Friday, April 30, 2010

Sesame-Ginger Beef with Cauliflower and Broccoli

This recipe was the result of my only having 30 minutes to prepare dinner the other day...and what did I have in the fridge? There is a little back-and-forth between the three cooking pans, but just be sure to read through the recipe beforehand and watch the other pans while you cook.

For the meat:

1.5 lbs grass fed steak, cut into 2 or 3 inch chunks
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 Teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (or about 1 tsp dried)
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste
Chopped green onion for garnish :)

For the Cauliflower:

1 full head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1-2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Broccoli:

2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup snap peas*
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes**
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

*I know....snap peas aren't technically paleo since they come from a pod. But I had them in the fridge, they needed to be eaten.
**Feel free to use some real chopped onion here. I ran out and had to use the dried.

Start by cutting up the meat. Place the grass fed beef in a medium mixing bowl along with the garlic, ginger, sesame oil and salt and pepper. Set aside. If you have the time to let this marinade, go for it. If not, the meat will still be flavorful enough without the extra time to absorb the flavors.

Slice the onion and add to a large pot along with the olive oil and garlic. Let this cook on medium for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. While that's cooking, chop up the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces. (Don't worry about separating them into florets. It doesn't really separate the same way broccoli does, and you're just going to mash it up anyways.) Add the cauliflower into the pot along with some salt and pepper, if desired. Cover the pot and continue to cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes or so.

While the cauliflower is cooking,cut up the broccoli if it's not already in florets. When the cauliflower has cooked for about 10 minutes, then you can begin to cook the meat and the broccoli (so it's all done at around the same time). Set a medium skillet or stirfry pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Toss in the broccoli, snap peas and dried (or fresh) onion. Let that heat up while you cook the meat. Set a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the meat, about half at a time to avoid crowding. Sear the meat on all sides (cook for a minute or so on all sides) to keep moisture in the beef. Then let them continue to cook over medium heat until cooked as you like. I like my beef at about medium, which ended up at another 6-8 minutes total. Continue with the other half of the beef and stir the broccoli while the beef is cooking. Add in a splash of water to the broccoli, and cover to continue cooking. When the beef is about done, take a potato masher and mash the cauliflower up into little pieces. It won't mash into a pulp, but will separate into little "rice" pieces. Let continue to cook for a minute or two while the broccoli and/or beef finishes up. Plate, and serve!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Herb-Crusted Pork Loin Roast and a roasted tomato sauce

Mmmmm, nothing like fresh herbs. I know it's not summer yet and you can't just walk down to the farmer's market and pick up some stellar herbs...but fresh are always better. That being said, I didn't have the fresh variety of ALL the herbs I used (as noted), so some dried is okay....just make sure the basil is fresh. Because really, fresh basil, is worth it.

1 3-4 pound, boneless pork loin roast

1 cup roughly chopped mixed fresh herbs - choose between thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, basil, oregano or marjoram *
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 Teaspoon sea salt
1 Teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

1.5 cups grape tomatoes
1 small red onion, sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

*I used fresh rosemary, basil, marjoram and dried oregano, thyme and parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together the herbs, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and olive oil. Mix well and rub generously all over the pork roast, making sure the herbs cover the entire roast. Place in a baking pan and cook in the middle rack of the oven until the roast registers 165 degrees, about 1.5 hours or so. (If the herbs begin to brown or burn in the last 30 minutes of cooking time, cover with foil).

When the roast has about 20 minutes left to cook, mix the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add enough olive oil to coat the tomatoes. Spread the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the upper level of the oven, until the onion and tomatoes start to brown, about 10-15 minutes or so. Keep an eye on them as they can brown easily. Pull them out of the oven and let cool. Once cooled 5-10 minutes add in the chopped basil and the balsamic vinegar. Stir and top the pork roast with the tomato mixture when it comes out of the oven!

Enjoy with your favorite vegetable. I'm a fan of pork and asparagus, myself.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tilapia and veggies...

I can't seem to get enough sundried tomatoes lately. This recipe just uses them as a topping on the fish, but you could also make this into a scrumptious salad. Fill a bowl full of spinach and mixed greens, top with warm tilapia fillet and sundried tomato/onion mixture, cut up some avocado in there and mix together. You've got one tasty salad...

3 large Tilapia fillets, about 5-6 oz each
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes, in oil
1 medium white onion, sliced thin
2 Teaspoon chopped garlic
Cajun seasoning or sea salt
2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 large bunch of collard greens, chopped
1/4 head of red cabbage, in 1/4inch slices
Sea salt and pepper

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic, onions and sundried tomatoes. Let cook until the onions soften and the sundried tomatoes are starting to give off their scrumptious scent. Sprinkle the tilapia fillets either with sea salt or cajun seasoning (I think all fish is good with cajun seasoning on it...) and add them into the pan with the onions and tomatoes, pushing the onions and tomatoes off to the side of the pan so that the fish gets direct heat. Continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes and flip the fillets. Cook another few minutes just until opaque all the way through, another 3 minutes or so depending on the thickness of your fish.

