Thursday, May 30, 2013

Grilled Spanish Chicken and "Rice"

This recipe is a very loose adaptation of the classic Arroz con Pollo since it is Paleo version (containing no rice) and it all got cooked on the grill.  Shredded cauliflower was used as a replacement for the rice and worked out pretty well.  Once this dish was assembled it basically cooked itself.  You put everything in a foil packet and let it cook and steam away on the grill for about 40-45 minutes. 

Grilled Spanish Chicken and "Rice"
Makes 2-4 servings

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 head cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, cut into pieces
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
handful of pimento stuffed olives, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Light the grill to medium-high heat.

Take an extra long piece of foil (approximately 3 feet long) and fold it in half to create a double layer of foil.

Curl up the edges like you're trying to make a bowl.

Toss your cauliflower into a food processor that has the shredding attachment connected.  This will make your cauliflower easier to rice.

Once your cauliflower is riced, add in to your foil bowl.  Pour your chicken broth and coconut milk over the rice.  In a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the rice and give it a good stir.  Place chicken over the rice and scatter onions and olives all around it.  Sprinkle the rest of the seasonings over the chicken and everything else. 

Pull out another piece of foil, big enough to cover your foil bowl, and place on top.  Using your fingers, pinch and curl up the sides to completely seal the packet for steaming on the grill.

Place on the grill for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Slightly adapted from Paleo OMG

Our rating:


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paleo Shepherd's Pie

I grew up eating the Canadian version of Shepherd's Pie which is a layer of ground beef cooked with onions, a layer of corn, and finally topped with a layer of mashed potatoes dotted with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Each layer is already cooked and layered in a cast iron skillet and then the top gets browned under the broiler for a few minutes.  This Paleo version has no corn and no mashed white potatoes, but it does have a layer of sauteed vegetables covered with a gravy and a mashed root vegetable mixture for the top.  This dish turned out to be quite tasty and a good substitute for a comfort food.

Paleo Shepherd's Pie
Makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
3 celery stalks, small dice
4 carrots, small dice
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
4 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (remove ends)
3 turnips, peeled, ends cut off and cut into cubes
5-6 parsnips, peeled and cut into thirds (remove ends)
Salt to taste

Fill an 8-quart pan with water to boil turnips, parsnips and one carrot.  Turn the heat to medium-high.  Add the turnips, parsnips and carrot and boil for 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put a large skillet on medium-low heat.  Add 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil to pan.  Put the small diced onion, celery and carrot into the pan and cook till onions are translucent, which takes about 7 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Using the same pan, turn the heat to medium and add the ground been, 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 1 teaspoon ground pepper.  Stir to thoroughly distribute the salt and pepper and cook until the meat is cooked through.  Once the meat is completely cooked, drain the meat from the fat and transfer the meat to a bowl.  Drain the remaining fat and discard.

Return the vegetable mixture back to the same pan (it's totally okay if it has some fat coating from the beef) over medium-low heat.  Add the  minced garlic, chicken broth, thyme, and rosemary to the vegetable mixture.  Allow the liquid to heat up for a minute or two.  Add 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.  Stir to mix.  Add the arrowroot powder, one tablespoon at a time and mixing after each tablespoon , in order to thoroughly dissolve.  This should thicken the liquid to more gravy form, but not completely thick.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper.  Remove pan from heat.

Using a casserole dish (or a 9x13 pan), pour all the cooked ground beef inside by evenly spreading it out.  Next, evenly spread the veggie/gravy mixture.

The turnips, parsnips, and carrots should be thoroughly soft.  Each should be easily pierced with a fork.  Drain the water and add 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil and 2 tablespoons water.  Puree the mixture in a food processor to process until smooth (you might need a little more water).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon the mixture over the top of the veggie mixture and smooth it out making sure to cover all the veggies.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve hot.

From JoGoGym

Our rating:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cod with Coconut Slaw and Pico de Gallo

Fish is so good; both in taste and in health benefits.  This recipe seems quite long, but it was easy to put all together.  I started by making the slaw so the flavors could meld in the refrigerator.  I then turned my attention to the Pico de Gallo, which was a mixture of avocado, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice.

Finally it was time to prep to the fish which was coated in a mixture of almond meal and coconut flakes before being simply baked in the oven.  It turned out to be a great dish so don't let the length of ingredients and instructions stop you from making this.

