Herb Roasted Chicken (Whole30 Compliant)

 

chicken w pomegranate sauce

 

Unless you’re reading PALEO magazine, there aren’t many magazines that have paleo-friendly recipes…and let’s face it, many of the recipes in PALEO seem to focus on the baked goods, which I’m not all that interested in.  I get frustrated because there are SO MANY mainstream magazines that have delicious looking recipes…none of which are paleo-friendly.  While I was visiting my grandma last week (who just so happens to basically horde magazines), I went through all of her magazines and picked out no fewer than 50 recipes that looked good to me.  Then…I started dissecting the recipes and replacing junk ingredients with their paleo counterparts.

 

This particular one was some sort of a flour-and-bread-crumb-coated baked chicken situation.  This time I made it naked; however, next time I may experiment with dusting the chicken with almond meal.  So, do what you will with that information.  This is such a simple dish: quick to put together, a relatively quick cook, and super tasty!  I tossed some vegetables in with the chicken (sweet potatoes, carrots, red onion, mushrooms, etc).  It could have been a one-pot meal, honestly, but I made a salad with it.  And the dressing for my salad?  Remember the cilantro sauce I made HERE?  I took about a quarter cup of it, mixed it with a heaping quarter cup of homemade mayonnaise and a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Voila!  Dressing!

 

This was our dinner tonight…day four of our current Whole30.  My energy has started coming back today, so I’m glad that the Whole30 “slugs” aren’t lasting very long this time around!

 

Herb Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

1 pound mushrooms, halved

1 small red onion, cut in wedges

1 sweet potato, cubed

4-5 carrots, cut in stew-sized chunks

2 Tbsp olive oil (plus extra for rubbing on chicken)

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

4 chicken leg quarters

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp pepper

 

1.– Preheat oven to 450

2.– In oven-safe skillet or roasting pan, place mushrooms, red onion, sweet potatoes, carrots, thyme, and 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Put chicken on top of vegetables.  Rub chicken skin with extra olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3.– Roast 35-45 minutes, or until cooked through.

Advertisements

Oven-Baked Pork Ribs (Whole30 Compliant)

 

pork ribs1

You know…I’m not really sure where I originally found this recipe…but it’s DELICIOUS!  As a person who lived in Kansas City for 10 years, I’m INCREDIBLY picky selective about my ribs.  Since traditional KC BBQ sauce is out of the picture, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to try these when I made them for the first time.  I tried them and I love them!  They don’t have any sweetness to them at all (/cries), but they have a kind of spicy bite to them that lets me overlook the lack of sugary-goodness.

I decided to make them for day two of this Whole30.  Good choice!  To be perfectly honest, tonight was Isak’s tumbling class, so I didn’t have time to make the zucchini fritters that I wanted to make with the ribs.  I had one bag of frozen sweet potato fries left (the only bad ingredient on the list is canola oil), so I tossed them in the oven and we had those instead of the zucchini fritters.  All in all, day two went great.  I’m a little sluggish, but I don’t know if that’s from the food or if that’s from the 90-minute trip with Isak to the zoo this morning…30 minutes of which, I was carrying his 28 pounds on my shoulders.  I can definitely say that the zoo trip is what prompted me to purchase a Groupon for a 90-minute massage!

 

So back to the missing BBQ sauce…what are your favorite recipes for paleo-friendly BBQ sauce?  Bonus points if it’s also Whole30, but I can wait until the end of these 30 days to try it if not.  Let me know–I’m dying without my KC BBQ sauce!

Oven-Baked Pork Ribs

Serves 2-4

4 pounds pork ribs

1 Tbsp sea salt

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp pepper

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp cayenne

1.– Preheat oven to 250

2.– Combine all spices and mix together

3.–Rub both sides of ribs and put on foil-lined baking sheet, rib-side down

4.– Bake ribs for 2 hours 45 minutes.  Broil for 5-10 minutes at the end to brown the meat side

Steaks with Cilantro Sauce (Whole30 Compliant)

 

steak w cilantro sauce

Today is the first day of our third Whole30!  I decided to kick it off with a bang–steak with cilantro sauce over herb garden spring greens.  My favorite part about this meal was actually the sauce…which I will forever be using as a salad dressing.  It’s truly delicious…like pesto (without the basil) by itself, and like a green goddess dressing if you add in some homemade mayonnaise (you ARE making your own mayo now, right?  RIGHT?).

As with all of my Whole30 first days, the day has been filled with motivation and excitement.  Personally, sometime around day three I start to wonder why I’m doing this…again.  By day 7-10 or so, it’s smooth sailing.  That being said, we’ve done enough of these now that my “first week slugs,” as I call them, are mostly non-existent.  I remember them, though.  The first week of my first Whole30, I told all of my friends not to be shocked if they saw me on the news for having killed someone to steal their doughnut.  It never actually happened, but you get the point.

