Thursday, October 24, 2013

Paleo Bacon Chili

I had a fun day today.  A friend of mine is in cosmetology school and she had a makeup competition today and needed a model.  The students were allowed to pick their own themes and my friend decided to make me into a Viking Opera Singer.

We had a blast all morning.  She did a great job and when it came time to announce the winners, my friend placed second with the makeup she did.  I think we had a real shot at first, but look at the top three in the next picture.

Isn't that little girl just the cutest thing ever?!  How could we possibly beat her?  Third place was very well done (even if this isn't the best picture.)  The fun part was the whole outfit I'm wearing is actually mine, except for the wig.  I'm so glad I was able to go help my friend out and take a little detour out of my normal routine.  Thankfully, my hubby was home to do school with the kids.  In good news, he got a job but doesn't start working until Nov 4th, so we've got a little time home with him.  In fact, he's taking #2 hunting tomorrow morning for the youth season.  Good times for them!

Tonight's meal was an easy one.  I started by taking 2 yams and slicing them in half and sticking them in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  While they were cooking I started the chili.  In a good sized pot, I started cooking the bacon slices.  I then started dicing all my veggies.  By the time I was done the bacon was browned and almost crispy.  I added the veggies in and let them cook for a few minutes.  I then added the ground beef and spices.  I cooked the meat till it was cooked through then added all the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Let that simmer together for a few minutes then serve over the yams.  

Verdict: YUM!  So easy and delicious.  Everyone liked this meal.  I got the recipe from PaleOMG and tweaked it. Not from necessity, but because I couldn't find fire roasted tomatoes and didn't defrost my green peppers in time to get them in.  I substituted some sun dried tomatoes that I rehydrated and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and just omitted the green pepper.  Easy enough to do and it tasted just fine to us.

Serves 4-6

2-3 yams, cut in half
6 slices of bacon, cubed
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP paprika
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
4 oz sun dried tomatoes

1. Split the yams in half, poke with a fork, and start baking them in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until they are tender.
2. Take the sun dried tomatoes and cut them up. Place in 4 oz of water to start to reconstitute them.
3. In a good sized pot, start cooking your cubed bacon. 
4. While bacon is cooking, chop all your veggies.
5. When the bacon has browned and is a bit crispy, add the veggies (onion, pepper, garlic) to the pot.
6. Let that cook for a few minutes then add the ground beef and all the spices.
7. When the beef is browned, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and sun dried tomatoes.
8. Mix everything up and cook for a while to let the flavors blend.  Cook on low for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Place the yam in a bowl, pour some chili on top, and eat it.  Yum!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Slow Cooker Paleo Pork Stew

Last night's dinner might have flopped, but this one sure didn't!  I started this recipe based off of Nom Nom Paleo's similar recipe and I tweaked it a bit.  I made some good choices in this!  Quick, easy, and so, so good! 

I started off by slicing one onion nice and thin and adding a small bag of baby carrots to my 6 quart crock pot.  I minced 6 cloves of garlic and threw that on top.  Have I told you all that I FINALLY got a Pampered Chef garlic press?  Oh my gosh I am in love with it!  That thing is awesome.  If you use garlic frequently, you need one of those.  

Anyways...  I cubed 3 pounds of pork shoulder roast and threw that in a bowl and dumped on 1 tablespoon of my organic seasoned salt.  I mixed that all up and threw it on top of the onions and carrots.  I then cut a head of cabbage into about 6 wedges and placed them on top of the pork.  Some Marinara sauce, salt and pepper, then I cooked it on high for 5 hours.  When it was done, I poured some Balsamic vinegar all over the top then mixed it all up.   

Verdict: This was a great meal tonight.  It was a cold day and this warmed us right up.  Very tasty and filling. Everyone loved this meal and it will be made again.

Serves 4-6

1 small onion, sliced thin
6 cloves of garlic, minced
½ pound baby carrots
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds pork shoulder roast, cut into cubes
1 TBSP organic seasoned salt (or your favorite seasoning blend)
1 small cabbage, cut into 6-8 wedges
1 cup Paleo-friendly marinara sauce
1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar

1. In bottom of 6 quart crock pot (or large crock), lay down the sliced onions, carrots and minced garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a bowl place your cubes of pork roast and coat with the 1 TBSP of organic seasoned salt.  Mix well.
3. Put the seasoned pork cubes on top of the vegetables in the crock.
4. Cut the cabbage into 6-8 wedges and lay on top of the pork cubes. 
5. Drizzle with marinara sauce.  Season with more sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
6. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours.
7. Take the lid off and drizzle with 1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar.  Mix all ingredients well.  Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Paleo Chicken Pot Pie and *Almost* Paleo Pot Stickers

You win some, you lose some.  Overall, this was a delicious meal, even if it looks like crap.  This is one of those "I adapted" meals and I'm not sure I like how it turned out.  