While the fish is cooking, heat the other Tablespoon olive oil in a large soup pot or stir-fry pan (just a pan that is large and deep enough to stir the veggies around in). Add in the cabbage and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two, then add in the collard greens along with a splash of water. Cover and continue to cook until the collard greens are done, about 8-10 minutes.

Fill one side of your plate with veggies and the other with a tilapia fillet. Top with ample sundried tomatoes and onions, and enjoy. If you need more fat in this meal it wouldn't hurt to add a side of avocado :).

Serves three.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs with cabbage and spinach

This recipe reads pretty complicated but it's really not...there are just a few things going on at once, but that only means you get it done faster!

1 spaghetti squash (3-4 pounds)

1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 Teaspoon dried onion flakes
Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper
2 links of fully cooked, spicy italian sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Teaspoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 small carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
28 oz can of Trader Joes' Marinara Sauce-Organic

1-10oz bag of shredded cabbage from Trader Joes (or about 3 loose cups shredded cabbage)
3 loose cups fresh spinach leaves
1 Teaspoon chopped garlic
Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes the outside of the skin should feel a bit soft.

While the squash is baking, mix the ground beef in a medium bowl along with a little salt and pepper, a few shakes of italian seasoning and the dried onion. Let that sit while you start the sauce.

In a large saute pan heat up 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the onion begins to soften, about 4-5 minutes or so. Then add in the chopped basil, carrots and chopped sausage. Turn the heat to low and start working on the meatballs while you let the sausage do it's thang.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Take about 1 Tablespoon of ground meat at a time, and roll it into a ball in the palm of your hand, then place into the skillet. Continue with about half of the ground meat. Continue cooking over medium heat, turning over after about 3 minutes or so. Cook until completely cooked through, about 5-7 minutes total. You'll know they're done when you press on them gently and there is no "give". When the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the pan with a spoon and place them into the other skillet with the sausage and onions to keep warm. Keep the oil from the meat in the pan and continue rolling the other half of the meat into meatballs, cooking in the same fashion. Add the other half of the meatballs into the sausage pan when cooked through, and keep about 1 Tablespoon of grease in the meatball pan. To this pan, add in the shredded cabbage and remaining 1 Teaspoon garlic. Shake in some italian seasoning. Stir the cabbage and let it cook just until beginning to soften. At this point add in the fresh spinach and cook, stirring constantly just until some of the leaves begin to wilt. Look at the picture above....we're not cooking it to mush, just giving it some heat. Remove the veggies from the stove and set aside.

At this point the squash should be done. Remove from the oven and let it cool a few minutes. While it cools, pour 1/2 the can of marinara sauce into the pan with the sausage and meatballs and keep on low heat to warm it all up.

After the squash has cooled a few minutes, rake the spaghetti-like strands out with a fork and place into a strainer. Remove all of the flesh and let strain a minute or two. They don't tell you to do that on the little sticker with instructions that comes on the squash. Immediate FAIL for whomever's job it was to create that sticker!!!! A lot of liquid seeps out of the squash and if you don't strain'll have squash sitting in a pool of water. Not a huge deal but not really what we're going for here....Once strained, place all of it on a plate, top with the meatballs and sauce, and serve the veggies along side. SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuna Salad Nicoise-Style

I heart a good salad, especially one that has lots of goodies in it like this one. And they don't require a whole lot of cooking skills or time, so....double bonus! This recipe doesn't have a salad "dressing" per se, but a Sundried Tomato Pesto sauce that I topped the tuna with and also splattered over the salad greens....HALLELUJAH!! (read with vibrato).

1 pound wild-caught ahi tuna steaks, cut into three portions
Cajun seasoning
Olive oil

1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
7-8 whole sundried tomatoes, in oil
4-6 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic (I was lazy and used the jarred!)
Salt and Fresh cracked pepper to taste

3 eggs
1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
Kalamata olives
Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
Avocado slices
6-8 cups assorted salad greens

For the Pesto:

Place the basil and sundried tomatoes in your food processer and pulse a few times to chop them up a bit. Add in the garlic, pine nuts, salt and some fresh cracked pepper and let this blend for a few seconds until the basil mixture forms a paste. Then with the motor running, slowly pour in the oil until it becomes a thin paste. I wanted it a bit thick but if you want it more like your typical salad dressing you could just add more oil until it becomes a dressing consistency. Set aside in a small bowl.