Cod with Coconut Slaw and Pico de Gallo
Makes 2-3 servings

1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 pound cod (or other white fish)

For the Pico de Gallo
2 small or 1 large avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from one lime
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Coconut Slaw
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 package of broccoli slaw (already shredded broccoli and carrots, found in produce section)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 lime
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the Coconut Slaw
Toast coconut in a small saute pan on medium heat until it turns a light golden color.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli slaw, coconut and cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, the juice of one lime, Dijon mustard, honey, and cayenne.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour mayo mixture over broccoli mixture and toss well.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Pico de Gallo
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Cod:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Since I couldn't find almond meal, I ground up almonds in my coffee grinder (which I only use for spices) to make almond meal.  I also ground up the coconut flakes to make a smoother mixture.

Combine almond meal, coconut and cayenne pepper in shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.

Place beaten egg in separate shallow dish.  Season fish with salt and pepper.  Dredge each fillet in egg and then the almond meal mixture.  Press the mixture onto the fish to get a good crust.

Place fish on a lightly greased baking sheet (I used coconut oil) and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Slight adapted from Everyday Paleo

Our rating:

Santa Fe, NM

We spent exactly one week in Santa Fe which I find is the perfect amount of time to explore a city.  After a week, we know if we have seen everything we want to see and experience, or if it is a place that might warrant another visit for a longer period of time.  We really enjoyed visiting Santa Fe, but we did experience some problems with the elevation.  Santa Fe sits at 7,260 feet which was a surprise to both of us.  High altitudes typically create sleepless nights for me and it did for both of us.  It also causes a nighttime headache and Gerry found it rather difficult at times to breathe deeply.  These slight problems did not stop us at all from everything we wanted to do rather we just slowed down the pace a little.  It is also a very dry environment so we drank tons of water which also helped with altitude adjustment.

In a nutshell here is how we spent our time:

Walked around the downtown area and had drinks in the square on arrival
Open air bus tour of the city
Visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Gerry played a round of golf (I drove the cart since I won't play with a walking cast)
Had dinner at Maria's New Mexican Kitchen (known for their menu of 100 different margaritas as well as their food)
Santa Fe Farmer's Market (a huge, bustling market featuring lots of organic local produce)
Took the high road to Taos tour (a scenic route through the mountains which was spectacular)
Walked around downtown Taos  (which feels a little smaller than Santa Fe)
Ended our week with a superb dinner at 315 Restaurant and Bar (a French Bistro)

Our dinner at 315 was the perfect way to end our visit.  The restaurant is in a stucco building (typical Santa Fe architecture) on Old Santa Fe Trail but the food and service were absolutely French bistro.

We started our meal with a Charcuterie plate, a house-made sampling of smoked meats.  Next came Rabbit Terrine studded with olives and pistachios.  My entree was the Seared Duck Breast served on a potato gallette with ribbons of fresh vegetables.  Gerry chose the Brasied Veal with Halibut Cheeks with an assortment of oven roasted vegetables.  We both splurged and had dessert; Flourless Chocolate Cake with a raspberry sauce for me and a Pear and Berry Baked Pudding smothered in a wine sauce for Gerry.  The entire evening was perfection.

Downtown Santa Fe

Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur at Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Santa Fe Golf Course

High Road to Taos (Route 68)

Also on the road to Taos

In conclusion, we enjoyed Santa Fe and would enjoy spending a day or so there but we would love to try staying in Taos next time to explore that area.  Taos is at 6,967 feet high, so I suspect we would still have trouble adjusting to the altitude and it seems to be just as dry which means lots of water and lotion.

We left Santa Fe and drove to Colorado Springs on Sunday and the views were amazing.  Check in next Sunday for more news of our travels.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Smoky Mexican Tortilla-less Soup

We have been trying more Paleo/Primal type recipes and have found that they taste great and we feel wonderful without any of the grains.  With all the flavors in this soup, we didn't even miss the tortilla strips typically added.  It had all the flavors you would expect in this soup.

Smoky Mexican Tortilla-less Soup
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons coconut oil or bacon fat
1 small onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced (1/2 cup)
2 carrots, finely diced (1/2 cup)
1 poblano pepper, roasted and diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 quart chicken stock
8 ounces chicken, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, optional for garnish
Avocado slices, optional for garnish

In a large soup pot, melt the coconut oil and all the diced onion to cook until it becomes translucent and the edges begin to brown.  Add the diced bell pepper, carrots, celery, and roasted poblano pepper, season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the cumin, coriander, and chipotle chili powder and stir until well combined.  Allow to cook for another 8-10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and chicken broth, stir to incorporate and cook, stirring occasionally for two minutes.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until the flavors are well combined.

