Sweet and Spicy Braised Brussels Sprouts

IMG_0758I LOVE Brussels sprouts. I am obsessed. I don’t know what it is about them. Maybe it’s the way they go so well with bacon? Maybe it’s the fact that they can be eaten as a dinner side or a breakfast hash? Maybe it’s the fact that they look like tiny cabbages? Ok, it’s all three things…but mostly the whole going well with bacon thing.

Luckily for me, the hubby is as crazy about the sprouts as I am. As a result, we eat them at least once a week, if not more frequently. But while we may love them, we still like to keep some variety in how we eat them. Last weekend, when we made a roast chicken for a dinner with my parents, I braised them in a sweet and spicy sauce made of beef broth, maple syrup and red pepper flakes, and created one of my favorite Brussels sprouts recipes we’ve had yet!

Here’s how you can make Sweet and Spicy Braised Brussels Sprouts in your kitchen:

  • about 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, ends cut off and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ghee, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp mustard (we used a spicy brown mustard)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • dash of red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Melt the cooking fat in a large sauté pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add in the onion and garlic, stirring to coat in the oil. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the onions have browned slightly, about two minutes.

2. Add in the Brussels sprouts and stir to coat in the oil. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, mix together in a bowl or liquid measuring cup the broth, mustard, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flake and salt and pepper.

3. Pour the liquid into the sauté pan, stir to combine, and then cover the sauté pan and reduce the heat to medium-high, cooking the Brussels sprouts in the braising liquid for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts are almost as tender as you like them. **Note: if you find that you need more liquid, just add some more beef broth.

4. Remove the cover from the pan for the last few minutes of cooking, to help the braising liquid thicken and become more of a light sauce. This will likely take 2-3 minutes.

5. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy! These were great as a side dish to roast chicken, but are a simple, delicious vegetable side that could go with really any meal!

Brussels Sprouts

Transformation Tuesday: Paleo Pasta Carbonara Recipe (Gluten/Grain/Dairy Free)

NutritionIt’s Transformation Tuesday, which means another recipe creation that transforms a traditional non-paleo dish into a paleo meal anyone can love! Today’s target: Pasta Carbonara. I was going to make this with nicely spiraled zucchini noodles (zoodles) and some grilled chicken, but I just didn’t get my act together this weekend.

So instead, I made plain old pasta carbonara with what I call zucchini fettucine (read: wide, thin slices of zucchini made with a regular veggie peeler) and plenty of crispy bacon.

Despite the lack of chicken and fancy zoodles, this was super delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again, and will try adding some other veggies to it (I’m thinking asparagus and/or peas).

To be honest, I thought making a carbonara dish was going to be a bit more of a challenge. I always think of it as cream-based with lots of cheese, and while you can definitely make the dish this way, the real key to a great carbonara, it turns out, is eggs!

The other key to a good carbonara: patience! This sauce is a “low and slow” kind of thing, and if you try to cook the sauce too quickly, you’ll be eating zoodles with scrambled eggs on top. It would probably still taste great (because, bacon), but it won’t be carbonara! So take your time, people!

(**Note: if you can tolerate dairy, I do think this would be great with some grated romano cheese on top! I recommend romano because it’s typically made with goat or sheep’s milk and both animals are usually grass-fed.)

Carbonara

Here’s how you can make this in your own kitchen (makes 1 large or 2 smaller size portions):

  • 2 strips bacon, diced
  • 3 zucchini (summer squash would also work well)
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (if you can tolerate dairy, heavy cream would also work)
  • 2.5 tsp arrowroot starch (potato starch would also work)
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk, whisked
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 stalk chopped fresh green onion (optional, for garnish)

1. Cook the diced bacon in a medium sauté pan until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to drain any excess fat, leaving about 1-2 tbsp of bacon pat in the pan.

