half the onion at a time.  Cook the pork on the first side for 2 minutes before flipping (you want it to get brown).  Flip over and continue to cook another 2 minutes for the other side to brown.  Then add in the sliced onions and another 1 tablespoon coconut oil.  Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Continue cooking until the pork is cooked through, about another 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your meat.  Remove from heat and serve with salad.
I just used an oil and vinegar to dress this salad.  Simple and delicious.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beef & Sausage Hash w/ apple and yams

(A.K.A. what I'm eating for breakfast this week).  A Paleo breakfast is probably not like the sugar-laden-food-stuff-flakes your neighbors are slurping out of a cold bowl every morning.  Rather than be put off by it being different, embrace it!  No, you can't pour this out of a cardboard box that's been sitting in your pantry for the last 4 months, but I'm thinking that's why it's awesome.

1 lb. grass fed ground beef (I use 85/15 but use whatever you prefer)
3 organic chicken/apple sausages (pick ones without sugar added and are preservative-free)*
1/2 -1 whole apple, diced small (use whatever you got, braeburn, granny smith, fuji...)
sea salt & pepper
**(Extras: diced onion, garlic)

2 small yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds

Put the yams in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Put on the stove-top on high heat until the water boils, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender - about 10 minutes.

While the yams are boiling, place the ground beef in a large saute pan and heat over medium heat.  Break the beef up a bit with a spoon or spatula.  While that's cooking, dice up the chicken/apple sausages and add them to the ground beef mixture.  Continue breaking up the meat and stirring while it all cooks together.  When there is almost no pink left to the ground beef, add in the diced apple, salt and pepper.  Cook an additional 2 minutes to soften the apple and then take off the heat.

By this time the yams should be tender.  Drain and let cool a few minutes.  You can either serve them whole along side the ground beef mixture, or cut them into small pieces and stir them into the ground beef, whichever you choose.  Lately I've been mashing them up into the ground beef when I eat it every morning.  It's just easier to eat that way.

* If using pre-cooked sausages just dice and go.  If your sausages are fresh (sweet!) then you can either cook them whole and then dice, or just open them up and add the sausage meat to the ground beef at the beginning (you will essentially just be adding "bulk" sausage then).

**This would certainly be tasty if you added some diced onion or garlic to the mixture.  I tend to go basic for breakfast because it's usually post-workout and I stomach the more basic foods better then.  Also, it's faster this way.

Sidenote: This will suffice for 5 days' breakfast.  I eat the same thing M-F for breakfast.  It doesn't bother me.  One the weekends I go crazy with some eggs or leftover steak!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baked Apples

Apple pie is the quintessential fall dessert.  Growing up we would have apple pie with Thanksgiving dinner and we would all eat it for breakfast the following day...(that's normal, right?).  Fruit baked with sweet spices until soft and the juices ooze joy.  I always was the culprit who ate the filling out of the apple pie, so making baked apples seemed like a happy compromise...

2 apples of your choice (I used some from a local organic farm sans wax)
3 medjool dates
2 tablespoons raw, unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons creamed coconut (see bottom)*
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, plus a few extra for topping
1 scant tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Few shakes of nutmeg and ginger
Pinch of salt
coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the core of the apples with an apple corer.  I used mine to remove a little extra from the core of the apple to make room for more filling.  I pretty much doubled the amount of space.  If you feel the need, peel a strip from the apples at this point (I read this was so the apples don't burst in the oven, but I did one with/one without and they both broke a little at the bottom, so....you choose).

Chop the dates into small pieces and place in a small mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mash together with a fork until mixed well.  Then fill the apples with the mixture, packing it in well.  Coat the bottom of a small baking pan or pie plate with a little coconut oil, and place the filled apples inside.  Top the filled portion with a few more chopped pecans.

Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, cover the apples with aluminum foil and continue baking another 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving.  This recipe can be easily doubled.

**Creamed coconut is basically just the flesh of the coconut.  I found it in a health food store and it comes in small packages like this:

If you can't find it near you, just use equal amounts of unsweetened coconut flakes, though you may need to add a bit more dates or honey to give the mixture just a little more moisture.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

Even though the weather in California lately hasn't been very Fall-like, I am still readying myself for the beautiful Fall weather, with soups.  Butternut squash is something I don't buy very often, but definately is a great choice for a bowl of creamy deliciousness.