You see, this recipe for chicken pot pies that I got from Fed and Fit called for coconut oil in the crust recipe.  Well, I used almond oil instead and I don't think that was a good call.  The crust did not hold well together at all.  I was barely able to get it flattened into circles, off of the cutting board, and on to the ramekins.  

What was hanging over and "attached" to the side of the ramekins fell off while cooking.  What was inside at first turned into a mushy mess with the oils from the chicken pot pie, but as it cooled and "dried", it actually tasted quite good.  You can see in the last picture how the crust dried, but it still wasn't a crust.

I also made pot stickers today.  (It was a pot day... pot pie, pot stickers, crock pot applesauce.)  These took some time.  I had to prep the vegetables, then cook them in stages adding the meat, then cool it all for an hour.  The pot sticker wrappers were fairly simple to make.  6 eggs, separated, 2 cups of arrowroot flour, and a cup of water (mixed in stages).  These were cooked like little crepes, 1 tablespoon of batter crepes.  Here's where it wasn't exactly fun. You can only cook one at a time and it takes about 30 seconds for each side to cook.  Then you take it off the heat and immediately fill with 1 tablespoon of the meat and veggie mixture, then use a fork to seal them shut.  This takes quite a while.  After about 30 minutes in, I realized I had made about 10 pot stickers out of 31 that the recipe made. Thankfully, this was the time that my hubby came home and I put him to work filling and sealing the pot stickers while I just made the wrappers.

Once they were all made, I had to fully cook them.  This was interesting.  I took a non-stick skillet (same one I made the crepes in actually) and used a basting brush to brush on some bacon grease.   I put 5 pot stickers in the pan and didn't touch them for 2-3 minutes and just let them cook.  I flipped them and added 1/8 cup of chicken stock and let them steam for another minute or two.  I repeated the process for all 31 pot stickers.  There was a sauce that I could have made but I didn't take the time to make it.  I'll put it in the instructions below.  I say this recipe is *almost* paleo (which means it wasn't) because I used soy sauce in it.  The original recipe from Paleo Cupboard called for coconut aminos but I haven't found a non-coconut substitute for those yet, just soy sauce which isn't paleo friendly.  If anyone has any non-coconut suggestions for coconut aminos that are paleo friendly, please tell me!

Verdict: For as ugly as this chicken pot pie is, it tasted good. We all agreed on that.  The pot stickers were delicious as well!  I don't think I would ever cook these 2 recipes on the same day again, just too much work involved.  Throw in making applesauce at the same time and I was just plain crazy.  But good tasting food, and knowing I have a supply of Paleo applesauce, makes all the work in the kitchen worth it.  Look for tomorrow's post. I made applesauce because I got a half bushel of apples for $10 so I'm making lots of fun items with apples right now. Who knows what I'll make tomorrow?  Well, I do, but you don't!

Makes 8 Pot Pies

3 cups almond meal
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup almond oil (I suggest using less to see if the crust holds together better than mine)
1 TBSP cool water
1 egg (for egg wash after placed on pies before cooking)

2 chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into ½” cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 cups frozen green peas
2 cups carrots, chopped
¼ cup almond milk
¾ cup almond meal
4 cups chicken stock
3 TBSP EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1. Cook, cool, and cut chicken breasts into ½” cubes.
2. Start to prepare your crust by mixing the dry ingredients in a food processor.
3. Add the almond oil and slowly pulse until it’s evenly mixed.  It should have the consistency of peas.
4. Slowly add the water and pulse until it forms a dough-like texture.
5. Remove from food processor, roll into a ball, and wrap in cling wrap.
6. Put the dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
7. Start your pie filling by heating the EVOO in the bottom of a large pot.
8. Add the onions and cook on medium – medium high until they are browned.
9. Slowly add the almond meal and reduce the heat to medium.
10. Slowly add the chicken stock and stir.
11. Add the almond milk, salt, peas, carrots, and chicken.
12. Cook for another minute or two.
13. Evenly distribute between your 8 ramekins (or other oven-friendly bowls.)
14. Dust a cutting board with almond meal.
15. Place the ball of dough on the dry almond meal and cut into 8 even sections.
16. Using your hands first (and then a rolling pin for even thickness), press and roll each of the 8 pieces into a circle.
17. Keep dusting the top and bottom of dough with dry almond meal so that it doesn’t stick.
18. Use the ramekin or dish you are baking in to cut the right sized circles in the dough.
19. Place the crust on top of the filling and paint with the scrambled egg for egg wash, cutting a couple of slits in the top.
20. Bake for an hour at 375.