2. Turn your zucchini into noodles. This can be done with a simple veggie peeler, making thin, fettucine-like shapes, or can be done with a julienne cutter or spiralizer. Over medium-high heat, cook the zoodles in the bacon fat , stirring, until they are cooked through and slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, arrowroot starch, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine fully. Then, place the saucepan over low heat and warm up. You want the milk to be hot, but not boiling. While the milk is heating up, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Once the milk is heated through, slowly add the mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. The key is to gradually eat the eggs so they don’t start scrambling.

4. Return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and add in about half of the chopped basil and half of the cooked bacon.  Continue to cook the sauce over low heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens and becomes very creamy. This took me 5-10 minutes. It is a slow process and you don’t want to go too quickly! Once again, we are trying to avoid scrambling the eggs!

5. Once the sauce has reached your desired thickness, and resembles a typical alfredo-type sauce, pour the sauce over the zoodles. Top the dish with the remaining basil, bacon and green onions, and enjoy!

Carbonara 2

This was a great meal that was simple to make but so delicious! It’s filled with healthy fats that will keep you full for long after the meal. If you try this out, let me know what you think!

 

Easy Roast Chicken & Orange-Tarragon Pan Sauce

IMG_0758In our house, Sundays are often family days, and yesterday was no exception. We had the hubby’s family over for lunch during the day and had our parents over for dinner in the evening. It was an entire day of playing hostess, so pretty much an awesome day!

Still, after an afternoon of cooking and then cleaning, we wanted to make a dinner for my parents that wouldn’t disappoint but that would also be super simple. This roast chicken was exactly that!

It was one of the best, juiciest chickens I’ve ever eaten, and the pan sauce was the perfect replacement for a traditional gravy. We ate this with braised Brussels sprouts and curried carrot puree, along with some salad my parents brought with them. It was truly a great meal that was really simple and didn’t involve too much clean up.

Roast Chicken

Here’s how you can make chicken this in your kitchen:

  • 1 roaster chicken (Any size you like! Our was about 5 pounds)
  • 1/2 stick of butter, slightly softened
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. To cook our chicken, we butterflied it. It’s an easy way to make sure your chicken roasts really evenly, but is not necessary. This recipe would work just as well roasting the chicken whole. If you do want to butterfly your chicken, click here for some easy instructions.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, tarragon and garlic until well combined.

3. Now it’s time to spread the butter under the skin of the chicken. Carefully lift small areas of chicken skin, spreading butter under the skin as you go, until you’ve covered the entire chicken in a thin layer of butter.

4. Place the chicken on a baking rack on top of a baking pan (this helps the skin get crispier by keeping the chicken away from its own juices) and roast for about 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer reads about 180 degrees. Then cut up and serve! It’s that easy!

For the pan sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • pinch of saffron (optional)*

1. In a medium saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and store to coat in the oil. Cook the onions, stirring, until they get brown and begin to soften, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth and mustard to the pan, stirring to combine fully. If you are using saffron, add a pinch of saffron to the broth at this time. Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook uncovered until the sauce reduces by almost half, about 5 minutes.

3. Once the sauce reduces, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange juice, cold butter and tarragon. Pour into a small dish for spooning over the chicken.**

*Hint: If you want to use saffron in the sauce (which I highly recommend), look for the flavorful threads in the ethnic food section of your grocery store. I found saffron that was about half the price of the kind found in the typical spice section!

**Note: the recipe does not yield much sauce, but we found it was plenty for four people to eat with the chicken. The flavor really packs a punch!

Roast Chicken 2

Paleo Braised Pot Roast with Root Vegetables, “Cauli-cannon” and Apple-Bourbon Pan Sauce

IMG_0758It’s a bit hard to believe but until this week I had never made pot roast before! This week, I was committed to making that change. On Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, I had been hoping to make corned beef, but the grocery store ran out (RAN OUT! ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY!). It seemed like the perfect time to make my pot roast dreams happen.