When the soup is nearly complete, add the cooked chicken to the pot just to heat it all the way through.

Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and avocado slices, if desired.

Slightly adapted from Balanced Bites

Our rating:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Squash and Sausage Bake

I recently found some nitrate-free chicken, mango, jalapeno sausages at Costco and that was the inspiration for tonight's dinner.  I chopped up some butternut squash, sliced some celery and onions, tossed in some baby carrots and added nice big chunks of the sausage.  I tossed everything with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and placed everything on a sheet pan.  The sheet pan went in a 425 degree oven for 45-50 minutes until veggies were tender.  The contrast of the spiciness of the sausage and the sweetness of the roasted vegetables was superb!

Squash and Sausage Bake
Makes 4 servings

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced thickly
Handful of baby carrots
1 pound sausage of choice (I used Chicken, Mango and Jalapeno)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut all ingredients and toss with olive oil.  I make a pile of my ingredients in the middle of the sheet pan, drizzle them with the olive oil and toss with my hands.  Spread all ingredients out in a single layer and place sheet pan in preheated oven.  After 20 minutes, stir everything around and continue to roast for another 20 minutes.  Check for doneness - it may need another 5 or 10 minutes depending on how tender you want your vegetables.

Our rating:

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Having lived in Texas for almost 18 years now, we have had many different versions of guacamole and I really like most of them.  Some people mash it very smooth and some use too much salt for my taste.  All treatments include lime or lemon juice and usually a fair amount of cilantro (which people either love or hate).  I have found Ina Garten's recipe to be a crowd pleaser since it uses lemon juice instead of lime which I think mellows out the flavor and has no cilantro.  The recipe makes 3 cups which we can't eat in one sitting and I don't like to keep the leftovers, so I always cut it in half and it comes out perfect.

Makes 3 cups

4 ripe Hass avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
8 dashes hot sauce (recommended Tabasco)
1/2 cup red onion, small dice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded and small-diced

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl.  Immediately add the lemon juice, hot sauce, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and toss well.  Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced (I use my pastry blender to mash them).  Add the tomatoes.  Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa

Our rating:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paleo Guacamole Burgers

Since Gerry and I both have been feeling so energized without gluten in our lives, it means looking at some simple foods differently, such as a burger.  We grilled some hamburger patties, topped them with a fried egg, and crowned it with my favorite guacamole (recipe to be posted tomorrow).  This is definitely a fork and knife burger.  I served these with Sweet Potato Fries.

Paleo Guacamole Burger
Makes 2 servings

1 burger
1 egg
1/4 cup guacamole

Cook the burger by method of choice (we grilled ours).
Fry an egg (preferably in coconut oil or grass-fed butter).
Place the fried egg on top of the burger and top with the guacamole.

Recipe from Ancestral Chef

Our rating:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Roasted Duck Breast

Duck is one of those proteins that a lot of people shy away from because if not cooked properly it is a very fatty dish.  We happen to love duck, especially the breast with a really crispy skin and that is exactly what we got with this preparation.  This recipe could not be simpler since all you need are duck breasts, garlic powder, salt and pepper and a good heavy ovenproof skillet.   Even though the original recipe called for a dipping sauce which I forgot to make, we thought it was perfect in every way.  Our side dishes were sauteed spinach and squash saute.

Roasted Duck Breasts
Makes 2 servings

2-4 duck breasts (depending on size)
Garlic powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Clean the duck breasts and pat dry.  Score lines across the fat 1/2 inch apart, taking care not to cut into the meat.  Score lines across in the other direction for a checkerboard pattern.

Season the breasts with the garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Heat the fry pan to medium (#4) and place the breasts fat-side down.  Cook for 6 minutes or until the fat is browned.  Turn the breasts over and place in the 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes for medium rare or 16-18 minutes for medium if the breasts are 1 inch thick.  Adjust cook time to thickness of breast.

Be sure to use an oven mitt to remove the pan from oven and place the breasts on a plate to rest for a few minutes.

Note:  You can strain the duck fat from the pan and save it in the refrigerator to be used in the future.