1 butternut squash
1 can coconut milk (amount used may vary)
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or use dried ginger)
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Chopped walnuts to top (optional)

Cut the length of the squash into three pieces, then cut these pieces in half.  Scrape out the seeds (I use a grapefruit spoon) and then place all pieces into a large stock pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil on your stovetop.  Turn the heat down and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.  At this point the squash should be very tender.  Drain the squash and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Once cooled, remove the skin from the squash.  I find it easiest to just cut them off since they tend to break off in pieces when you try to "peel" it off.  Then place the squash in your food processor (if using a 7-cup do half at a time.  If using a larger you could probably throw it all in at once).  Pulse a few times to break up the pieces, then add in the ginger, chicken broth and half of the coconut milk.  From here you can guage how much coconut milk you want to use, depending on the size of your squash.  Obviously a bigger squash would necessitate more liquid added.  Blend the contents until very smooth, and pour back into the soup pot.  Turn the heat to low to keep the soup warm and add in sea salt and pepper to taste.  When serving, add more cracked pepper and top with the walnuts.

**I added the walnuts because I thought it sounded yummy, but you really can't taste them because of the ginger.  But since it was in my picture I had to add it to the recipe...so, I make no promises that using the walnuts will bring this soup to the next level.

I served this soup along with a green salad and chicken drumsticks (pictured).  The drumsticks were easy.  I just heated up a tablespoon of coconut oil in a saute pan, sliced up an onion and let it cook 2 minutes.  Then added my salted and peppered drumsticks on top.  Covered the pan and let cook, turning the chicken every 4-5 minutes or so and moving the onion around so it wouldn't burn *too* much.  But the onion is fantastic when it gets brown and carmelized like that.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Zucchini Pesto Veggie Dip

It seems that an easy item to bring to parties when you're eating Paleo, would be a veggie platter.  Tasty, crisp, fresh veggies all arranged prettily on a platter.  But then...what do you dip them in?  Most dressings people use are full of dairy or highly processed things I can't pronounce.  Regular Pesto sauce is tasty, to be sure, but isn't quite the right consistency for me.  An easy remedy, I found, was adding zucchini, and you've got a thicker dip that tastes good with any veggie you attack it with!

4 oz fresh basil - leaves torn off
6 sundried tomato halves (use the ones packed in olive oil)
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup unsalted macadamia nuts
 1/4 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 zucchinis (about 6 inches each), ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch rounds
1/2 cup olive oil (give or take...add to the consistency you prefer)
**Optional - add different spices of choice - I added sage to mine
Raw veggies for dipping (carrots, snap peas, broccoli, celery, jicama, bell pepper, zucchini-double dose!, cucumber)

In a food processor, drop in all the basil leaves and pulse a few times to chop them up.  Then add the sundried tomatoes and garlic, pulse a few times.  Add in the macadamia nuts and turn on for about 10 seconds or until the nuts are chopped up small.  Add the salt, pepper and zucchinis (yes, add them raw) and turn on until the zucchinis begin to blend up.  Then pour in the olive oil in a small stream to combine (add in desired spices here too, if desired).  If some of the zucchini pieces don't all blend up, change to pulse for a few times and then switch back.  (makes about 2 cups)

Serve in a bowl with lots of veggies for dipping.

This recipe is versatile.  I also ate a dollop of it on top of my steak for dinner.  If two cups of pesto dip seems like it will be a lot to plow through, you could stick half of it in a jar and freeze for later enjoyment!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

(Sweet and Curried) Potato Salad

Here's another yummy way to prepare sweet potatoes. It requires a bit of prep total time-wise. You could roast the sweet potatoes the day before and stick them in the fridge to make the salad the next day. Whatever makes it easier on you!!

2 Large sweet potatoes (white)
2 Large yams (orange)
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup homemade mayo Mayo
2 celery stalks, cut lengthwise in 3 pieces and chopped small
1/4 red onion, minced
4 eggs, hard-boiled
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
1-2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp each of ground ginger, turmeric, coriander
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the yam/sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Toss them with the olive oil in a large bowl to coat. Also rub a little oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the yams/sweet potatoes onto a large baking sheet, making sure they are not crowded. (If they are crowded on the pan, split into two and alternate heights in the oven every 7-10 minutes).

Roast yams for 10-12 minutes. (while they are roasting, hard-boil the eggs and then transfer to the fridge to cool down). Turn with a spatula, then increase the oven temperature to 425 and continue cooking another 10-12 minutes or until soft in the center. Do not dispare when the yams/sweet potatoes get brown on a few sides. This is normal. When soft on the inside and a bit crispy on the outside (20-25 minutes total) remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer to fridge to speed up the cooling process.