I kept the sides I was planning on making with the corned beef, and this meal was still a great way to celebrate my Irish heritage. I made a healthier version of the traditional Irish colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage) by using cauliflower, and cooked some tender root vegetables in with the meat.

Braised in hard cider and topped with a cider-bourbon sauce, this pot roast would be a great holiday meal, or a great Sunday dinner for the extended family. While this meal takes a little time, it is super simple, and could be made even simpler by using a crock pot.

DSC_5914

Here’s how you can make this in your kitchen:

For the pot roast

  • 2-3 lb beef pot roast (we used a 2 lb one)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 5 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, sliced into 1/2 pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 bottles hard apple cider

1. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, melt your cooking fat over high heat. Be sure the pan is “screaming hot” as the hubby would say, then place your beef roast into the pan. Sear the meat on all sides until browned, about 1-2 minutes each side.

2. Once the meat is seared, add in your chopped parsnips, carrots, onion and garlic. Then pour in 1.5 bottles of hard cider (about 18 oz). Drink the leftover cider (no wasting ingredients in this kitchen!). Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, so the liquid is just bubbling slightly. Simmer the meat and vegetables for about 3 hours on the stove top. To serve the meat, remove it from the pot a few minutes before cutting it. The meat should simply fall off in chunks ready to be placed on your plate!

For the “cauli-cannon”

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped into small, 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp ghee (or other cooking fat)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp organic mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Steam the cauliflower on the stove top for about 10 minutes, or until fork tender. While the cauliflower is cooking, add the cooking fat to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it melts. Add the chopped cabbage to the pan and stir to coat the cabbage in the fat. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Using a large ladle, scoop about 1 cup of the hard cider from the pot in which the meat is cooking and add to the sauté pan with the cabbage. Cover the sauté pan and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the cabbage is soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. When the cabbage is done, turn off the heat and set aside.

3. Once the cauliflower is done cooking, puree the vegetable using an immersion blender or regular blender, until completely smooth. Stir the cabbage, mustard, mayonnaise, dill and salt and pepper into the pureed cauliflower. Cover to keep warm while you make the sauce.

For the sauce

  • About 2 cups cooking liquid
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder, dissolved in 2 tsp water to make a “slurry”

1. Into the sauté pan used to cook the cabbage, add about 2 cups of the pot roast cooking liquid using a large ladle. Over medium-high heat, bring the liquid to a boil and let cook for about 3 minutes, reducing slightly.

2. Stir in the mustard and the bourbon, stirring to combine. Reduce the heat to medium, so the liquid is just simmering. Then add in the arrowroot powder slurry and stir to fully combine. The sauce should immediately begin to thicken with the addition of the arrowroot powder and be ready to serve!

**Our sauce quickly became a little too thick. While I have reduced the recommended amount in this recipe, if your sauce becomes too thick, simply add a bit more of the cooking liquid to the mixture.

To serve this dish, simply scoop some “cauli-cannon” and the root vegetables onto a plate, top with some of the beef and then add some sauce. We added more fresh chopped dill to the top of the dish as well.

DSC_5906If you try this meal, please let me know how you like it! We really loved it and would love to see some pictures of what others made!

Transformation Tuesday: Pulled Pork Tacos with Plantain Tortillas

IMG_0758My journey to make-over awesome non-paleo meals continues- this time with tacos! Tacos are a favorite meal in our house, and are typically a go-to when guests come over since they are so customizable. I can make mine with lettuce wraps, the hubby can splurge on gluten-free corn tortillas and guests can eat their meat and veggie goodness however they please. When a Reddit user suggested I make tacos one of my Transformation Tuesday blog posts, I jumped at the chance.

So on Saturday night when we had friends over, it was no surprise that tacos were on the menu, this time wrapped in a plantain tortilla and filled with pulled pork, homemade coleslaw, roasted garlic guacamole and fresh veggies.

What was a bit of a surprise, however– EVERYONE wanted to eat them with the gluten-free, paleo tortillas I made! They were a huge hit!