For the Toppings:

Place the three eggs in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes or so. While the eggs are cooking you can also steam the green beans in a medium saucepan over medium heat. After the eggs are cooked, let them cool in cold water. Once the beans are cooked al dente, drain them and set aside while you slice the red onions and the avocado. Once that's completed, peel the eggs and cut each one in half.

For the Tuna:

Place the tuna steaks in a small bowl with some cajun seasoning to taste. Drizzle a little olive oil over the fish and make sure it coats the fish all around. Warm a medium-sized skillet over medium heat along with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the tuna steaks for about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on your taste. I'm not such a fan of the rare tuna. I get that seared tuna is "the way to be" these days but I like my fish cooked through. If you like rare tuna, cook for 1-2 minutes per side.

Once the tuna is cooked you are ready to assemble your salad! I piled a bunch of salad greens on my plate and just topped with a little bit of everything, including the pesto sauce on top of my fish. Add as little or as much of the toppings as you want, and enjoy a scrumptious salad!!!! And yes....I ate that whole (pictured) salad for dinner. What?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lemon Chicken with Double-Duty Veggies

Yes, another chicken! They're just so handy and make great leftovers. I mean, why cook breakfast, lunch and dinner every day if you don't have to?

For the Lemon Chicken:

1 whole chicken, 4-5 lbs (I buy the free range makes me feel better)
3 lemons
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Zest two of the lemons. By "zest" I mean grate off the outer-yellow part of the lemon peel. Try to do this without getting much of the white part, which is more bitter. You can do this by using a microplaner, zester (I know right....zest it with a zester...) or cheese grater. Either way just try to avoid grating off the white part....or your fingers :). Put the zest into a small mixing bowl. Juice the two lemons and add the juice to the bowl as well. Next stir in the olive oil, garlic, oregano and some salt and pepper. Mix well.

Rub this mixture all over the outside of the chicken. Make sure to save some and rub on the inside cavity of the chicken as well. (At this point you could do this the day before or the morning of and leave in the fridge to marinate and get super tasty. Or you can prep just beforehand-both options produce finger-lickin' chicken.) After you've rubbed all of the lemon mixture on the chicken, cut the remaining lemon into 4-5 rounds, and place inside the chicken cavity.

Cook the chicken until cooked through (as if you didn't know that, right?), about 1.25-1.5 hrs depending on the size of your bird.

For the Zucchini and Carrots:

2 whole zucchini
2 large whole carrots
1 Teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 Teaspoon dried parsley
1 Teaspoon coconut oil
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the zucchini and carrots into ribbons. You can do this with a wide vegetable peeler. You'll need to apply a lot more pressure while using this method to get thicker strips than if you were just peeling the vegetables. If you don't have a wide vegetable peeler you can just cut into thin slices, or chop into rounds. It's just prettier in ribbons.

Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in the carrots and cook for 2 minutes or so, tossing around while cooking. Add in the zucchini ribbons along with the onion and parsley, salt and pepper and cook just until done, about 5 minutes or so. Be careful not to overcook them. If you're making the ribbons they will cook quickly since they're so thin. Enjoy!

For the Chard:

2 bunches of red chard
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Teaspoons coconut oil
1/4 cup water (if needed)

Wash the chard and cut into 2-inch pieces. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add in the coconut oil. Once melted, add in the chard and salt and pepper. Cover and let cook just until done, about 8-10 minutes or so. Watch the chard and make sure it has a bit of moisture in the pot, adding up to 1/4 cup water if needed throughout cooking. This is just your basic cooked chard folks. You could add garlic, onions or a myriad of other spices, but I just left it plain to go along with the other veggies and lemon in the chicken.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paleo Treats!!

The one thing I have a hard time doing without on a Paleo diet is a sweet treat every now and then. I'm no longer in the habit of eating chocolate every day (DOH!) but I'd be lying if I claimed I was above needing a dessert every once in a while. I have seen a few different recipes circling the web as of late for this type of treat. I based my recipe off of one I found at and changed it to the following:

*13-14 medjool dates
1.5 cups raw walnuts
4 Tablespoons raw cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened coconut
**6 dried figs

*Get the ones with pits and remove the pits yourself. I found that the pitted dates are too dry and end up blending into a powder instead of sticking together. The dates you buy should be a tad squishy.
**I like the figs because they add a little extra bite to the treats, but they aren't necessary

Remove the pits from the dates and drop them into a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until it all comes together. The walnuts will be ground up pretty fine. (Be sure not to overmix this though. If you let is blend for too long, the oils will start to release from the nuts and you will have a lot of oil in your hand when you try to roll them into balls. Watch the mixture and let it blend just until it begins to come together). Once it is blended up well, remove the blade from the base and form the sweet goodness into balls, about 1-inch in diameter or so. Try to refrain from immediately popping them into your mouth...Once you've formed it all into balls, place them into a tupperware container and into the fridge for a few hours to get cold. They will firm up a bit in the fridge and hold together better. These should be kep refrigerated and are good for about two weeks...if they last that long.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Roasted Veggie Assortment

I like to make a big batch of roasted veggies at the beginning of the week and eat them as part of my afternoon snack, all week long. When you roast up a good variety of vegetables it's hard to get bored of them. This recipe calls for seven different veggies because that's just what I had on hand this day. But you could add in or take out some of them if you don't like one or just don't happen to have them that day. You can't go wrong with roasted veggies, in my opinion. Roasting them gives them so much more flavor than'll never go back!