Makes 30+ Pot Stickers

2 TBSP bacon fat
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
½ lb ground pork
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 cups cabbage, finely chopped
3 TBSP soy sauce or coconut aminos (coconut aminos are paleo, soy sauce isn’t)
2 tsp sesame oil

6 large eggs, separated
2 cups arrowroot powder
1 cup water

For Cooking Pot Stickers:
2 TBSP bacon fat
¾ cup chicken broth

Dipping Sauce:
2 TBSP soy sauce or coconut aminos (coconut aminos are paleo, soy sauce isn’t)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Chili sauce or hot sauce to taste

1. Prep all of your vegetables.  Seriously, prep them all first. They cook too quick to start prepping and cooking at the same time.
2. Add the bacon fat to a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add the garlic, small onion, and carrots.  Saute for about 3 minutes.  Add the pork and cook for another 5 minutes or till cooked through, breaking up the pork into small pieces.
3. Add the green onion, cabbage, and remaining filling seasonings to the pan and stir to combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
4. Take the pork mixture off the heat and place in a mixing bowl.  Allow to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  You can leave this overnight if you want to prepare a day ahead.
5. 30 minutes in to the cooling, start making your wrappers.  Separate the egg yolks from the whites and set the yolks aside.  Beat the egg whites until very frothy.  Gently add back the yolks until combined.
6. Mix the water and arrowroot powder together in a separate bowl and slowly stir into the egg mixture until combined.  The mixture will be very wet and runny.  Set the mixture aside for at least 20 minutes.  Stir the mixture well before using and stir a few times throughout the process of cooking the wrappers as the arrowroot powder will separate.
7. Get your pork filling mixture and keep it nearby, with a spoon, fork, and a plate to hold the pot stickers.
8. Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Pour about 1 TBSP of the wrapper mixture into the skillet and use the back of a kitchen spoon to quickly flatten it out, using a circular motion.  It takes a little practice to get this right.  You want the circle to be about 6 inches in diameter.  It will look like a thin crepe.
9. Cook the mixture for about 30 seconds on each side, then remove from the pan.  You don’t need the wrappers to be cooked through all the way because you will be cooking them again later.  Immediately take the wrapper and place about 1 TBSP of pork filling in the center of the wrapper.  Fold in half, place on a plate and press the edges together with a fork so they seal.  You can also use a dumpling press or a traditional folding technique, but I just used a fork.
10. Continue this process until all filling is gone and you have a bunch of pot stickers.  It goes a lot quicker if one person makes the wrappers and the other fills and seals them.
11. When finished making the pot stickers, you need to cook them.  Keep the pan heated over medium heat.  Lightly brush with bacon fat.  Add about 5 pot stickers (make sure they are not touching) and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Do not touch them!  After 2-3 minutes flip then add about 1/8 cup chicken broth to the pan, cover, and allow to steam for 1-2 minutes.  *I thought they tasted better when I didn’t put the lid on and they still kind of steamed, but they weren’t as soggy and a little more crispy.
12. Transfer the pot stickers to a plate and continue this process until all pot stickers are cooked.  Serve with dipping sauce.
13. Dipping sauce can be made by combining the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl.

Crock Pot Applesauce

Are you scared of making your own applesauce?  I sure was.  Emphasis on the "was" part.  I found a recipe that was super easy and tastes good, too.  Because, you know I'm all about the easy recipes.

Ready for this... this recipe needs apples, water, and canning jars.  Woo hoo!  I peeled and cut enough apples to fill my 6 quart crock pot and added 1 cup of water.  I turned it on high and let it cook for a few hours until the apples were nice and soft.  I then threw the apples into my food processor and pulsed them until they were the consistency I wanted.  Actually, they could have been just mashed with a potato masher if I wanted them a little chunky.

I poured them immediately into 6 sterilized mason jars and sealed them.  You can see in my picture up there that I left a lot of room.  I probably could have put more applesauce in each one and I would have only gotten 5 pints of applesauce out of the 6 quart crock pot.  I immediately turned the jars upside down and let the heat from the hot applesauce seal the jars.  It only took a few minutes and the jars did seal themselves without a hot water bath.

Verdict: This applesauce is totally sugar free, preservatives and additives free, and completely paleo friendly.  I can't wait to serve this with dinner tomorrow night.  I tasted a little that I didn't jar and it was delicious, even sugar free.