I unfortunately can’t take credit for creating the plantain tortilla recipe (though I SO wish I could!). That credit belongs to Simone Miller of the California-based ZenBelly Catering. But I do have lots of ideas spinning around in my head now about what other starchy foods could become tortillas. May have to do some experimenting over the next few weeks!

For now, I cannot say enough good things about these tortillas. They actually rolled, bent, scooped and did all the other tortilla things without breaking! They were slightly sweet, and had a great chewy texture that paired perfectly with the coleslaw and fresh veggies on our tacos. Even better, three taco-loving dudes gave them two thumbs up!

photo 2-2

You can find the full recipe for the plantain tortillas on the ZenBelly Catering website.

Below, find recipes for my roasted garlic guacamole, pulled pork and homemade coleslaw.

For the roasted garlic guacamole (Makes about 2 cups):

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño (or more if you want this to be really spicy)
  • 3 avocados
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped lightly
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Once the oven is hot, cut the top off the head of garlic so that pointy bit is gone and you can see the individual cloves exposed. Wrap the garlic in tinfoil and place in the oven, roasting until the cloves are brown and soft, and the garlic tastes sweet (about 30-45 minutes). When the garlic is ready, let it cool for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to handle. **Note: roasting times could vary quite a bit depending on your oven, so it’s best to just check on the garlic every 10 minutes or so while you’re roasting.

2. When the garlic is cooled, scoop out the flesh of the three avocados into a food processor. Chop the jalapeño (discarding the seeds and inner ribs if you want it less spicy, keeping them if you want it spicier) and add that to the food processor along with the juice of two limes, the cilantro and the salt and pepper. Then, take the head of roasted garlic and simply squeeze it from the bottom. The cloves of roasted garlic should just squeeze out. Add these to the food processor as well.

3. Combine all of the ingredients together in the food processor. If you would like a chunkier guacamole, pulse the food processor in short bursts, stopping when the mixture is combined but still has a rough texture. I prefer making a smooth guacamole, and simply let the food processor go for about a minute.

This guacamole is great on tacos (duh), but also keeps pretty well and doesn’t get too brown thanks to the lime juice. It’s great for dipping veggies, adding to a slice of deli meat or topping some eggs.

For the pulled pork (made in a crock pot for ultimate convenience!):

  • 3 lb pork butt (these are called by different names, including Boston blade, blade roast, etc, but any grocery store employee or butcher should get you what you need if you say you’re making pulled pork!)
  • dry spices of your choosing
  • BBQ sauce of your choosing

The reason I love making pulled pork is that it’s so easy, and really economical for feeding a crowd. I got my 3 lb pork but on sale at the grocery store for only $8.50! And it made TONS of pulled pork (enough for 5 people to have 3 tacos each and still leave pork leftover). Making this pork in a crock pot makes the recipe as easy as it is affordable.

1. Before cooking, add your choice of dry spices to your pork, rubbing the spices into the pork on all sides. This time we just used a simple coating of seasoned salt, but in the past we’ve done espresso rubs, spicy chili powder and adobo rubs, etc. There is really no end to the combination!

2. Place your pork butt into a crock pot. Add some water (so that it comes up around about 1/3 of the pork) and pour about 1 cup of BBQ sauce on top. We used bottled sauce because it was a busy day and the hubby didn’t have time to make any. Here’s a link to some great BBQ sauce recipes if you want to make your own.

3. Put your crock pot on to cook for 8 hours. Wait eight hours. Once the meat is done cooking, take it out of the crock pot, wrap in tinfoil and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Then, using two forks, shred up the meat. The meat should be super tender and the shredding should be pretty easy. Place the shredded meat into a bowl and top with more BBQ sauce (the bottle we used left about 1-1.5 cups after pouring some on before cooking it). The amount of sauce you use is really up to your personal taste! You don’t even need to use BBQ sauce, it’s just SO GOOD!

