Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Casserole



This morning I had the pleasure of having news reporter, Melissa Cabral with Good Day Sacramento come to my home and do a live news feed making Thanksgiving Casserole. I of course did a really bad version and a healthier version.

Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a meal you eat only once a year. You can have Thanksgiving year round, but without having to eat all the calories you intake on Thanksgiving. With a simple modification, you can eat a healthier thanksgiving meal year round and even on thanksgiving if you choose to do so.

For those of you who missed the show, here are the clips:

 
Thanksgiving casserole: healthier
1 cooked turkey breast, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 yellow onion, minced
5 celery stalks, minced
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs fresh thyme, minced
2 tbs fresh parsley, minced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 cups cubed stale wheat or gluten free bread
Salt and Pepper to taste


Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, thyme and parsley. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to large bowl.  Add the bread and toss to coat. Add enough broth to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing, to taste, with salt and pepper. 
Place turkey slices evenly on bottom of  casserole dish. Top with zucchini and squash. 

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Bake until the stuffing is heated through and golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. 


Please note you can easily do this recipe with your thanksgiving leftovers as well and just add some fresh veggies.

Now, if you're still feeling a little bad after the holidays, here's an amazing casserole you can make with all your leftover thanksgiving fixings'

Thanksgiving Casserole: For those of you who want to be a little bad
2 cups cubed or shredded turkey
2 cups broccoli or leftover veggies from thanksgiving vegetables
4 cups prepared stuffing
2 cups sour cream
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
12 oz can cream of chicken soup
4 cups mashed potatoes or hash brown potatoes
3 cups gravy
1 cup dried cranberries or cranberry sauce

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. 

In a large bowl, combine turkey, vegetables, sour cream, cheese, cream of chicken soup, and potatoes.  Place into casserole using a spoon to evenly spread and flatten into casserole. Place a thin layer of stuffing ontop of turkey mixture.

Bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown.  Cut and serve warm. Top each portion with gravy and cranberries.




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Carnitas


When I was pregnant with Brooklyn, I craved Mexican food my entire pregnancy.  I experimented with a ton of recipes and if we'd go out to eat, I wanted Mexican food. Needless to say, Brooklyn loves Mexican food. 

I've done more carnitas recipe than I can even remember. The only thing I usually change is the spiciness depending on who is eating over for dinner. The kids surprisingly like a little spice in their food. 

Ingredients:
For the rub:
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder

For the Crock Pot:

3lb pork shoulder

1 sweet onion sliced in thin strips

1 small can of mild green chiles

1 jalapeño diced (remove seeds if you don't want it spicy)

2 tomatoes diced

1 cup chicken stock

2 bay leaf

A few shakes of sea salt and ground pepper


Directions:

Mix your rub together and rub onto all sides of the pork shoulder. If possible, refrigerate the roast with the rub overnight. If this is not possible , that’s ok, it’s not required it will just enhanced the flavor.

Place the sliced onion, and bay leaf on the bottom of your crock pot.  Place the spiced up pork shoulder on top. Add the green chiles and the chicken stock along the sides of the meat. Avoid rinsing the spice off the meat. Sprinkle a bit more sea salt and pepper on top. 


Cover and let cook on high for 4 hours, then turn down to low for another 4 hours. (Or you can cook on low for 10 hours. Or start on low and turn to high when you get home, whatever works for your schedule) 

The meat is done when it pulls apart easily with a fork. Check for seasoning! Does it need more salt? Pepper? Cumin? Maybe a little cayenne pepper for spiciness? I always end up adding a little more pepper for spice. Be careful with cumin. A little goes a long way.

Once the carnitas a tender, juicy, fork tender and seasoned to your liking it’s ready to serve.

 



Serve with: (these are all optional, but it is what I used)

Whole wheat tortillas

Chopped romaine lettuce

Chopped cilantro

diced tomatoes

Diced onions

If you are still eating dairy, like my kids and husband, you can add cheese or sour cream. USE FULL FAT!

Double pork stuffed chicken

 
 
I'm always trying to find new ways to eat chicken. Since we have been doing a lot of paleo dishes, I decided to try this one and it was amazing.
 