When the yams/sweet potatoes are fully cooled, toss them into a large mixing bowl along with the mayo, celery, onion, cilantro and spices. Chop up the hard-boiled eggs into pieces and add into the mixing bowl. Toss to coat all of the yam/sweet potatoes fairly evenly.

**I recommend adding half the mayo at first and then toss to start off with. You can always add more mayo into the mix if it looks dry. My idea of large yams could be different then yours, so better safe than sorry :). Enjoy!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stewed White Fish

The inspiration for this dish came while reading the Whole9 website a few weeks ago (see "linkage" at left). They had posted a recipe for fish cooked this way, which sounded pretty awesome. Not having all the ingredients that they did, I decided to make up my own version while using up some things I had in the fridge. Win-Win!

1.5 lbs white fish fillets (use a firm fish-I used Cod)
**1 can smoked sardines (optional...see note at end of recipe)

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 carrots, sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 large tomato, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers
6-10 olives, cut into 2-3 pieces (I used green and kalamata)
1 can coconut milk, regular or lite

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
Fresh cracked pepper

3-4 cups fresh, baby spinach leaves

In a large wok or soup pan heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add in the carrots, tomato, onion and garlic (and sardines if using). Cook until onion and carrots begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. While that's cooking, cut the fish into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Add in the capers, olives, fish, old bay and pepper to taste. Continue cooking, stirring often, until fish is just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Then pour in the can of coconut milk and continue cooking just until the coconut milk is hot. Take mixture off the heat and stir in the spinach leaves.

**A good way to increase the Omega 6 fats in this dish is to add in a can of sardines. I added a can in my dish and was unable to taste them (flavor-wise). During the cooking process they break down pretty quickly and become a part of the liquid, almost. That being said, I could definately taste little particles of the skin and as far as that texture goes, I am not a fan. So if you like sardines then by all means add them, if you are not so dedicated to them (like me) this dish will be excellent without them. Either way, you're good.

Serve in large bowls as is, or you could also serve this over a spoonful of cooked, "riced" cauliflower.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stuffed Peppers (pizza?) and Wilted Spinach Salad with figs

I started this recipe with full intentions of using ground beef and bacon....and after tasting it while cooking it just didn't seem quite right. So I added a couple of "andoullie" sausages to perk up the flavor. 'Twas a good idea! I also realized upon consumption...that the flavors were reminiscent of pizza (BONUS!). This is one meat-packed pepper. Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers

4 medium-sized green bell peppers
8 slices applewood smoked bacon
3 cloves garlic
1/2 white onion, minced
1 pound grass fed ground beef
2 andoullie sausages (I used the cooked kind, chopped into small pieces)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
2 tablespoons almond flour
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan until crisp. Remove and let drain on a paper towel. Crumble when cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon fat in the pan and pour out the rest. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring often. Add in the ground beef, bay leaf and italian seasoning, cook through, stirring often. (While the ground beef is cooking, cut the top 1/2 inch off the peppers and remove the seeds. Save the tops for another use). When beef is cooked, add the tomato paste, almond flour (to thicken), crumbled bacon and chopped sausages. Stir and cook another 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fill each green pepper to the top with the ground beef mixture. Place the filled peppers in an oiled baking dish (whatever they'll fit into. I used an 8x8 glass dish) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Wilted Spinach Salad

1/4 cup walnuts, cut in half
4 dried figs, quartered lengthwise
5 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon walnut oil plus more for drizzling

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the walnuts and cover with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Toast the nuts, shaking/stirring occasionally, just until light brown - about 5-7 minutes. Take off the heat and set the nuts aside in a bowl.

In the same pan, heat the 1 tablespoon walnut oil to medium heat, and add in the spinach leaves. Stir constantly to just wilt the spinach (2-4 minutes total), you don't want to cook it all the way through. Sprinkle with figs and walnuts and an extra drizzle of walnut oil. Serve along side the stuffed peppers.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sausage and Peppers. Watermelon Cooler.

I realize that posting this earlier in the summer would have been a better idea, and had I come up with it earlier I totally would have. So for those of you that still have access to good, summery watermelon...this one's for you. Also, sausage=goodness.

Sausage and Peppers

1.5 lbs sausage of choice (I went with an organic chicken/apple sausage)
1 red bell bepper
1 green bell pepper
1 onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Olive oil
Mixed salad greens (enough for 3-4 servings)

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and onions, cooking for 2 minutes. Then add in the sausage and cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add in the bell peppers and cover. Let cook another 5 minutes stirring occasionally, or until bell peppers are soft.