The pork is now ready to serve! This stays well in the fridge for close to a week, and is a great addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks…Let’s face it, pulled pork is great any time of the day.

For the coleslaw:

  • bag of coleslaw mix (you can also make your own by chopping up half a head of cabbage and some carrots)
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix together all of the ingredients (except the coleslaw mix) to make your dressing. In a large bowl, pour the dressing over the coleslaw mix and stir to combine, until the mix is evenly coated.

2. EAT. This recipe is SO easy, and SO good. It’s the perfect tangy companion to the slightly sweet pulled pork.

We used all of these things to top our plantain tortillas and it was glorious! But you could make these tortillas into anything you want! Make some bigger ones and use them for a breakfast burrito or sandwich! They’d probably be great for wrapping up enchiladas, too.

I plan on making these tortillas frequently. Not only are they cheap to make (3 plantains costs only $1.50 total at my grocery store!), but they’re super easy, too, and keep well.

photo 1-2

Try out these tortillas and let me know what you think!

Honey Sriracha Meatballs and Ginger Braised Cabbage

IMG_0758I have had the biggest craving for Chinese food lately, and I blame the Orange Chicken recipe we made a few weeks back for this problem. It’s just too darn authentic and delicious! Last night I decided the craving had to be stopped.

In the past, I might have really given in to the calls of chicken and broccoli and egg rolls. And someday I might again. But last night, I knew I could satisfy my craving at home. And oh man, did I! My creation: Honey Sriracha Meatballs with Ginger Braised Cabbage.

I made some easy baked pork meatballs and then made a sweet and spicy honey sriracha sauce, inspired by the big bottle of sriracha I finally remembered to buy on a grocery store trip this weekend. The braised cabbage made a delicious bed for the meatballs and a great vehicle to soak up the sauce.

Honey Sriracha Meatballs 2

This was another hubby-approved meal. He concentrated so hard on eating he barely spoke. When he did, it was to talk about how awesome this meal was! My favorite quote of the night: “I can’t tell if you’re enjoying this as much as I am. Don’t you think this is awesome?!”

Love when I can make paleo meals he enjoys, especially because I know it would be a great option for the next time we have friends over.

Here’s how you can make this in your kitchen:

For the meatballs

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • juice of half a lime
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl with your hands, combining all ingredients fully.

2. Form the meat mixture into 1-2 inch meatballs (the mixture should make about 18 meatballs) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet, making sure the meatballs are touching each other. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Once cooked, place the meatballs in a bowl and set aside.

For the cabbage

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 head green cabbage, chopped into thin strips
  • 1 cup chicken broth

1. Melt the coconut oil in a large sauté pan. After the oil is melted, add the garlic and ginger and stir to coat in the oil. Add in cabbage and cook in the oil until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and cover, removing the cover to stir the mixture occasionally (about every 2-3 minutes). Cook the cabbage for about 10 minutes and then remove the cover, cooking for another 3-5 minutes with the cover off, stirring often. This will let any excess liquid evaporate. **If at any point you don’t have enough cooking liquid, add some water to the pan. Keep warm in the pan over low heat while you make the sauce.

For the sauce

  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2-3 tbsp sriracha (depending on the spice level you want)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 1-2 tbsp arrowroot powder (plus 1 tbsp water)

1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl or measuring cup, whisking until combined and smooth. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce into the pan with the cabbage and stir to combine.

2. Pour the rest of the sauce into a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken (about 2-3 minutes). In a small bowl or cup, combine 1 tbsp arrowroot powder with 1 tbsp water. Add the arrowroot mixture to the sauce, stirring to combine. The sauce should thicken quickly. Remove the sauce from the heat, and pour over the cooked meatballs, stirring to coat all of the meatballs.

3. Plate the meal by topping the cabbage with the meatballs. We added some chopped cilantro to the top of this dish, and wished we had some chopped almonds or cashews to put on top!