Slightly adapted from Real Food Forager

Our rating:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

I love crab cakes and I love Eggs Benedict so the thought of combining both of them had me hooked.  I made some simple crab cakes which I baked in the oven and placed them on a bed of sauteed spinach.  The crab cakes were then topped with a perfectly poached egg and finally smothered with Hollandaise sauce.  YUM!

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict
Makes 4 Crab Cakes

For the crab cakes:
12 ounces fresh lump crab meat
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
A few drops (or more) of your favorite hot sauce

Ghee, Coconut oil or olive oil

For the Hollandaise Sauce:
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or other fat of your choice)
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

For the poached eggs:
4 eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar

For the crab cakes:
Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, crumble in the crab meat, picking through to pick out any shells ad break apart into small pieces.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.

Make small cakes by using a ring mold or by simply forming them into small patties firmly with your fingers.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the tops start to turn a light golden brown.

While the crab cakes are cooking, saute some spinach in some ghee or coconut oil and set aside.

For the Hollandaise Sauce:
In a double boiler or medium metal mixing bowl, gently whisk the egg yolks.
continue whisking the yolks while adding the hot water, oil/fat, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper to the bowl.  Place the double boiler or metal bowl over boiling water (not in the boiling water if using a bowl) just set the bowl over the simmering water so the steam hits the bottom of the bowl, not the water.  Whisk constantly until the sauce begins to thicken (about 30 seconds to 1 minute).

Poach the eggs:
 Bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer, add the tablespoon of vinegar.  Break each egg into a liquid measuring cup or a custard cup.  Gently slip the egg into the water by holding the custard close to the water and just tipping the cup so the egg gently tumbles into the water.  Poach at a bare simmer for 4 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and gently dry with a folded paper towel.

To plate:
Start with a spoonful of the cooked spinach, top with a crab cake, top with a poached egg, and finally spoon some of the sauce on top.

From Everyday Paleo

Our rating:


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Travel Post

We have stayed in one place for several months in our Motor Home for various reasons...the ill-fated Triumph cruise in early February, Gerry's business travel plans as well as his annual golf trip, and finally our daughter buying a house (which we stayed to help where we could).  We also got a new puppy, Newman, a Lhasa Apso who was 12 weeks old when we got him.  Now we are traveling again and enjoying every minute of it and Newman has adjusted perfectly.  

Our home base when we are near the kids is in Aubrey, Texas.  On Friday we drove from Aubrey to Amarillo, Texas.  We set up the motor home once we got there and just settled in for the night.

Saturday morning we got up and explored the Palo Duro Canyon by driving through it.  The Palo Duro Canyon is nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Texas and is often claimed the second largest canyon in the USA (the Grand Canyon is the biggest).  We did get out periodically to snap some pictures and let our puppy out.  There is a 5-mile drive (give or take) down into the canyon and back out with numerous spots for photos.  Since the land around Amarillo is so flat, it is absolutely amazing to drive to this area of canyon.  It was quite warm (the car thermometer registered 103 degrees at the lowest point of the canyon) so we were glad we did the tour in the morning.  Since I broke my foot 2 weeks ago, we knew a hike was out of the question, so I was very grateful for the scenic drive.

We grabbed a quick lunch in the park and ate at an outdoor picnic table in the shade so we could all be in the shade and then drove to check out Cadillac Ranch.  Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 by some members of the art group Ant Farm and consists of older Cadillac automobiles with tailfins, half buried nose-first in the ground.  They were buried at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.  They are now completely spray painted and covered in graffiti with cans of spray paint littering the ground all around it.  It was a very bizarre experience.

We finished our day with dinner out at The Big Texan Steak House, home of the 72 ounce free steak dinner (as featured on Man vs. Food).  We did enjoy a steak (certainly not the 72 ounce steak challenge) and the atmosphere at this restaurant.  There were 4 people who took on the challenge of the 72 ounce steak while we were having dinner and we were able to follow the first one who did not successfully complete the challenge.  We left before we knew the fate of the other 3 participants.

We had a wonderful day and a great night's sleep so we could pack up and head to Santa Fe, New Mexico today.  We got settled in at our new site in the early afternoon and after a quick lunch went downtown to explore Santa Fe.  We both loved the architecture and feel of the city and after walking  the square downtown (slowly with my walking boot), found a wonderful upstairs balcony in a restaurant to enjoy a margarita and people watch for a while.