Place handfuls of mixed greens on each plate and cover with warm sausage and peppers. This will help wilt the greens and the moisture from the sausage can be your dressing. If you want, add some olive oil to the salad.

Watermelon Cooler

1/2 a small watermelon (about 8 inches long)
1 lime, cut in half
Ice cubes

Cut the watermelon up into 2 inch pieces. Place 5 cups of chopped watermelon into your blender and turn on. Push down with a spatula (not too low...you don't want your spatulas looking like brooms) if the blade doesn't catch it at first. While running add in the juice of half the lime, then about 1 cup of ice cubes. Add more ice if you want it frothy/slushy-er. Pour into a pitcher. Repeat with the rest of the watermelon and the other lime. Natural refreshment on a warm day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shepherd's Pie!

Growing up my awesome mother made shepherd's pie with a thick layer of mashed potatoes, which could only be topped by a layer of melted cheese. It. Was. Good. However, now I realize that white 'taters and cheese are "no bueno". Hence, I had to come up with a Paleo version I could enjoy! And lo and behold, it is good too!!

Layer One:
2 lbs ground beef
2/3 can of tomato paste (those tiny cans you can barely get your spoon into)
1 onion, chopped small
2 whole carrots, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 T olive oil
sea salt and peppah

Layer Two:
1 bunch of kale

Layer Three:
1 head of cauliflower
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start with the cauliflower and chop into small pieces. With this you don't need to worry about keeping it in "florets" since you'll be mashing it anyways. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook a few minutes until the onion begins to get transluscent, then add the cauliflower. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook another 10 minutes. Check after 10 minutes and if the onions are beginning to burn, add a splash of water and continue to cook another 3-4 minutes or until nice and soft. Rudely mash.

While the cauliflower is cooking, take the kale and remove the thick, woody stems from the middle. They are edible for sure, but in this recipe I just like to remove them to keep everything uniform. Then chop the kale into thin strips, and chop the opposite direction to chop into small pieces. Steam the kale in a saucepan over medium heat for 12 minutes or until soft. Drain the kale and set aside.

While the kale is cooking...heat the other tablespoon of oil in a saute pan. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add in the ground beef and carrot, cooking until the beef is no longer pink. Then add the tomato paste, bay leaves, basil, salt and peppah. Cook 2-3 minutes longer to heat the sauce.

Then in an 8x8 baking pan, layer the meat first (you could take out the bay leaves at this point or leave them in for a potent surprise treat!), top with the chopped kale, then top with the cauliflower mash. Cook in the oven in the top rack for about 10 minutes just to heat everything up and make the top look nice and browned. Shepherd's Pie!

**You could also add some smoked paprika to the meat mixture for an added bonus! And admittedly, this dish does not serve up very pretty. The layers tend to fall apart when you serve it (or maybe that's just me?), but it's darn tasty!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chicken Salad, the good kind, with zucchini soup!

Soup is a great way to get your veggies in while keeping things interesting, i.e. you are not just steaming vegetables every night and force-feeding them to your family. Growing up my mom covered our veggies in cheese and cream sauce because, well, it's darn tasty. I love you mom, but I just can't do that anymore!! Also, don't be afraid of making the mayo. It's easy if you pour the oil in slowly.

This recipe requires a bit of preparation on your part. For instance, I roasted a chicken on Sunday and used it for Monday's dinner. So I would make the chicken 1-3 days ahead of time while you're prepping your food for the week ;) (more on that to come in later posts).

Roast Chicken
1 4lb chicken-rinsed and patted dry
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub sea salt and pepper all over the chicken. Rub some underneath the skin being careful not to break it, and shake some into the cavity of the chicken. That's it. Simple can be tasty too. Pop that sucker into the middle rack of the oven for about 1.5 hours. Test for doneness with a meat thermometer. Chicken is done at about 175-180 degrees. Take out of the oven and let cool. Shred half of the chicken for this recipe and leave half for meals later in the week. (You can shred it now or store whole in the fridge until you are ready to use it).

Zucchini Soup
6 medium sized zucchini-rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2-3 cups chicken stock
sea salt and pepper

Heat the oil over medium heat and add the zucchini and onions. Cook, covered, until VERY soft, even mushy. Add a splash of chicken stock if it begins to dry out. Then take off the heat and let sit about 5 minutes to slightly cool. Pour everything into a food processor or blender (if using a blender work in 2-3 batches). Blend well, adding the chicken stock and the rest of the ingredients. Add the stock to your preferred consistency. (You could also use coconut milk here instead of the stock. It will make more of a "cream of zucchini" type soup. Both are good). After, return to the pan and keep over low heat.