Honey Sriracha Meatballs

This. Was. Awesome. Definitely let me know if you try this!

Recipe: Gluten-Free, Paleo Breakfast Pizza

IMG_0758I LOVE pizza. It’s definitely the food I miss most since I began following a paleo, grain-free diet. And now that I’m being strict about not eating dairy, it’s become even harder to get my pizza fix. Still, I’m not one to give up on a craving, so this weekend I was determined to make a breakfast pizza recipe that would really taste like good, old-fashioned pizza.

For a first attempt, I think it came out really great! I overcooked the eggs a bit (that darn broiler always gets me!), and I think I might make a few adjustments to the crust next time, but it was super delicious and had a great texture the way it was.

I had made a paleo pizza crust before and really loved it, but found it a bit too crunchy for my liking. So this time, I set out to make a crust that would be lighter and chewier. After searching around online for various pizza crust recipes, I combined some of the ideas I saw and made up my own recipe, making mashed sweet potato and almond meal the base. It was delicious– really chewy, and even able to be picked up like a real slice of pizza. I do think I may reduce the liquid content next time, to add a bit more of a crunch, but we really loved this.

Topped with homemade pesto sauce, crumbled bacon, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper and eggs, the sweet potato crust was the perfect base for a breakfast pizza.

Breakfast Pizza

Here’s how you can make this in your kitchen:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (I needed one very large cooked sweet potato for this)
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (you could probably sub butter or ghee for this)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence (or any other herb of your choice)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating, mix together all of the ingredients for the dough. It should become thick, but will not roll into a ball like most pizza dough.

2. One a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, spread the dough out evenly with a spatula or spoon to form your pizza crust (make it whatever shape you want!). The crust should be about 1/4 inch thick. Place the pan into the oven to bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it is nicely browned and the top has become a bit crusty.

3. Top the pizza with whatever toppings you want, and then return to the oven for about 10 minutes. I finished mine off under the broiler, but honestly probably didn’t need to.

This crust could serve as the base for any kind of pizza. But as it was breakfast time, we made some homemade basil pesto sauce (you can find the recipe here) and crumbled bacon, added some grape tomatoes, red bell peppers and minced garlic sautéed in the bacon fat, and then cracked four eggs on top of the pizza. The eggs set up nicely in about 10 minutes. They ended up a bit overcooked– but still delicious!– when I turned on the broiler for a final 2 minutes. We finished off the pie with a sprinkle of fresh basil and pine nuts. NOM NOM

Breakfast Pizza 2

This was SO good– a great weekend breakfast treat! Try this recipe out for yourself and let me know what you think! What toppings would YOU put on this pizza?

Transformation Tuesday: Paleo Pesto Lasagna

IMG_0758I really don’t like to brag. Seriously, I don’t. But today, I am going to have to.

This weekend was my first attempt at recipe development and cooking for my new Transformation Tuesday blog series, in which I makeover non-Paleo meals into grain-free, dairy-free goodness. My first target was the age-old favorite lasagna. And my first recipe…was FREAKING AMAZING!

I swear, I really don’t enjoy bragging. But I can’t help it in this case. I am just so surprised by how well this lasagna came out. When I imagined a grain-free, dairy-free lasagna, I was worried. I could see a few obvious options: using eggplant in place of noodles, for example. But when it came to creating faux cheesy goodness, I was stuck.

That’s when it hit me: cauliflower! Cauliflower fixes everything, right? Ok, not everything. But in this case, it completely fixed my lack of creaminess problem! By adding some cauliflower puree to my pesto “cream” sauce, I was able to make a sauce that really, truly did seem cheesy.

Combine that with the rave reviews I got from not one, but two, food-loving men, and I have to say this first Transformation Tuesday was a huge success!