**UPDATE: Once this cooled all 6 jars had sealed themselves just fine.  We opened the 1/2 pint jar to eat first and it is super tasty!  Everyone liked it, even without sugar added.

Makes 5 pints

Enough peeled and cut apples to fill a 6 quart crock pot
1 cup water

1. Place all apple slices in crock pot. 
2. Add 1 cup of water.
3. Cook on high until apples are tender and mushy.
4. Mash with potato masher or pulse in food processor until applesauce is desired consistency.
5. Pour into sanitized pint sized mason jars.
6. Immediately seal and turn upside down while hot.
7. Keep upside down until jars have completely cooled.  Jars will seal themselves by the heat of the applesauce.  If any jars don’t seal, use those first.  All of mine sealed just fine.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicken and White Wine Sausages with Bacon Brussel Sprouts

My hubby has spent quite a few days over the last two weeks bow hunting for deer.  It's now bow and black powder season and almost rifle season, so today we went up to Bass Pro Shops to buy some new hunting clothes for me. The clothes I wore 2 years ago don't fit anymore - in a good way, they're way too big.  

We were a bit disappointed in the lack of options for ladies.  In fact, while I was able to get a ladies shirt, I ended up with a youth sized bib style pair of pants because all the ladies pants options (that were available in my size) were too light-weight or well over $150 a pair.  Thankfully, we found the youth pants that fit and there was one shirt that fit me that was the right thickness to wear in the cold weather.  So I'm all set to hunt.  I looked pretty good, too!

After we were done shopping for me, we went over to the guns and checked out all the black powder accessories. My husband has his father's black powder gun and he's never shot it.  He thinks it's been about 20 years since it's been fired so it is in need of a good cleaning before it can even be shot.  It took a while to figure out what to buy for cleaning the gun and firing it.  Then of course since we were near the guns, we decided to check out the rifles since we have a new hunter in the house.  Our son has a .22 that was gifted to him from my step-dad, but he and my hubby need to refinish the wood on it.  A .22 isn't great for hunting deer so we are considering options for a birthday present.  But that depends on a lot of other things down the road.  Definitely won't happen before hunting season this year.  

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because by the time we got back from all our shopping (we even had a stop at JoAnn Fabrics to price fabric to reupholster our wing-backed chairs) it was way too late to cook the dinner I had planned.  So, I whipped up something new based on what I had on hand.

This week at the farmer's market I picked up a new flavor of sausages, Chicken and White Wine.  I also got some brussel sprouts and yams.  I've also been using my cast iron skillets more and more because I'm finding I just like my meals cooked in them better.  I don't know why, but I just do.  I broke out 2 large skillets because I could see that 1 wasn't going to be enough and started cooking 2 pieces of bacon in each to get the fat going.  I cut each brussel sprout in half and sliced my sausage links.

Once the fat started rendering, I took the bacon out then I added the sausages in one pan and the brussel sprouts in the other.  I cut the bacon into pieces and threw it all into the pan with the brussel sprouts.  I probably could have cut it down before I started cooking, but oh well.  At the same time, I had 2 sweet potatoes (cut in half lengthwise and turned face down in a glass pan) cooking for 10 minutes in my microwave.  Once it was done cooking, I moved the pan to my broiler on high and cooked for 5 minutes face down and another 3 face up.

Verdict:  This was easy and tasty.  The brussel sprouts had a great flavor from the bacon and the sausages tasted wonderful.  The yams came out nice and tender which is what we all love.  The meal took a total of 20-25 minutes with prep time so it was nice and simple for us tonight.

Serves 4

4 chicken and white wine sausage links, sliced in pieces
2 pints brussel sprouts, each sprout cut in half
4 pieces bacon

1. Preheat 2 cast iron skillets to just over medium.
2. Add 2 pieces of bacon to each skillet. 
3. When the fat begins to render, remove the bacon to cutting board and in one pan add the brussel sprouts and in the other add the sausage pieces.  Turn sprouts in pan to coat in bacon fat.
4. Cut the bacon into pieces then add all the bacon back to the brussel sprout pan.
5. Cook until the bacon and sausage is cooked through, turning sprouts frequently so they do not burn

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Paleo Turkey Sliders with Avocado Slaw

I came across this recipe over at PaleOMG last week and decided to play with it.  We're not really "Southwest" and "spicy" kind of people when it comes to our food, so I tweaked the recipe a bit.  It was kind of nice to play with a recipe not because I had to but because I wanted to.

For this meal I used a pound of ground turkey, 1/2 of a red onion, some cumin, salt, pepper, and bacon fat.  That was just for the sliders.  I sliced half of that red onion and minced the other half.  I mixed them all together and shaped them into sliders.  This made 13 sliders.