1 cup mild flavored olive oil
juice of one lemon (or equal amounts white vinegar)
1 egg yolk

Rinse out the food processor well from making the soup. Then add in the egg yolk and lemon juice or vinegar. Pulse 2-3 times to mix. Then S.L.O.W.L.Y. stream in the olive oil with the motor running. Can I emphasize slowly? I'm talking, if you could measure the thickness of the stream of oil, three times the thickness would be a 1/4 of an inch. Yes, slowly. This will ensure the mayo will thicken properly. Once you've poured in all the oil it should be at a good thickness.

1/2 cup grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
2 cups Shredded chicken from above
1/2 recipe Mayo from above
salt and pepper
a few shakes of poppy seeds for good measure
Optional: dried, unsweetened blueberries
Mixed greens

In a bowl, stir together all of the above except for the mixed greens. Add more mayo if you feel it needs it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and top your plate of mixed greens with the chicken salad! Serve with a bowl of zucchini soup on the side.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wild Cod with Pesto, and butter-garlic beans

Some may argue that green beans aren't Paleo. I belong to the school of thought, that they're more veggie than legume and therefore I eat them. Hence....rock on with your bad beans...

For the Green Beans

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and washed
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter (or oil of your choice--olive, walnut, coconut)
Sea salt

Steam the green beans in a saucepan for about 5 minutes. They won't be soft just yet. Drain the green beans, and then heat the butter (or oil) in a large saute pan with the garlic. When the butter melts, add the green beans and stir occasionally until the beans absorb some of the liquid, and the garlic begins to brown (another 4-5 minutes).

For the Pesto Topping

3 tablespoons pesto sauce (paleo style)
1 tomato, cubed small
2 tablespoons red onion, diced small

While the green beans are sizzling with the garlic above, go ahead and chop up your tomato and onion. Place these in a small bowl and stir in the pesto sauce.

For the Fish:

1 lb. wild cod fillets
sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pat the fish dry on a few paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the fish fillets (not overlapping), pepper-side-down (I, obviously, only peppered one side). Cook for 2-3 minutes and flip, cooking the other side for 1 minute or until firm to touch with your spatula. (Food-firm.....not rock hard).

Once the fish is cooked and the beans are done, serve them both with a big dollop of the tomato/pesto on top of the fish.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coconut Curry Chicken (two ways) with cauliflower and broccolini

So here's the recipe for the coco/curry chicken I cooked for The Games. Side Note: I grew up knowing a girl named Coco Curry. And that is legit. I remember being jealous of her awesome, original name. So Coco, if by some random chance you're reading this, congratulations!, you are now famous among the 11 people who read this blog!...and I named a dish after you! Below is a picture and recipe of the chicken, BBQ'd because is there really anything out there that doesn't taste good on the Q?

Coco/Curry Marinade

**Note-start this chicken overnight per below!

4-5 pounds chicken (I used half boob half thigh, boneless and skinless)

1 can regular or lite coconut milk (I used lite)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced lemongrass (bottom, interior, white portions only)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large zip-lock bag. Add chicken and squish the bag around to expose all the sides of the chicken pieces to the marinade. Place bag of chicken on a plate or on a towel and let marinade in the fridge overnight. (You can also marinate this in a large baking dish or bowl in your fridge, I just like the zip locks because the chicken is well contained and you can easily squish the bag around to make sure it's all getting marinade on it)

The following day for your meal, heat up your gas or charcoal BBQ and get to grillin! When I take the chicken out of the bag I give it a light shake back into the bag so I'm not flinging masses of coconut goo onto the BBQ...less to clean up later. I usually cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the pieces are, covering the grill as needed.

Coco/Curry chicken in the oven, with veggies!

Here I took some of the chicken and baked it in the oven instead of on the BBQ for a little change of pace. Marinate the chicken as per the above, and the following day after it's marinated, perform the following:

12 ounces broccolini, ends trimmed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut up the broccolini into 2-inch pieces. Place the marinated chicken into a 9x13 baking pan and top with the broccoli. Pour about 1/4 cup of the marinade over the broccolini and chicken. Pop into the oven and cook for about 25-30 minutes. Check the chicken at 15 minutes and if the broccolini is drying out then cover with tin foil. While that's cooking, make the cauliflower:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 head cauliflower, in 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Then add the cauliflower, salt and pepper. Cover and turn the heat down to low, cooking for 10 minutes. After about 10 minutes, stir the cauliflower and add a touch of water if it is looking dry. Cover again and cook another 5 minutes or until very soft and easy to break into tiny pieces. When it is soft, lightly break it all up with your spatula or whatever you're using to stir it with.