Here’s how you can transform lasagna in your own kitchen (makes 6-8 servings):

For the pesto cream sauce

  • 3 cups basil, packed lightly
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2  cans coconut milk
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (dissolved in 2 tbsp water)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the lasagna/filling

  • 2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 13-oz box crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your eggplant, slicing each vegetable lengthwise into long strips about 1/4-inch thick. Place the eggplant on a rack (like one used for cooling cookies) over waxed paper and liberally salt both sides of each slice. This will help draw out moisture from the eggplant and keep your lasagna from getting mushy. Leave aside until you’re ready to layer the lasagna.

2. Next, start by making the pesto sauce. Place the basil, pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste into a food processor. Add in the oil a small amount at a time, blending the mixture until it combines fully and is smooth. BAM- you’ve got pesto sauce!

3. In a sauce pan over medium-high, add the coconut milk, chopped cauliflower, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring the coconut milk to a boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the cauliflower into the coconut milk until completely smooth.

4. Add the arrowroot powder (dissolved in 1 tbsp water) to the coconut and cauliflower sauce, stirring to combine. The sauce should thicken quickly. Then stir in the pesto sauce, and the sauce is done! Set the sauce aside for now.

5. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, crumbling it, until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Next, add in the crushed and diced tomatoes, the tomato paste and the remaining spices. Stir to combine and then let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

6. Now it’s time to layer your lasagna! In a 9×13 or similar sized pan, place a very small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan, to keep the eggplant from sticking, then top with a few slices of eggplant, enough to cover the pan completely without overlapping (remember that you can cut the eggplant slices to make them fit!). Next, add another layer of the meat sauce, topped with a layer of the cream sauce. Continue adding layers (eggplant, meat sauce, cream sauce). I recommend making the top two layers eggplant and cream sauce. This will help the lasagna stay together and give a nice cheesy appearance to the top of the dish.

7. Bake the lasagna in the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until bubbly on all sides.

8. EAT IT ALL! (Ok, in reality this could feet 8 people..maybe more. But it’s so good it may only feed 4.)

Lasagna3

Lasagna2

I really hope that you enjoy this dish! We really loved it and have been eating left overs for lunch ever since Saturday.

Have an idea for something I can transform next week? Let me know and you could see your favorite dish here on the blog!

Paleo Breakfast Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Hash & Eggs

IMG_0758Brussels sprouts are a favorite vegetable in our house. We like them roasted, braised with bacon, sautéed and baked in a PaleOMG-style cream sauce. But we’d never had them for breakfast.

This weekend, I was committed to changing that. And change it I did. And I have to say, I am never looking back! We had this awesome Brussels Sprouts Hash with poached eggs, bacon and some sweet potato & beet hash browns for breakfast Sunday morning, and it was glorious.

This was so easy to make, and a really great alternative to our typical hash with sweet potatoes. I paired it with the sweet potatoes and beet hash browns simply because I had left overs already shredded from yesterday’s breakfast and wanted to use them up. I simply browned them in a pan with some ghee to get them crispy- delicious!

But the Brussels sprouts hash was definitely the real star of the show Sunday morning. If you’re looking for some ideas to use Brussels sprouts, add this one to your list.

Brussels Sprouts Hash

Here’s how you can make it in your kitchen:

  • about 3 cups brussels sprouts, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the bacon in a sauté pan over high heat until desired doneness (which is very crispy in our house!). Set aside on a paper towel to drain off any excess fat.

2. Turn the stove top down to medium-high heat. In the same pan, with the bacon fat still in there (don’t you dare get rid of it, people! It’s one reason this dish is so awesome!), add the onion and cook until slightly browned, about 1 minute.

3. Add in the Brussels sprouts and the spices, stirring to combine. Cook the hash until the Brussels sprouts are tender, browned and slightly crispy. This works best if you stir only occasionally, about once every minute. The hash will likely take about 7-10 minutes to cook.

4. Crumbled the bacon and add it to the hash, stirring to combine. Scoop half of the hash onto each of two plates, then top with your choice of eggs.

5. EAT IT ALL.

Let me know if you try this recipe and be sure to tell me what you think!

