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 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.