This recipe was very simple and easy to make, so it made preparing dinner very easy with my two little rugrats running around.
 
Nothing like an easy and quick meal to cook for the family. Jack and kids both loved it. My little garbage disposal, Brooklyn ate 1/4 chicken breast and picky Nicholas ate 1/4 chicken breast with ketchup of course. It's so hard for me to get him to eat meat. If he has ketchup though, he'll eat just about anything from chicken to fish. 

This dinner was amazing last night for dinner and taste just as good today when I ate it for lunch.
 
Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
3/4 pound ground pork
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 package of bacon

    Instructions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    In a skillet over medium heat, sauté pork, garlic, parsley and half of spices for 6-8 minutes until pork is just cooked, but still slightly pink.
    Use a knife to butterfly the breasts (slice lengthwise through one side of the breast creating a pocket).
    Open up the breasts and pound briefly with a meat tenderizer to thin the meat out a bit.
    Sprinkle the remaining spices evenly over the inside of the breasts.
    Spoon equal amounts of ground pork on to one side of each breast, then fold the other side over the top.
    Wrap bacon slices snugly around each breast, covering entirely.
    Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, then put under the broiler for 3 minutes to crisp up bacon.
    Can be eaten warm or cold. I decided to serve this with mashed sweet potatoes and blanched broccoli.



     

Paleo Chicken Pot Pie



Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorites. Paleo chicken pot pie is definitely new to me. It was so fun making though.  

It came out great, however due to the almond flour added to chicken broth, I would definitely 1/2 the amount of almond flour so the broth doesn't thicken up so much. Luckily I had saved some of the broth cause it wouldn't fit in the ramekins, so I warmed it back up and poured into the pot pies after cracking open the crust. 



Ingredients:
CRUST:
3 cups Almond flour 
1.5 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
½ cup Coconut Oil (room temperature)
1 Tbs. Cool Water
PIE:
2 Chicken Breast Halves Roasted and Cubed (about 1 lb raw)
2 cups Yellow Onions Chopped
2 cups Frozen Green Peas
2 cups Frozen Carrots
¼ cup Coconut Milk (full fat)
¾ cup Almond Flour
4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Egg (for egg wash)
Directions:
ROASTED CHICKEN:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Wash chicken breast and pat dry.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Drizzle and rub 1 Tbl EVOO on the chicken breast.
Sprinkle with generous amount of kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven when finished and let cool.
Cut into about ½” cubes when cool enough to handle.
CRUST:
In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients together (almond meal, salt, and baking powder).
Add the coconut oil and slowly pulse until it’s evenly mixed. It should have the consistence of peas.
Slowly add the water and pulse until it forms a dough-like texture.
Remove from food processor, roll into a ball and wrap in cling wrap.
Put the dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
[Now is a good time to start on the pie fillings]
Dust a pastry board (or cutting board) with almond meal.
Place the ball of dough on the dry almond meal and cut into 8 even sections. (Roll into one large piece if you’re making one large pie.)
Using your hands first and then a rolling pen for even thickness, press and roll each of the 8 pieces into a circle.
Keep dusting the top and bottom of dough with dry almond meal so that it doesn’t stick.
Use the ramekin or dish you are baking in to cut the right-size circle in the dough.


PIE:
Heat the EVOO in the bottom of a large pot.
Add the yellow onions and cook on medium/high until they’re brown.
Slowly add the almond meal and reduce the heat.
Slowly add the chicken stock and stir.
Add the coconut milk, 1 tsp salt, thyme, oregano, and black pepper.
Add the peas, carrots, and chicken.
Spoon an even amount into each of the 8 ramekins (or other oven-friendly bowls).
Place the crust on top of the filling.
 


Scramble one egg and paint the crust of each pie generously.
Sprinkle with kosher salt and cut 3-4 slits in the top.
Bake at 375 for one hour.
 
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Paleo Shrimp Alfredo with Bacon



Those  of you who know me, know that I'm slightly obsessed with seafood. I eat just about everything that comes from the sea. Shrimp is one of my absolute favorites.