Brussels Sprouts Hash 4

Paleo Recipe: Beet & Sweet Potato Pancake with Fried Chicken and Saffron Hollandaise

Nutrition-3If you’ve explored this blog at all, the fact that I love making breakfast shouldn’t be a surprise. I live for the weekends when I have time to make delicious, healthful meals with interesting ingredients. Experimenting with food is by far my favorite weekend activity!

This weekend, I had a couple breakfasts in mind, and on Saturday I kicked off the breakfast party with an awesome beet-sweet potato pancake with fried chicken, scrambled eggs and saffron hollandaise.

I used fried chicken left over from making Primal Palate’s Orange Chicken Friday night (the recipe made a lot of chicken and I set some aside without sauce Friday night to use for other meals). But you could really use any kind of meat with this (ham would be great!), or could go without meat all together. Try adding other veggies to make it your own!

The beet & sweet potato pancake made a great base for the eggs, and my first attempt at using saffron (seriously- who has the money to buy this stuff more than a couple times a year?!) came out exactly as I’d hoped.

This would be a pretty easy breakfast to make for a brunch party– and definitely something that sounds fancy and impressive 🙂

Sweet Potato and Beet Cake 3

Here’s how you can make this in your kitchen (makes two servings):

For the potato pancake:

  • 1 small sweet potato (about 4 inches long), peeled
  • 1 medium beet (about 3 inches in diameter), peeled
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee (or other cooking fat)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 egg, beaten

1. Using a food processor (or grater), grate the sweet potato and beet into thin shreds. Place these in a large mixing bowl and add the chili powder, seasoned salt, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Add the arrowroot powder and egg to the bowl and mix to combine.

2. Put the ghee in a medium sauté pan (about 9 inches across) over medium-high heat. Press the potato mixture into the pan and spread out, forming a thin potato pancake. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes on each side (you will need to watch this carefully- I accidentally burned one side!). The easiest way to flip the pancake is to use a plate, placing the plate into the pan, on top of the pancake and flipping the pan over, transferring the pancake to the plate. Then just slide the potato pancake back into the pan, with the uncooked side down.

3. The potato pancake should be crispy on both sides, and soft in the middle. When the pancake is done, slide it onto a plate and wrap the plate in tinfoil to keep warm.

For the hollandaise:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • pinch of saffron (saffron looks like thin threads)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine the butter with the pinch of saffron, lemon juice and water (start with 1 tsp water). Let this mixture sit to let the saffron flavor permeate the butter.

2. Place about 1-2 inches of water into a small saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Place the egg yolks into a small heat-safe bowl and put the bowl on top of the saucepan (you do not want the bowl to touch the water). Cook the egg yolks over the boiling water, whisking continuously, until they begin to thicken (about 2 minutes).

3. Remove the bowl from the boiling water (turn the stove top down to low heat to keep the water warm) and whisk in the butter mixture. If your sauce seems too thick, add in another teaspoon of water. Add in the salt and pepper to taste.

4. To keep warm, place the bowl back on the pot of warm water (stir occasionally to make sure the sauce does not separate or get too thick). You can always add more water if you need to thin out the sauce.

*Note: if you do not have saffron and don’t want to buy it, any spice will do! I’ve made hollandaise sauce with paprika, chili powder and even fresh tarragon.

For the assembly:

1. To prepare your dish, slice the potato pancake into quarters, and arrange two quarters on each plate. If you’re using meat (like we used fried chicken), place the meat on top of the potato pancake.

2. Make some eggs how you like them (we tend to make scrambled egg whites when making hollandaise to put the leftover whites to good use!) and top the potato pancake with the eggs. Then spoon the hollandaise on top of the pile of goodness. We adding some chopped scallion as a garnish, but any fresh herb would do.

3. Eat and enjoy! This was seriously amazing and kept us full for hours!

Sweet Potato and Beet Cake