When the chicken is done, spoon some of the cauliflower on a plate. Top with a couple pieces of chicken, the broccolini, and pour some of the coconut sauce in the baking pan, on top of it all. The cauliflower will trap the sauce and it will be good times all around.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Easy Pulled Pork "Tacos"

Pork es muy bueno. I mean really, what's not to like?

Pulled Puerco

4-5 pound pork shoulder roast, boneless preferred
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
Juice of 3 limes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 cloves garlic, smashed

Mix the cumin, salt, pepper, lime juice, and olive oil in a small bowl. Place the pork roast in the pot of a slow cooker, and pour the oil/spice mixture over the meat, rubbing it in well, and evenly. Top the meat with the onions and garlic. Cover with the lid and cook in the slow cooker over low heat for 6-8 hours. (You could also cook this in the oven (in a crockpot) at 300 degrees for 3-4 hour or until it gets tender). Afterwards, take two forks and pull the pork apart. It should fall apart easily at this point.

**I usually make this the day ahead or just make it and freeze it in portions, after pulling it with a fork for later use.

Then when you're ready to make "tacos" you just need the following:

Red onion
Chopped cilantro
Whole leafs of lettuce

Separate a whole leaf of lettuce, top with some of the warm, pulled pork, salsa, red onion, chopped cilantro and sliced avocado....and you've got an awesome Paleo Taco. Add any other toppings you like, olives, radishes, shredded cabbage, squirt of lime juice, hot sauce etc.

Serve with a side of broccoli or other yummy veggie!!

A Weekend of Food: CrossFit Games 2010

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to cook for a friend of mine from Regina and their affiliate team for The Games weekend. Here is what I prepped for them:

Pictured above are.....

8 pounds strawberries
10 pounds of tomatoes
2 limes and garlic for their own guacamole prep
10-ish cups roasted yams
6 pounds blueberries
1-half gallon jar of almond/pecan butter made by yours truly :)
A jar of Paleo Pesto made by yours truly :)
10 avocados
Couple bunches of naners
12 large english cucumbers
10 bell peppers
5 pounds baby carrots
10 pounds bbq'd rosemary-garlic chicken
10 pounds grass-fed hamburgers

What I couldn't fit in the picture or what was cooling down still...were

The other 25 avocadoes
More bananas
10 pounds bbq'd curry/coconut chicken
10 pounds grass-fed hamburgers

I'm pretty sure that's all I prepped for the weekend, and I have a sneaking suspicion I could have made more yams and meat to last them the full three days. But all the above was packed into coolers and driven down to the Games, and was a success! If you weren't able to go or watch the live feed, you missed out!!!

I'll post the recipe for the curry chicken this week most likely :).

But, CONGRATULATIONS TO CROSSFIT REGINA for their stellar work this weekend. They did awesome!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meatballs with Coconut Sauce, Cauliflower mash and Curry Bok Choy

In order of cooking...

Cauliflower Mash

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Coconut Sauce

1 can coconut milk (I used lite since that's all I had)
1.5 tablespoons minced lemongrass**
1 tablespoon minced garlic
sea salt and pepper

**I cheated and used the pre-mince lemongrass in a tube


1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons "21-Spice seasoning" from Trader Joes, or other spice blend of your choice
sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Bok Choy

3-4 large bok choy
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and pepper
curry powder
ground coriander

Start with the cauliflower. Heat the olive oil in a large pot along with the sliced onion. Once the onion starts to brown a bit, add in the cauliflower, salt and pepper, and stir. Cover with a lid and let cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Check in on the cauliflower after 10 minutes or so and add a bit of water if the pan looks dry.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Add in the lemongrass, garlic, salt and pepper and let simmer while everything else is cooking. It will reduce down to about half, and thicken a bit. While simmering it will probably form a thin film on the top, just whisk this in every few minutes or so while you're preparing the other food.