Since Jack and I are on this paleo kick right now, I wanted to make something with shrimp. I found this recipe on Pinterest, so I decided to try it. It was very good. Jack even liked it. I was a little worried at first because I tried to make a paleo stroganoff one time and the sauce came out too sweet because of the coconut milk. This one on the other hand was amazing. I of course added a few things of my own to make it my own and increased a few items on the recipe.

This is definitely a dish that I will make again. Maybe throw a diced up tomato in next time and some fresh basil. I bet that would be delicious in this recipe.

 
Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
4 pieces bacon
1 lb. shrimp
1 head roasted garlic
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
drizzle of olive oil
1 cup light canned coconut milk
Instructions:
To Roast Garlic:Cut the top of the bulb off so that the top of the cloves are exposed, place on aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap the aluminum foil around it all and bake it at 350 for about 1 1/2 hours. 
 
Place shrimp in a Ziploc bag with all spices and drizzle a little olive oil in, seal and shake. Let those ingredients get acquainted while you prep your squash and such.
 
For the spaghetti squash, cut lengthwise, remove the seeds, and boil for 30 minutes. 
 
Meanwhile, cook your bacon until crisp, set aside reserving bacon grease.  Chop your bacon once it’s cooled.
 
Over medium heat, add your seasoned shrimp in the bacon grease. Once your shrimp is fully cooked remove from the pan and stir in coconut milk and roasted garlic. I used a whisk to break down the garlic.  Cook over med/low heat until garlic is infused in your sauce and it’s thickened slightly. 
 
Place your shrimp back in the sauce to heat back up. 
 
Once your squash is completely cooked take it out of the water and fork it to get your “noodles”, ladle some sauce and shrimp over it, and of course top with bacon!
 
 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Muddy Buddy Popcorn

Sometimes I crave a different type of popcorn, so I just threw some things together.

I love Muddy Buddies, so I thought, why not do it with popcorn instead of chex. It came out great. I delivered some to both my family and Jack's and we still had an abundance of popcorn leftover, so the kids have been having a little bit here and there for a snack.

Ingredients:
6 cups popped popcorn
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions:
Place popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil, peanut butter, chocolate chips and marshmallows over medium low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. 

Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and combine with two lightly greased baking spatulas until marshmallow mixture is evenly distributed on popcorn.  Add powdered sugar and continue to combine until well mixed.



 

Paleo Chicken Stew

Finally made my first batch of stew for the fall season!!!

Growing up I remember my parents cooking soups and stews during the fall and winter. There are definitely a handful of them that are my favorites so I decided to try and make a stew of my own.

Usually I just do the typical beef stew or chicken noodle soup. I decided to mix it up this time and try something new and started looking through the fridge deciding what else I could add to this stew.

Since we're trying to eat healthier, I decided to use sweet potatoes and butternut squash rather than using Yukon potatoes and instead of using spinach I used kale because kale "the Queen Of The Greens!" It is filled with so many nutrients, low in calories and tastes amazing!

I definitely recommend trying this recipe and if you don't like kale, try using spinach or mustard greens.


Ingredients
2 pounds chicken breast or thigh (no need to chop these, just throw them in. They'll shred later)
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
1 small butternut squash, cubed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste 
1 cup of water
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. parsley
2-4 cups of baby kale (or regular kale, which you should chop into smaller pieces)

Instructions
Place all ingredients except kale in slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 2-4 hours.

In the last hour of cooking, open your slow cooker and stir to mix everything up. This will shred your chicken. Add in your kale, and stir until it's incorporated.

Cook for 30-60 minutes longer until the kale is tender.

 

Paleo Crockpot Pork & Pumpkin Chili



My dad was was the Chili King in my household growing up. He would actually grind his own meat for it and slow cook it all day long on his day off. He would serve his delicious chili with warm cornbread and butter. It was so good and the perfect meal on a cold day.

I've made everything from beef chili to chicken chili. This chili is a pulled pork chili. A definite first for me. It was amazing though. I may like the pulled pork chili better than regular chili!