I’ll try to post all of the different recipes that we eat during this Whole30.  I tend to make the same 10-15 recipes over and over as far as dinner goes, so maybe I’ll do some more experimenting this time around.  As always, lunches consist of dinner leftovers and/or eggs.  If you’ve never done a Whole30, I strongly urge you to try one–it’s life changing!

Grilled Steaks with Cilantro Sauce

Serves 4

1 C fresh parsley

1 C fresh cilantro

1/2 C fresh mint

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 C olive oil

1/3 C red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 pounds flat iron or top sirloin beef steaks

1.– Put herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor.  Pulse until herbs are chopped.  Gradually add the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and cayenne.  Process until blended.  At this point, I put it in a jar and stick it in the refrigerator.  Truth be told, I doubled the recipe so I’d have a lot left over for salad dressing!

2.– Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.  If using a grill, grill (covered) over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side.  If using a broiler, broil 3-5 minutes on each side.  I found out when I made this tonight that our broiler runs WAAAAAAAY hot, so the steak turned out medium/medium-well instead of my preferred “barely dead,” but it was still good…so who cares!  Let the meat rest 5 or so minutes, cut into 1/4″ slices, and serve with sauce.

If you want to make this how I did, I mixed greens, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and tangerine slices.  I loved the tangerine flavor with the cilantro sauce so much that next time I’m going to juice a tangerine over the salad before adding the steak and sauce!

Paleo on Vacation

I’m writing this post from the Dallas airport, on my way back to San Antonio after a week in Village That No One Has Heard Of, Ohio. My son and I were visiting my traditional Italian grandmother for her birthday. Read: nothing is paleo there.

I love seeing her, but I’m excited to get back to my regular food! Out of six days visiting, I was able to have four paleo dinners, four paleo breakfasts, and three paleo lunches. I guess that isn’t terrible, but one of the cheats (mashed potatoes) left my intestines cramping for a full two days. For those two days I ate a lot of fruit LOL!

In addition…she’s old…and like I said, traditional Italian. She doesn’t understand dietary restrictions AT ALL. A lot of our discussions about food just left her more confused and saying, “that sounds terrible! Have some bread and cookies!” A few times I did just that haha!

Anyway, we are starting another Whole30 in a few days and I feel like it can’t come soon enough!

What are your nutritional hurdles while away from home?

Bone Broth (Whole30 Compliant)

 

??????????

I don’t know why I waited so long to try making bone broth (also, I had never tasted it before, but that’s another subject entirely).  It could be because I had never seen any sort of marrow bones at the grocery store…and to be entirely honest, boiling a pot of bones and water didn’t sound all that appealing to me.  Before I made this broth, I had made chicken broth a total of one time.  I just always sort of forgot about making broth every time we ate a chicken…which is funny because I roast a chicken pretty much once a week.  That’s a lot of broth I could have made!

What health benefits do we get from bone broth?  Well, from the marrow of the bone, we boost our immune systems, boost blood cell function, and reap the benefits of additional collagen, gelatin, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and myriad other good things that our bodies need.  The nutrients in bone broth help your body build connective tissue, suppress inflammatory activity, and increase hair, skin, and nail health.  Yes, it even helps to tighten loose skin!  Bones with more marrow (i.e. the larger bones) are good to use if you want more cellular repair and immune system help.  Bones with more gelatinous material (i.e. the smaller bones) really help with digestive health.  Click here for more health information about bone broth.

After looking at over 100 recipes online for bone broth (did you even know there were that many recipes for it?!), I put together the ingredients for my favorites and made a mish-mash of a bone broth recipe.  The type of bones you use will determine what spices you include in your recipe.  So…for instance, for beef bone broth I used salt, peppercorns, rosemary, etc.  For chicken bone broth I would use salt, thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.  If you would put it in a soup centered around that particular animal, throw it in!

??????????

Bone Broth (Beef)

 

1.5 – 2 pounds beef shanks (ask your butcher or grocery store person for beef marrow bones)

1 gallon (approximately) water

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2-3 carrots, washed and roughly chopped

2-3 celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped

1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 to 1 bunch Italian parsley, washed

Salt and pepper

spices

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

 

1.–If you want to do this in a slow cooker, alter your measurements to fit the slow cooker (mine fits 1-2 bones, all the veg, and a little more than a half of a gallon of water).  In a stock pot, put the bones, the water, and the apple cider vinegar.  Set this aside for 20-30 minutes so the vinegar can start to break down the marrow in the bones.  If using a slow cooker, do the same thing, but in the slow cooker.  Do not put it over heat yet!