1 pound Brussel Sprouts
1 cup of 1-inch square chunks of green cabbage
1 cup of 1-inch square chunks of red cabbage
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup snap peas
1 cup mushrooms, your favorite variety
2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, chop up the veggies. Cut the nubby end off of each brussel sprout and slice in half, lengthwise. Toss all brussel sprouts into a large mixing bowl, throw away the nubs you cut off. Chop up the cabbage and add this into the mixing bowl. At this point I usually have enough veggies to just about fill my mixing bowl, so I drizzle in about 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle a dash of sea salt and pepper and toss well. Pour this onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and spread out evenly. (We're cooking the mother-load of veggies here so make sure you're using a large-and-in-charge baking sheet.)

Into the same mixing bowl, add in your baby carrots and snap peas. Cut your mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and add into the bowl. Cut your broccoli into bite-sized florets and add into the bowl as well. Drizzle another tablespoon or so of olive oil over these veggies, sprinkle in a bit of sea salt and pepper and toss to coat. Pour these veggies on top of the brussel sprout mixture and spread out evenly again. It's okay if they aren't all in one, flat layer.

Place the veggies in the oven on the middle rack and cook for about 12 minutes. At this point, grab a large spatula and stir the veggies around, trying to flip them over if you can. Put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, or until the veggies just start to get a little brown and the brussel sprouts are just done. Take the veggies out to cool a few minutes before mowing down on a mecca of vegetable goodness!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin

1 Pork Loin Roast - about 2lbs
8-10 pieces Applewood Smoked Bacon (I like the nitrite free goodness from Trader Joes)
Sea Salt and Pepper

Just two basic ingredients, folks. Paleo cooking could not get any easier than this! (Nevermind my colored toothpicks in the's all I had)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Cook just until cooked through, but still soft. DO NOT cook the bacon until it's crispy or it won't wrap around the pork loin well. After all the bacon is cooked, let it cool down a minute or two before handling it. Salt and pepper the pork loin if desired, but it's not necessary as you'll get some salt and flavor from the bacon. Begin wrapping the bacon around the pork loin. Affix one end of a piece of bacon to the loin with a toothpick, and continue with 4-5 pieces, lining up the bacon with the next piece. You should have 4-5 strips of bacon running vertically over the top of the loin. Afterwards, roll the pork loin over and affix another end of a piece of bacon on top of the last end, forming one continuous loop of bacon around the pork loin. Continue with the other half of the bacon, affixing all with toothpicks.

Place the bacon-wrapped goodness into the oven, in the middle rack. Cook for about 25-30 minutes. After 30 minutes or so, cover the roast with aluminum foil and continue to cook until a thermometer registers 165-170 degrees. This should be another 40 minutes or so. When meat has reached 165-170 degrees, take out of the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before digging in!

Bacon makes everything better!

Chicken Soup! knew it was coming!!

It is only right that you make a fabulous chicken soup with your freshly-homemade chicken stock. With a flavorful stock you don't need a lot of schmancy herbs and spices to jazz up the flavor. Feel free to add whatever your favorite spices are if you've got 'em, but again, not necessary to attain "Chicken Soup Nirvana".

Homemade chicken stock ~ about 2 quarts worth, give or take
2 medium carrots
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
3-5 cloves garlic, depending on your tastes
2 bunches chard, rinsed
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and pepper if desired
5-6 chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
**Can also add 1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and sliced in 1/4 inch pieces

Lightly salt and pepper the chicken thighs (sometimes I also like to use cajun seasoning, get creative :). Place a large soup pot over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. When warm, cook the chicken thighs in the olive oil just until done, about 4-5 minutes per side. When cooked through, remove the chicken thighs and set aside.

Pour chicken stock into the same large soup pot (no need to clean it...keep the juices in there from the chicken!) and bring to a simmer over medium-low. While that's warming up, chop the carrots into 1/2 inch rounds, smash and chop the garlic; set aside. Chop the chard into 2-inch pieces. When simmering, add in the carrots, garlic, bay leaf and onion and cook for about two minutes. Next add in the chicken thighs and chard. Cover and let cook for about five minutes or so, just until the chard is tender. If you are adding zucchini into the soup... add it along with the chard. Salt and pepper the soup if necessary, but go easy on the salt. Dinner is done!