For the squash that I added to the chili, I roasted a butternut squash and cut into large cubes. You can use whatever your preference is with squash though.

Serving the chili in a pumpkin was different, but as I ate the chili, I scraped the sides of the pumpkin down and mixed into the chili and it was almost a thickening agent like when you dip cornbread in your chili.

This meal would've been completely paleo, however, I sprinkled a tiny bit of cheese on mine.

Ingredients:
3 lbs pork roast
2 onions, diced
2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
7 oz can diced green chilies 
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped 
1 heaping tablespoon adobo sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup cilantro
2 cups free-range chicken stock
salt and pepper
¼ cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tbs. smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 cups roasted pumpkin or squash or you can use 1 can of pumpkin
Optional Toppings: avocado, additional cilantro, a sprinkling of chipotle chili powder, sour cream and cheese, if you eat dairy
 DIRECTIONS:
Place your pork in the crockpot and season with salt and pepper. Add the onions, fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, green chilies, garlic and spices. Add your chicken stock and then toss in your cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. An hour before it’s done, take out the pork and shred it with 2 forks. Put the pork back into the crockpot. Now pour your roasted pumpkin/squash in the crockpot and give it a good stir. Cook for an hour.
Serve with avocado, extra cilantro, a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder and sour cream and cheese, if you wish. 
 HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN/SQUASH BOWLS: 
Place your pumpkins and/or squash in a baking pan with a raised edge. Fill the pan with about a ½ inch of water. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until done. Let cool. Cut tops off of pumpkin/squash and remove seeds and stringy flesh. Use as a bowl.
 
 
My son Nicholas thought the pumpkin bowl was the coolest thing. I assumes he wasn't going to want a bowl, so I just made one for Jack and me. Nicholas saw daddy was eating out of a pumpkin and stole his plate and ate the chili out of the pumpkin.


Guilt Free Fruit & Nut Bars


Jack and I have been clean eating for about 2 weeks now and jack likes eating the caramel Fiber 1 bars for his snack, so I decided to try and make some homemade bars.

This recipe is for just fruit and nut ones. Next I think I am going to try and replicate a fiber bar.

I ended up eating 2 pieces after I made them cause they were so good. They're all natural too! No sugar added. Guilt Free!


Ingredients:
2 Cups Dates, pitted (about 12 oz)
3/4 Cup Raw Almonds
1/4 Cup Dried Apples
1/4 Cup Dried Apricots
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon (more to your taste)

In a small skillet roast almonds, stirring until just golden, you can hear them start to sizzle and smell when they are about done. Watch you don't let them burn.

 


Place your dates and 1/2 C. almonds in a food processor. Pulse until they are in small chunks or how you prefer and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add you 1/4 Cup almonds, apples and apricots to the processor and pulse until you have small chunks. Add to the mixing bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients to your bowl. Using your hands mix well to ensure an even coating of everything.


Once mixed, line a 8x8 baking dish with parchment and add the fruit and nut mixture. Flatten out then place in refrigerator to cool, cut and enjoy. Wrap the remaining pieces in plastic wrap and keep chilled for later.


 

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf

Meatloaf was one of those staples in my home growing up. I actually mastered my meatloaf at age 10 and began making meatloaf once a week for my family.

Over the years I've tried several meatloaf recipes using beef, pork, turkey and chicken. Some recipes were definitely better than others.

Last nights dinner meatloaf was good. Since it was Sunday Football day, buffalo chicken was a must, so I decided to go with buffalo chicken meatloaf. 

Ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup Franks hot sauce
1/4 cup almond flour
2 egg whites
1 tbs. parsley
1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly mist a 9” x 5” x 3” nonstick loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine chicken, blue cheese, almond flour, hot sauce, egg whites and spices until well mixed. 

Transfer mixture to pan and spread so that top is flat. 

Bake 35 to 40 mins or until chicken is no longer pink. Cut into 8 slices.