While the coconut milk is simmering away, mix the ground beef with the garlic, salt and spices (I just mix it all together with a fork) and form into 1-inch balls. I think I ended up making about 20 meatballs. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add half the meatballs at a time. Don't crowd them too close or they won't cook as well. After 4 minutes (the bottoms will be brown and cooked through) roll them over with a fork and cook the other side. Continue to cook another 4-5 minutes or until the meatball feels firm when you press down with a fork. Once done, remove the meatballs to a small serving bowl, and continue with the other half of the meatballs.

After adding the second half of the meatballs to the pan, heat the tablespoon of olive oil in another pan over medium heat. Add the bok choy and sprinkle with curry powder, coriander, salt and pepper. Cook until the bok choy is just soft, about 6-8 minutes. This should coincide with the meatballs, give or take.

When all meatballs are cooked, give the coconut milk one last whisk, and remove from the heat. Uncover the cauliflower and mash it with the back of a spoon or a potato masher. Serve the meatballs with the coconut sauce on the side. I ate my meatballs on top of the cauliflower with the sauce on top, and the bok choy on the side.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Roasted Leg-O-Lamb with Indian flavors (cooked with bok choy) and sweet taters

I try to be open to new foods...but the first time I tried lamb, there was something about the aftertaste that just wasn't jiving with my tastebuds (there were no tastebuds with "jazz hands", sadly). Not wanting to give up that quickly, I have been looking for recipes with bold flavors that might cover that up, and this recipe is just the ticket. It has a variety of spices to create that bold flavor, and cooks slowly so that the meat is nice and tender. Money.

For the Lamb:

1 4-5 lb. boneless leg of lamb, with some of the fat trimmed
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons cloves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 can coconut milk
2 teaspoons ground pepper

**Start this recipe the night before to allow the meat to marinade.

My leg of lamb roast came with the netting around it to keep it a compact, round roast. Cut off this netting if you have it, and flatten the roast out, cutting into the meat to open it up more if there are portions that are thicker than the rest. My roast ended up being about three inches thick, give or take.

Mix everything together (except the lamb) in a mixing bowl. Stir to make sure all the spices blend together well with no clumps. Then place your lamb, still flattened out, in a gallon-sized zip-lock baggie. Pour the spice mixture into the bag and squish it around so that it's coating all of the meat. Close the bag and stick in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove the meat from the baggie and place in a lightly oiled, glass baking dish. When I placed the meat in my baking dish there was about half the marinade still in the bag. That's okay, the meat will have absorbed the flavor and there should still be a good amount stuck to the meat itself. If not, feel free to pour some of that marinade on top or into the pan.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 2.5 hours or so. Check the meat after 90 minutes to make sure the marinade isn't burning. If it is beginning to burn, just cover the meat with foil and continue to cook until the meat is tender, about 2.5 hours total. When I took my meat out it was definately tender. It wasn't quite at the "falling off the bone" phase of tender, but trust me, it will be tender. I shredded 1/3 of it for use in this meal, and left the rest in roast form for later.

For the Sweet Taters:

1 medium yam (orange)
1 medium sweet potato (white)
Coarse sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Curry powder

Peel the yam and sweet potato. Cut them into 1/3 inch rounds. Place the rounds in a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the sweet taters and let sit, covered, while you cook the veggies with the lamb below

Lamb and Bok Choy

4 large bok choy, rinsed with bottoms cut off
8-10 mini spring onions, cut in half
As much lamb meat from above as you like
1 tablespoon olive oil

Chop the bok choy leaves into thirds. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften. Add in the bok choy, stir and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the bok choy begins to soften. Then add in the shredded lamb meat and about 1/4 cup of the sauce from the lamb's baking dish. Stir occasionally while the bok choy finishes cooking, another 5 minutes or so. When the bok choy is done, remove from heat and spoon onto one side of a serving platter. Then layer the yam/sweet potatoes along the side. Sprinkler with sea salt, cracked pepper, and the curry powder (I just sprinkled it over like salt).

**I should note that I cooked the lamb roast on Sunday while doing other chores around the house. Then used the meat for this meal a day or two later. So you don't have to do it all at once. Feel free to cook this up on the weekend and use it for this and other tasty recipes!! :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Fish!! Fresh Tuna on Salad Greens with Roasted Bacon-Asparagus, Stuffed Mushrooms and Fruit Salad

I didn't realize the last recipe I posted was for fish and salad...until I just came to post the new recipe. I'll take a hiatus from fish after this, or at least I won't post the recipes until later. I would just like to say though, that two of the elements in this meal contain bacon. Did I just make you drool?