2.–Chop your vegetables and add them as you finish chopping.  It’s okay if they’re soaking with the vinegar as well–I just do that part first so I’m not sitting around waiting for 30 minutes after I’ve finished everything.  Put the parsley in the pot…un-chopped…just wash and toss it in!

 

??????????

Isn’t that beautiful?  Sorry, my slow cooker is black, so it’s kind of like vegetables in an abyss.

3.–Add your spices.  I put in about 2-3 tsp sea salt, 2-ish tsp peppercorns, 2 tsp rosemary, 2 tsp basil, and 2 tsp thyme.  Basically at this point, you should have everything in the pot except for the garlic–that won’t go in until the broth is almost finished.

4.–Turn on your heat.  On the stove, bring it to a simmer.  In the slow cooker, turn it on low.  At this point is where many of the recipes differ.  Some say to cook it for a few hours; other say cook it for 48 hours.  I cooked mine for 24 hours.  Obviously in the slow cooker this seems a little less daunting because you turn it on low and let it go.  I’m sure on the stove it would be the same, but I’m a little hesitant to keep the stove on that long in our house (Number one, we live in an apartment on a college campus which means SUPER sensitive smoke detectors.  Number two, we have an electric stove that randomly decides that it has been on too long and just shuts off–this is why it’s hard for me to make jerky and such).  So, cook it for 24-ish hours (toss in the garlic during the last hour of cooking) and then strain all the solids out–this is easier if you let it cook for a few minutes.

5.–At this point you can eat it, refrigerate it, freeze it, whatever.  It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, and much longer in the freezer.  Add it to your recipes that call for liquid, drink it like tea, or eat it like soup!

 

Bacon, Grape, and Broccoli Salad (Whole30 Compliant)

 

018 (4)

You know how some things just taste amazing together, even when they don’t necessarily seem like they would?  This is one of those things…at least to me.  Don’t get me wrong–there’s nothing in here that I immediately think, “ew, that won’t go with everything else.”  It’s the texture of raw broccoli that doesn’t seem like it should go.  To be fair, I don’t like raw broccoli because of the texture and how it always gets stuck in my teeth.  Anyway, don’t think about trees growing in your mouth–think about how this is going to be DELICIOUS!

 

A word about two of the ingredients: first, mayo.  If you are still eating store-bought mayo, STOP IT!  You really should be making your own, and it takes less than 10 minutes.  One of the blogs I frequent, Nom Nom Paleo, has a great tutorial if you’ve never made it.  You can use either of the oils suggested or use what I use–Extra-Light TASTING olive oil.  Makre SURE it is extra-light TASTING.  I cannot say that enough.  TASTING.  Not extra-virgin.  Not virgin whateverness.  Extra.  Light.  Tasting.  Just trust me on this one, okay?

 

How to Make Mayo, Paleo-Style

 

Second ingredient: bacon.  On a Whole30, bacon is somewhat taboo.  This is mostly because if you are shopping at your local grocery store, it is almost impossible to find compliant bacon.  Go ahead, look at your bacon ingredients.  It’ll tell you that it is processed with SUGAR.  Also, it likely has added nitrites, nitrates, gluten, lactose, and MSG.  Yes, they use all of those things to process bacon.  To be perfectly honest, I still ate bacon (and no, not compliant bacon) during my Whole30s; however, it was two or three times throughout the entire month, so I didn’t beat myself up over it.  I’m eventually going to try my hand at making my own bacon, but first I have to find somewhere around here that sells quality pork belly.  In the mean time, if you want to buy compliant bacon, here is a link for you:

 

Whole30 Compliant Bacon

 

Now that you’ve made the mayo (you’ve made it, right?) and made your decision on your personal bacon manifesto, here is the salad, full of deliciousness!

 

Bacon, Grape, and Broccoli Salad

3 small (or 2 large) heads of broccoli, chopped into small florets (you can chop the stalks too if wanted)

2 cups of red grapes, cut in half

8-10 slices of bacon, cooked to crispy and roughly shopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 cup almonds, sliced or chopped

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped (optional)

1 1/2 cups mayo (the delicious stuff you just made!)

1/4 cup + 1 tsp lemon juice

sea salt

dill

 

1.–In small bowl, mix mayo with lemon juice, sea salt, and dill (okay, remember, I don’t measure…I probably used about 2 tsp of dried dill).  Set aside.

2.–In a large bowl, toss broccoli, grapes, bacon, onion, and nuts.  Pour the mayo mixture over the broccoli mixture and toss until well-mixed.

3.–EAT!!!  I’ve kept this in the fridge for up to a week and it was still good.  We finish it by that point, so I don’t know exactly how long it lasts!