For the avocado slaw I shredded 1 head of cabbage to start.  Well, I didn't shred it, I had my hubby shred it while I was shaping the sliders.  When he was done I used the food processor to blend together 2 avocados, salt, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice, and lime juice.  After that was nice and smooth, I poured it over my shredded cabbage and mixed it all together and used that as a bed for my sliders.

Verdict: This meal was liked by all.  I served it with some baked yams (not sweet potatoes) which are Paleo in moderation.  #2 decided that he loved the yams and ate all of his, which is amazing because I've never gotten him to eat a sweet potato before.  For the avocado slaw I omitted the red pepper and I wish I had left it in to give it a bit more of a kick.  Next time I'll use it.  Oh yes, there will be a next time.

Serves 4

1 lb ground turkey
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ red onion, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP fat (I used bacon fat)
Additional fat for the cooking pan

1. Add all your ingredients for your burgers in a large bowl. (Minus fat for the cooking pan.)
2. Shape small burger patties.
3. Heat up a large skillet under medium heat with a bit of fat in it (I used more bacon fat) and add your sliders.  Flip after 3-5 minutes or when you see the sides of your sliders begin to turn a white color (meaning they are cooking through.)
4. Serve on top of Avocado Slaw.  Yum!
Serves 4

1 small head of cabbage or bag of cabbage, chopped
2 avocados
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Shred your cabbage in a food processor or however you want.
2. Clean out your food processor and insert the S blade and add all the ingredients except for the cabbage and pulse until smooth.
3. Pour your avocado “mayo” on the cabbage and mix.
4. Put the cabbage on a plate and top with the Turkey Sliders.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Paleo Moo Shu Beef with Cauliflower Rice

Look at that, Chinese food that is Paleo?  Yes, that's right!  I've never had Moo Shu beef before but this tasted pretty darn good.  It also looked pretty close to some of the internet pics I've seen, so I'm happy there.  

It's Wednesday, so that means I used my crock pot.  This recipe took a little prep work, but it was fun prep work. This was the first time that I used the shredder blade on my food processor, so that was fun to work with.  For the most part though, this meal was pretty simple.

I chose the 4-quart size on my crock pot and put my beef roast in.  I used a 3ish pound roast and we will have some leftover Moo Shu for lunch tomorrow.  I shredded some cabbage and threw it all on top of the roast.  After that I added some minced fresh ginger and minced garlic.  I mixed up some Hoisin sauce with some apple cider vinegar and poured it all over the Moo Shu.  Cook it on high for a few hours and when there was 1 hour left I had my hubby add some mushrooms and sliced green onions.  I would have done it but I was still at ballet with #3.

When I got home I prepared the cauliflower rice.  I broke out the shredder attachment on my food processor again and went to town.  The shredder cut down the cauliflower into little pieces that look like rice.  It didn't exactly taste like rice, but it looked like rice and gave me the impression that I was eating it.  Just look at that picture up there, it really looks like rice.

Verdict: This was one tasty meal.  For a family that likes our Chinese food, I'm glad we were able to incorporate a meal back in.  Was it authentic?  Well, the Moo Shu certainly had the flavor of a good Chinese dish, the rice, not so much.  But it was a good way to prepare the cauliflower and it alone tasted good.  Hubby, kids and I all loved the meal and it will be a repeat.   

Serves 4-6

3ish lb beef chuck roast
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
½ head cabbage, red or green, cored and sliced thin or shredded
2 TBSP fresh ginger root, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Paleo Hoisin sauce (or cheat like I did for one night and use regular Hoisin sauce, all the Paleo versions have coconut aminos)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced
4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
½ tsp sesame seeds, optional

1. Season roast with salt and pepper and place in the bottom of your crock pot.
2. Sprinkle cabbage over the top, then evenly distribute ginger and garlic.
3. Drizzle Hoisin sauce and vinegar over the top.
4. Cook on high for 5-6 hours.
5. One hour before meat is done, add mushrooms and half of the green onions.
6. To serve, transfer roast from the crock pot to a cutting board.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.  Add meat back to crock and stir together crock pot contents.
7. Divide evenly among bowls.  Drizzle with additional green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. 

Serves 4-6

1 head cauliflower

1. Process fresh cauliflower in food processor until it is the size of rice, using the plain steel blade or the shredder blade.  You can shred it with a hand held grater or even a knife if you have the dexterity and patience to chop it very finely.
2. Place it in a microwavable safe dish with a lid.  DO NOT ADD WATER.  Cauliflower absorbs water and will become gummy if you add water.
3. Microwave it for 2-5 minutes or until it’s as hot as you’d like.