We are both looking forward to spending a lot more time in downtown Santa Fe this week.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mustard Maple Chicken

This dish turned out so packed with flavor and was so easy to make, that I'm sure it will be on the menu again and again.  I will warn you though if you don't like mustard, you won't like this dish.  The dish starts with boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are covered with a mixture of mustard, maple syrup, vinegar and salt and pepper.  The pan then went into a hot oven for 40 minutes and when done cooking the liquids left in the pan were turned into a sauce.  While eating Gerry kept saying this dish is so good it needs a rating higher than 5 forks, which is the highest we do.  If you like mustard, you need to try this dish.  I served these with a stir fry of carrots, onions, red peppers and snow peas.

Maple Mustard Chicken
Makes 2-3 servings

1 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (most of the fat cut and discarded)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard (must be Dijon, no substitutes)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a 8x8" oven-proof pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken thighs in the foil lined pan then pour the mixture on top of it.  Turn the chicken around in the sauce to make sure it gets all coated.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to a plate.  DO NOT discard the liquid.

Immediately after plating chicken, whisk in the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into the liquid in the pan.  You'll create a nice, thick sauce to drizzle over your chicken.  You need to do cornstarch mixing immediately because the liquid needs to be hot in order for it to thicken properly.  If it's still not thickening after 1 tablespoon, you can add a little more.

Sprinkle rosemary on top before serving.

From Table for Two

Our rating:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hawaiian Pulled Pork

I recently invested in a new 4.5 pound crock pot since the one I used to have was huge and impractical for just the two of us.  I broke in the new crock pot by making this pulled pork.  I'm amazed at how good it turned out since it had 3 ingredients plus salt and pepper.  It could not have been easier to throw together.  My sides were mashed sweet potatoes and a summer squash saute.

Hawaiian Pulled Pork
Makes 6-8 servings

3-4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt)
1 18 ounce can crushed or cubed pineapple (in water)
2 tablespoons grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)

Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides.  Put the pork in a crock pot.  Pour the pineapple on top with all the liquid.  Add the ginger.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove the pork, shred it with two forks and add the shredded meat back into the juices in the crock pot.

Recipe from TGI Paleo

Our rating:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Stacks

I made these for lunch the other day and they were scrumptious.  It was basically a slice of sauteed eggplant, a slice of fresh tomato, an Italian sausage patty, and a poached egg all stacked on top of each other and garnished with chopped parsley and sun dried tomatoes.  I know it might sound like an unusual combination but it worked together wonderfully.

Roasted Eggplant Stacks
Makes 2 servings

1 eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (4 of them)
1 tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (4 of them)
1/3 pound fresh ground bulk Italian sausage meat
Poached eggs
Finely diced sun dried tomatoes
Minced parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Coconut oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Brush both sides of the eggplant rounds with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Broil the eggplant rounds under your broiler on high heat for 4-5 minutes on one side, flip and broil for 3-4 minutes on the other side or until they are tender and start to brown.  You can also just saute the rounds in a skillet until golden brown on both sides and tender which is what I did.

Shape sausage meat into four patties about the same size as the eggplant rounds and pay fry the patties until cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile poach 4 eggs.

Now it is time to stack.  Place two cooked eggplant rounds on a plate, top with a tomato slice, a sausage patty, a poached egg, some sun dried tomatoes and little bit of parsley.

Finish it all with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and black pepper to taste.  (I forgot to do this last step and it was still delicious).

From Everyday Paleo

Our rating:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Simple Crab Salad

Happy Mother's Day!  This recipe made a nice lunch for my mother's day celebration.  Crab is a relatively recent food love for me.  I used to love to order crab cakes when out at restaurants but only if I knew someone who recommended them from that particular establishment, until I figured out the best places to buy packaged fresh lump crabmeat.  Now I love all things crab.  I love this particular recipe because you start with a luscious ingredient and simply toss it with a few other ingredients to create a wonderfully satisfying lunch.  Beautiful ingredients simply treated make some of the best meals.