Tomato and Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

6 small portabello mushrooms (called "portabellos for stuffing) at Trader Joes
1 small tomato, diced small
4 strips of bacon, cooked and diced small
2 tablespoons diced red onion
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped tiny
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.

Break the stems off the mushrooms and wipe the outside with a damp paper towel. Take a small spoon (grapefruit spoons work well here) and scoop out the dark, frilly part of the mushroom just around the stem area. . While you're doing this, try to keep the edges of the mushroom in-tact. Grease a glass pie pan (or other dish the mushrooms will fit in) with a bit of olive oil. Place the mushrooms in, stem side up, and bake until soft, about 10-12 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, chop up the tomato, onion, basil and bacon and stir together in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and a splash of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Let that sit tight.

When the mushrooms are done, drain any liquid that may have collected in the mushroom cap. (Keep the oven at 325) Let the 'shrooms cool until the rest of the dinner is ready. Then fill with the tomato-bacon mixture when ready to serve.

Roasted Bacon-Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed off and rinsed clean
4 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
Cracked Pepper
Splash of olive oil

After you've taken the mushrooms out of the oven, place the trimmed and cleaned asparagus into a baking dish. Toss the olive oil, bacon, and pepper in with the asparagus. (I didn't add salt because the bacon will add enough on its own). Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake, uncovered for about 12-15 minutes depending on thickness of the asparagus.

Tuna and Salad

1 pound Wild-Caught Tuna Steaks
Cajun Seasoning
Olive oil
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
Pesto Sauce for dressing
**Assorted veggies of your choice. I used red bell pepper, artichoke hearts, tomato and red onion in my salad.

While the asparagus is cooking, chop up the lettuce and veggies for your salad. Toss together in a serving bowl. Then season the tuna with the cajun seasoning, and cook in a saute pan with a little olive oil. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, being careful not to over-cook the fish. Remove from pan immediately after it's done cooking, and place the fish over the salad. Serve with the pesto sauce on the side.

For the fruit salad I just chopped up whatever was in my fridge. I had plums, blueberries and watermelon to eat up this time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Orange Roughy and Summer Salsa (with a side of fruit)

I love summer. Fresh veggies and fruit from the farmers' market, and it's a good excuse to eat lots of salad with tons of goodness. The goodness being fresh ingredients of all sorts. I heart salad....and find that if you add enough to the lettuce base, you often don't need dressing. I used to NEED tons of dressing to enjoy my greens, but no longer.

1 pound Orange Roughy (this is a very flavorful white fish, by far my favorite of the white)
Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium, ripe mango
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced jicama (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and Pepper

Mixed salad greens

**1 chayote, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cube

If you've never had it before, chayote is kind of like a squash of sorts. It looks similar to a pear in shape and size, but the ends are kind of turned inwards like an old guy without teeth....it's hard to explain. I just peeled and chopped the chayote...then put it in a small saucepan, covered with water, sprinkled in a little salt and simmered on medium heat until done....about 12-15 minutes or so. You can start the chayote first, if you'd like, and then do the rest while it's cooking. If you don't want to do the chayote it's no big deal....I just put it on top of my greens along with the salsa...but it's not necessary.

Peel the mango (While the chayote is cooking) and dice small. I like to peel the whole mango with a paring knife, then slice the fruit off on either side of the pit...then cut off whatever remainder I can salvage from the pit. Slice the two sides into two flat pieces, and then dice small. Add this to a bowl. Dice up the avocado (cut in half and remove pit. Then cut vertical and horizontal lines into each half of the avocado. Scoop out cut pieces with a big spoon and add to bowl). Add in the red onion, bell pepper, cilantro and stir together. Add in the jicama if you want. It adds a nice crunch...but if you buy some I'd recommend buying a big one. I bought a small one thinking I wouldn't use much, but it ended up tasting very starchy and potato-like....no bueno. Add lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle the orange roughy with cajun seasoning. I use about a teaspoon total since it's pretty flavorful. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the fish. Cook until opaque underneath, about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness of the fish. Flip over and continue cooking until done all the way through, about another 3-4 minutes or so. After the fish is cooked, pile some greens on each plate, top with fish, salsa, and chayote if you like!! (On the above picture, the chayote is the larger-diced veggie sitting on the greens just above the big pile of salsa). Enjoy your meal with some summer-fresh watermelon, or your favorite summer fruit!

**For those of you living in a household where not everyone follows a paleo diet...I feel your pain! For the non-paleo eaters in my home I offered corn tortillas to make this into fish tacos instead of the salad as I ate it above. Two birds with one-ish stone....SWEET!