I decided to serve this with broccoli and mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Paleo Turkey Burgers with Paleo Sweet Potato Latkas

 

 
 
With Jack and I trying to eat healthy, I want to eliminate as much as I can to succeed in clean eating. This dish was amazing. Usually I love burgers on a bun loaded with bacon, mushrooms, onions, pickles, tomatoes, etc. This was a simple fix to eating a healthier version of a burger and the sweet potato latkas were amazing. I loved them. Jack thought they were good too.
 
Since these latka's were made healthy, no flour needed and the healthier twist, there's zucchini in it too! You can't even taste the zucchini though. It tastes like a potato pancake. Yum!
 
For the Sweet Potato Latkas:
  • 1 large sweet potato, grated (not yam)
  • 1 large zucchini, grated ( skin too)
  • ½ cup chopped green onion including white ends
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg beaten
  • coconut oil
  •  
    Instructions:
    Combine grated sweet potato, grated zucchini, green onion and seasonings. Let stand in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes allowing the juices to release.

     Squeeze as much juice as possible by hand from the mix before adding the egg.
    **Preheat frying pan with 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil on medium heat until hot. There should be enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
    Form mix into small patties in your hands before placing in frying pan. Flatten again with spatula to make them an even surface.
    Cook for approx. 10 minutes until golden brown before flipping to brown the other side. Continue cooking until that side is browned too. Add more oil if necessary.
    You will know when they are cooked when they seem to become firm on the outside and lift easily.
    Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil before serving.
    Makes 12 Latkas depending on size
     
     
     
    For the Turkey Burgers:
    1 pound ground turkey
    1 green onion, minced
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 tbs. Cilantro, finely chopped
    2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
    2 large eggs
    1/2 tsp. tomato paste
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    1/2 tsp. cumin
    1 tbs. chili powder*
    1-2 tbs. Sriracha*
    1 Serrano pepper, minced*
     
     
    Instructions:
    To make the non-spicy one, add all ingredients without the *s in a bowl. Mix with clean hand and gently form a patty.
     
    Place on a sheet of plate while you make the hot ones.
     
    Add the rest of the spicy ingredients and continue making patties with wet hands.
    Grill on a hot skillet until cooked through.

    These two items combined with a side of sauteed spinach and you get this yummy masterpiece

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Butternut Squash Pancakes

    My kids really love the healthy pancakes vs. regular pancakes I make for them. They love the coconut flour pancakes I make, so I wanted to try something new this am.

    I had some leftover butternut squash I had roasted the other day, so I decided to whip up a batch of pancakes for the kids. 

    Ingredients:
    3 large eggs
    1 cup butternut squash, roasted and mashed
    2 tablespoons maple syrup
    1 cup almond milk
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
    1/3 cup almond flour
    1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    Instructions:
    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, squash, syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, milk, and almond extract until well-blended. 

    In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, salt and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just enough to ensure there are no lumps.

    Lightly grease a griddle with your fat of choice (butter, lard, coconut oil, etc) and heat just until a drop of water placed on the griddle sizzles briefly before evaporating. 

    Using a ladle or small measuring cup, pour the batter by the scant 1/4 cupful onto the griddle and cook just until bubble appear on the surface.  

    Carefully flip and cook on the other side until the pancake is done, about one minute more.

    Place on a plate, cover and keep warm; repeat the previous steps until all of the batter has been used. Serve warm with additional maple syrup, if desired.

    Bacon Meatballs

    So I'm doing all these new Paleo meals and so far they have all been a success. 

    My stomach has been very happy with all this cleaner way of eating.

    Since my kids don't like spaghetti squash, I still made noodles for them, but Jack and I ate ours with spaghetti squash. 

    I cooked the meatballs in the sauce on low for 2 hours. I had to taste test one of course after an hour and OH MY GOODNESS! SO GOOD!!!

    Ingredients:
    1 package good quality bacon
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Chop bacon into two inch chunks. Chop fine in a food processor. It should be pulsed into the size of grains of rice.

    In a large bowl, combine ground bacon, sausage, beef, egg and spices really well with your hands.

    Shape meatballs into large ping-pong-sized balls.

    Add meatballs to your favorite sauce and simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours.

    Serve over spaghetti squash or noodles.