Simple Crab Salad
Makes 2 servings

8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat (I got mine at Costco)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups mixed baby salad greens
Extra virgin olive oil
Halved grape tomatoes
1 small avocado, cubed
Lemon wedges

Pick through the crabmeat in a bowl making sure there are no bits of shell.   Add red peppers, scallions, mayonnaise and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice.  Mix everything to combine, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.  Toss salad greens with remaining lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil just to moisten the lettuce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide salad between two plates top with crabmeat and garnish with tomatoes and avocado cubes.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Slightly adapted from Nom Nom Paleo

My rating:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

One Pot Chicken Drumsticks

One pot dinners seem almost too easy to serve as dinner and this one turned out fabulously.  The simply seasoned drumsticks were seared in a large skillet on all sides and then seasoned with poultry seasoning.  Some chopped onions, garlic and tomatoes went in to simmer for about 15 minutes.  Finally some zucchini chunks were stirred in and cooked for a few more minutes until tender.  The ultimate, easy one skillet dinner!

One Pot Chicken Drumsticks
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons coconut oil
8 chicken drumsticks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
4 small zucchini, cut into large chunks

In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat until hot enough to sizzle when you add the drumsticks.  Generously season the drumsticks with salt and pepper, add to the hot oil, and sear for 5-7 minutes, or until browned on all sides.

Sprinkle the poultry seasoning on top of the drumsticks and add the onions, garlic, and tomatoes.  Cover, turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the zucchini and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

From Everyday Paleo

Our rating:


Friday, May 10, 2013

French Lentils

I find that lentils can be a little underwhelming at times.  I don't mind the texture but often there is just not enough flavor to them.  I love this particular recipe from Ina that yields perfectly cooked, flavored packed lentils.  This recipe calls for French green lentils (lentilles du Puy) and they turned out beautifully.  This was the side dish for the Crispy Skin Salmon I posted yesterday.

French Lentils
Makes 4 servings

1/2 pound French green lentils
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 cups yellow onions, chopped
2 cups leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped (4 stalks)
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped (3 carrots)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar

Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water.  Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock and tomato paste.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.  Add the vinegar and season to taste.

From Barefoot in Paris

Our rating:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Crispy Skin Salmon

Have you ever had a piece of fish with a skin so crisp you can actually hear it snap?  If you have, you know how delicious it is and I keep trying to recreate this crispy skin at home.  We are getting closer, in that part of the skin tonight was quite crisp but the fish was a little over done.  I think if the pan had been a little hotter when we started, we wouldn't have overcooked the fish.  I'll definitely give it one more try.  Our sides were perfectly seasoned French lentils and sauteed chard with garlic.

Crispy Skin Salmon
Makes 2 servings

3/4 pound salmon fillet, skin on
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon avocado or macadamia nut oil plus a little extra for brushing (I used macadamia nut oil)

Take the salmon fillet and cut into individualized portions which will change depending on how much each person eats.

Flip the salmon over skin side up, firmly hold the sides of the fillet and curl it upward by pressing the sides slightly in and carefully score the skin across by slicing your knife through the skin about 1/2 inch deep.  (Be sure to do this just across the top of the skin but do not slice all the way through the fish like you are going to cut it in half and try to keep the scores about 1/4 inch apart, the closer the scoring the crispier the skin.)

Once each fillet is scored take the leaves off your thyme and mince with the garlic.

Sprinkle a little bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper and thyme garlic mixture in between each slit of each score.

In a medium sized pan heat avocado oil over medium high heat and wait for the pan to get hot.  While you're waiting for the pan to get hot, lightly brush the top of each salmon skin with the oil to prevent any sticking (be careful not to rub out any of the herb mixture in the slits).

Once the pan is hot place the salmon in the pan facing away from so you don't splash hot oil on yourself and very lightly press down for a second, just enough to make sure it's evenly distributes across the pan for an even sear. 

Let the salmon cook for 2-4 minutes on the skin or until the salmon has turned a milky pink about 2/3 the way up the salmon.  Carefully slide spatula under salmon, being careful not to rip the skin and flip and cook on the other side for 2-3 more minutes or until salmon is cooked through.

From Civilized Caveman Cooking 

Our rating:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Asian Shrimp Salad

When the weather is warm outside, there is nothing more satisfying than a nice big salad for lunch.  The ways to change up a salad are infinite, but today I took an Asian twist by making a vinaigrette using rice vinegar, coconut aminos (instead of soy sauce), olive oil and a little toasted sesame oil.  I quickly stir-fried some snow peas to add to the salad to add a warm component.  For crunch I used red pepper strips.  For a little onion twist, I added sliced scallions.  Just because I really like them, I added halved grape tomatoes and cubed avocado.  I then sprinkled the salad with toasted sesame seeds.  It turned out to be a delightful salad.