 

Salmon with Coconut Cream Sauce (Whole30 Compliant)

 

salmon w coconut cream

One of the hardest things for me to give up during my Whole30s was dairy…specifically cream.  Not like I put heavy cream in everything, but sometimes it’s nice to have a piece of meat or some vegetables with a light cream sauce and a little Parmesan sprinkled in.  I mean really, there is nothing better than a well-made Béchamel or Mornay sauce. It adds a certain depth to a dish that otherwise wouldn’t be there.  I was a little bummed about not being able to have cream sauce until I came across this recipe and doctored it up!  (Because really…if you know me you know that I rarely follow recipes to the letter.  In fact, I pretty much never measure spices and I rarely measure liquids–I just eyeball everything and then add more according to my palate.

I think this would taste just as good with most other types of fish.  I wouldn’t necessarily try it with a strong-flavored fish or something like catfish; however, it should taste just as good with any flaky white fish and probably even over shrimp or scallops.  Note: if you make this with shrimp or scallops, make sure you mostly cook them first and then finish them with a quick saute in the sauce.  Skip the baking part entirely.  You could also do this with chicken breasts or pork chops–just adjust the baking accordingly so that the sauce is only in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  So if it takes, say 45 minutes to bake your chicken breasts, bake them for 20 minutes, take them out and cover with the sauce, then continue baking for the last 20 minutes.

Without further ado, here is the recipe!

Salmon with Coconut Cream Sauce

Serves 4

1 pound salmon fillet

Salt and pepper

2 tsp. coconut oil

1 large shallot, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thick or quartered

Zest and juice of one lemon (secret tip: zest the lemon and set zest aside, then microwave the lemon for 30-40 seconds–you’ll get more juice that way–this works for all citrus fruit)

1/2 cup canned, full-fat coconut milk

1.–Preheat oven to 350.  Spray or rub baking dish with a light coating of olive oil.  Salt and pepper both sides of salmon and place in baking dish.

2.–Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat.  Add coconut oil and heat until melted.  Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic–saute 3-5 minutes until soft.

3.–Add lemon zest, juice, and coconut milk.  Bring liquid to a low boil for 1-2 minutes.  Reduce heat and add basil.

4.–Pour over salmon and bake, uncovered, 10-20 minutes.

At this particular meal, I served the salmon with homemade cranberry sauce.  You wouldn’t think those flavors go together, but surprisingly, they went really well!

2 Tbsp. basil, chopped (or 1-2 tsp. dried basil)

Creamy Shrimp Fra Diavolo

 

??????????

I love food that is so versatile that it can go over rice, pasta, potatoes, and even function on its own as a saucy soup.  That is exactly what this is.  Well, it can be, anyway.  We no longer eat rice, pasta, potatoes, blah blah blah…but I will definitely eat a whole bowl of this by itself, just like soup.  If you really wanted to though, you could serve it over cauli-rice, zucchini noodles, or whatever pasta alternative you like.

Be forewarned: this has a little kick to it!  You can tailor it to your own specific taste; however, it is spicy as written.  If you are strict Paleo or Whole30, the wine in this is optional…but it does have a very nice flavor if you decide to add it.  I have tried this with both fresh and dried basil–they are both equally good.  Another thing about this recipe–you can use pretty much any protein you want in place of the shrimp.  If you feel like adding other spices to the mix, DO IT!  The majority of my success doing Whole30s is almost entirely based on my experimenting with everything.  Generally, if I find a recipe online, I change it so much while making it that it’s no longer recognized as the same recipe LOL!

So…here is the recipe that you MUST try!  It basically serves two people, unless you’re REALLY good at putting down the fork when you’re eating delicious food…then it might serve three 😛

 

Creamy Shrimp Diavolo

Serves 3-4

1 pound extra large shrimp (16-20 size), peeled and deveined

2-3 tsp. cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced (or 6 tsp. minced garlic if you buy pre-minced garlic)

14.5 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes, no funny-business ingredients

1/2 C. dry white wine (optional)

1/2 C. unsweetened coconut milk (remember: unless otherwise specified, always buy full-fat coconut milk in the can)

1 Tbsp. minced basil (or 1 tsp. dried basil)

1.–In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, cayenne, a generous pinch of salt, and 5-6 turns of pepper.  Toss until mostly coated.

2.–Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  When oil is hot, add shrimp and saute 2-3 minutes (until it’s just barely cooked through).  Remove to bowl and set aside.

3.–Add onions and garlic to skillet and saute until onions are translucent (4-5 minutes).  Stir in tomatoes, wine, and coconut milk.  Reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes.  The sauce will thicken slightly.

4.–Add shrimp and accumulated juices, and basil to the skillet.  Stir until all flavors are blended.

5.–Remove from heat and serve immediately.