Asian Shrimp Salad
Makes 2 servings

Baby greens (I used baby romaines)
1/3 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 scallions, sliced
handful of snow peas, stir-fried in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small avocado, cubed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Make dressing:
Combine rice vinegar, coconut aminos, olive oil and toasted sesame oil in either a small bowl and whisk, or place in a jar with a tight lid and shake.  Season as desired with salt and pepper.

Place washed greens in bowl with sliced red pepper and scallions.  Toss with enough dressing to just moisten the greens.  Divide salad between two plates.  Top with the cooked shrimp, halved tomatoes, and avocado cubes.  Drizzle with a spoonful of dressing and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Our rating:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cuban Picadillo

If you have never had Picadillo it is ground beef seasoned with a sofrito and tomato sauce and finished with some green olives.  It's a wonderful blend of flavors and this particular recipe is a lightened up version, making it better for you.  I served this over brown rice.

Cuban Picadillo
Makes 6 servings

1/2 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 pounds 93% lean ground beef (preferably organic grass fed)
4 ounces tomato sauce
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons green olives, coarsely chopped

Brown meat on medium flame in a large saute pan and season with salt and pepper.  Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces.  When meat is no longer pink, drain all juice from pan.

Meanwhile, chop onion, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro.

Add sofrito (onion mixture) to the meat and continue cooking on a low flame.  Add green olives and about 2 tablespoons brine (this adds great flavor), cumin, bay leaf, and more salt if needed.  Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water and mix well.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 15-20 minutes.

Slightly adapted from Skinny Taste

My rating:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Halibut with Ginger Mango Salsa

We have been mostly eating apples and berries with an occasional orange for our fruits lately since these have the least impact on our blood sugar levels (low glycemic index).  Today we had a real treat with the Mango salsa on top of a beautiful piece of halibut.  The fish was very simply seasoned with salt and pepper and seared in coconut oil.  It was then topped with the sweet and hot salsa and drizzled with cilantro sauce.  Each flavor was superb and heavenly when combined.  If you are not a cilantro fan, you could substitute parsley.  We served this with grilled asparagus spears.

Halibut with Ginger Mango Salsa
Makes 2 servings

For the salsa:
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 small shallot, diced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup cilantro, diced

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the above ingredients and set aside.

For the Cilantro Sauce:
1/2 cup mayo (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
Hot sauce to taste

In a food processor or blender, add all of the above ingredients and blend together until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the fish:
1 pound halibut (or however much you feel is appropriate for two people)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium to medium high heat.

Once the oil in the pan is nice and hot, place the fish fillets in the hot coconut oil and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.

Serve the fish topped with the Mango Ginger Salsa and drizzled with the Cilantro Sauce.

Slightly adapted from Everyday Paleo

Our rating:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pork Fried Rice

Since I had both leftover brown rice and leftover pork roast, it was absolutely time for this recipe.  It took less than 15 minutes to have dinner on the table and it was delicious.  I love to redesign leftovers so you don't even realize you're eating leftovers.

Pork Fried Rice
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 cups cold cooked rice
1 cup cold cooked pork, small dice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I used coconut aminos)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet.  Saute vegetables until just beginning to soften.  Add rice and pork and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Push rice to one side of the skillet.  Add the 1 tablespoon olive oil; add eggs; cook and stir until eggs are thickened.  Stir eggs and rice together.  Stir in soy sauce (or coconut aminos) and season with salt and pepper.

Slight adapted from Food .com

Our rating:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Oven Roasted Bacon Veggies

This was the side dish we had yesterday with our Balsamic Mustard Chicken and they wee so good, I decided they needed their own post.  It was simply Brussels sprouts and zucchini tossed with olive oil and 1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat and roasted in a 350 degree oven.  The bacon bits were sprinkled over the veggies for the last 5 minutes of roasting in the oven.  The bacon was a wonderful flavor component for the Brussels sprouts and I loved the roasted zucchini.

Oven Roasted Bacon Veggies
Makes 4 servings

5 strips bacon chopped
4 small zucchini
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the bacon until crispy.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate.  Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat.

Cut Brussels sprouts in half.  Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and then slice into half moon shapes.  Drizzle Brussels sprouts and zucchini half moons with olive oil and bacon fat, season with salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet.  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden brown.  Sprinkle the bacon bits over veggies and continue to roast for another 5 minutes to warm the bacon.

Slightly adapted from Everyday Paleo

My rating: