Bacon-Wrapped Herb Crusted Turkey (Whole30 Compliant) and Orange Maple Sweet Potato Crisp (Paleo)

Turkey and Sweet Potatoes

We have plans to eat with the boarding school girls on Thanksgiving, so I made a turkey breast tonight along with some sweet potatoes.  I’m actually not that big of a fan of turkey, but because I’ve never cooked it before, I decided now was as good of a time as any!  I put together a liquidy-type rub for the turkey, covered everything in bacon, and roasted it.  There was not one strand of turkey meat on this thing when I took it out (that’s part of the reason I don’t like turkey…it goes from juicy to bone dry in about four seconds).

The sweet potatoes are something all of their own.  Basically like sweet potato candy.  With yummy pecan goodness.  And delicious orange zest.  So…make them.  Now.  Or…five minutes ago.

Bacon-Wrapped Herb Crusted Turkey (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 2-4

3-4 pound turkey breast

10-15 slices of bacon

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 tsp dried rosemary

3 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp coriander

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

 

1.- Preheat oven to 400.  Line baking pan with foil (for easier clean up) and place a wire rack on top.

2.- Whisk balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl.  Add crushed/minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.  Mix well until it’s a more liquid version of a paste.  Pat the turkey breast dry and set on wire rack.  Rub the herb paste all over the turkey.  Feel free to push some under the skin.

3.-  Weave bacon slices together over top of the turkey (in this picture, I obviously didn’t weave it–I laid half of the slices one way, and then covered those with slices going the other way–I didn’t have time to weave).  Tuck the edges of the bacon under the turkey.

4.-  If there is any herb paste left over, you can brush it on top of the bacon.  Bake for 1 hour (or until internal temperature reaches 165).  Remove from oven, let rest 10-15 minutes, carve, and serve.

 

Orange Maple Sweet Potato Crisp (Paleo)

Serves 4-6

Potatoes:

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 Tbsp Kerrygold

1/2 C coconut milk (or heavy cream if you do dairy)

1/4 C maple syrup

Zest and juice of 1 large orange

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Salt

 

Topping:

2 Tbsp Kerrygold

1/4 C maple syrup

1/4 C palm sugar (coconut sugar)

1 Tbsp orange juice

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

2 C pecan halves

 

1.-  Preheat oven to 350.  Put peeled and chopped sweet potatoes in a large pot, cover with water (fill to about 2-3″ above the potatoes), bring to boil, and simmer until tender (about 20-25 minutes).  Drain potatoes and return to pot.

2.-  While potatoes are cooking, melt 2 Tbsp of Kerrygold over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the rest of the topping ingredients except the pecans.  Stir and heat until bubbling.  Let cook for 2 minutes, add pecans, and stir well, coating all nuts with the syrup mixture.

3.-  Mash cooked sweet potatoes.  Add Kerrygold and coconut milk.  Mix until well combined.  Mix in the maple syrup, orange zest, salt, and 3 Tbsp of orange juice.

4.-  Pour potatoes into a 2-qt baking dish, top with pecan mixture, and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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Roasted Garlic and Scallion Soup (Whole30 Compliant)

Cream of Scallion Soup

Yep, I made more soup today!  It had a really great flavor.  I saw a recipe not too long ago for cream of scallion soup…I’d never heard of it before and it sounded interesting.  Of course I also found a recipe for cream of garlic soup which had never even occurred to be before.  They both sounded good and I decided to combine them to see if they were good together.  I had to alter a few things, make some substitutions to turn it paleo (or primal, if you so choose), and figure out ratios of vegetable to liquid…but it turned out great!

I have another soup (or stew, or whatever it’s considered) that will be coming soon: menudo.  I have never had it; however, there was some organic, grass-fed beef tripe at the grocery store last weekend and I bought it.  Of course I also bought pig trotters and I have no idea what I’ll be doing with them yet.  I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, any ideas?

Roasted Garlic and Scallion Soup (Whole30 Compliant)

10 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp Kerrygold

1 small onion, chopped

2 1/2 C scallions, chopped

1 1/2 C potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 1/2 C vegetable stock (or whatever mild-flavored stock you want to use)

1 15-oz can coconut milk (or 1 C heavy cream and 1 C water)

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

chopped scallions to garnish (green parts only)

optional Parmesan garnish (not Whole30 compliant)

 

1.- Preheat oven to 350.  Put unpeeled garlic in a baking dish and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast 30-40 minutes.  Cool and squeeze out of the skin.  Set aside.

2.- In a stockpot, melt butter over a low heat.  Add onion and scallions.  Cover and cook 10-12 minutes (until everything is soft).

3.- Add potatoes and stock.  Bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes, add roasted garlic (without skins).  Cool for 5-10 minutes.

4.- Puree mixture either in the pot with an immersion blender or in a regular blender/food processor.  Return soup to rinsed pan.

5.- Add the coconut milk (or cream/water) and season with salt and pepper.  Reheat slowly while stirring.  Add the lemon juice, stir, and serve topped with scallions and/or Parmesan.

Italian Chicken Fingers (Whole30 Compliant)

Chicken Strips

Isak will be turning 3 at the end of February.  What do 2-year olds love?  Chicken nuggets.  He currently thinks that chicken strips are just giant chicken nuggets (let’s face it, they are).  I’ve tried a bunch of chicken strip recipes within the paleo genre…and none of them live up to his standards.  Of course I can’t just grill chicken and cut it into nugget-sized pieces, because those pieces are not chicken nuggets.  Obviously.  Who knew?  Anyway, I made these tonight for JR’s and my dinner (Isak had already eaten–JR and I didn’t eat until 9).  Of course Isak ended up eating four or five pieces of my chicken…so I’m going to assume that they pass the toddler-test.

I took all of the recipes I’d used before, put together the common types of ingredients, changed the starch, added my favorite chicken-y spices, and this was born!  Trust…they are DELISH.  Side note: if you don’t have both cashew and almond flour, you can use one cup of either one of them.

Italian Chicken Fingers (Whole30 Compliant)

2 pounds chicken tenderloins (or breasts cut into strips)

1/2 C cashew flour

1/2 C almond meal

3 Tbsp tapioca starch

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp Italian seasoning (or a mixture of oregano, basil, parsley, and whatever other Italian spices/herbs you like)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp paprika

2 eggs, whisked

1/4 C coconut oil

 

1.- Heat coconut oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Let heat through for at least 4-5 minutes.

2.- In shallow bowl, mix almond flour, cashew flour, tapioca starch, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, and paprika until well-combined.  In a second shallow bowl, whisk eggs.  Dip each piece of chicken in the eggs and then dredge in the flour mixture.

3.- When oil is hot, cook chicken strips for 4-5 minutes on each side (or until internal temp reaches 165).  Remove from pan and try not to eat them all on the way to the table.

 

Pork Chops and Poached Eggs (Whole30 Compliant)

Pork Chop and Poached Eggs

Those of you who talk to me regularly about food have likely heard me talk about the one egg-cook that I can’t seem to successfully complete: the poached egg.  I have wasted no fewer than a couple dozen eggs over the last year or so trying every Pinterest tip to producing the perfect poached egg.  Unfailingly, just about every time it has broken in the water (which, for future reference, produces this weird, amorphous not-quite-scrambled boiled egg creature).  Today, however, I NAILED IT!  I got home from a shopping job and opened the refrigerator to figure out what I wanted for lunch.  I had some pork chops that needed to be used, but didn’t want them alone (and didn’t want to spend three hours prepping lunch).  What does meat always sound good with?  A poached egg so I can cut through it and make that lovely, velvety sauce.

The pork chops were a simple prep: salt, pepper, and ground mustard.  I decided not to over-think the egg and just do the most simple process I could think of for it: Water + Salt + Egg.  No vinegar, no lemon juice, no weird equations and timing for swirling…just cook the damn thing.

Pork Chops and Poached Eggs (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 1

1-1″ thick pork chop

3/4 tsp salt, divided

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground mustard

1 egg

2 tsp Kerrygold, ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil

 

1.- Season each side of the pork chop with salt (1/4 tsp between the two sides), ground black pepper, and ground mustard.

2.- In skillet over medium-high heat, melt Kerrygold.  When fat is hot, add pork chop.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (internal temperature should be 145).  Remove to plate and top with poached egg.

3.- For the egg: Fill a saucepan with 4-5″ of water and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a boil and turn heat down to medium.  Crack egg into a small bowl.

4.- Using a small spoon, stir the water in a circular motion, just enough to get the water swirling a little.  Carefully pour the egg into the middle of the pan.  Let cook for three minutes.  Gently remove egg with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.  Place egg on top of pork chop and dig in!

Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup (Whole30 Compliant)

Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup

My husband has said that this officially surpasses the CLAM CHOWDER as his favorite soup.  Of course you should know that after squeezing all this roasted garlic, your fingers will smell like Olive Garden for awhile.  It.  Is.  Delicious.  Isak ate a bowl and a half.  That’s saying a lot for a toddler who thinks that every meal should consist of macaroni and cheese, yogurt, and popsicles…even though he generally does love any food in soup form.  There is so. much. garlic. in this recipe, and you’ll love every clove.

If you are eating a primal diet, you can either use coconut milk or substitute heavy cream (personally, I think heavy cream gives it a smoother finish, but that’s just me).  I didn’t have time to make some, but a lovely garnish for this, as always, would be crumbled bacon!  Pay no attention to the green onions floating around there…I set them so nicely on top of the soup…and they just floated away.  How rude.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup (Whole30 Compliant)

30 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp Kerrygold (or ghee)

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

15 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 tsp thyme

4 C chicken stock

1/2 C coconut milk (or heavy cream)

2 pounds cooked chicken, cubed

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

 

1.- Preheat oven to 350.  Put unpeeled garlic in a baking dish, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast 30-40 minutes (until golden brown).  Cool and squeeze garlic out of the skins.

2.- In large pot over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onions and cook until translucent (5-10 minutes).  Add roasted garlic, peeled garlic, and thyme.  Cook a couple minutes (until fragrant).  Add chicken stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Take off heat and puree (either in blender or with an immersion blender).

3.- Put back on heat.  Add coconut milk, cooked chicken, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Warm through and serve immediately, garnished with chopped green onions and crumbled bacon.

Country-Style Pork Ribs and Carrot Slaw (Whole30 Compliant)

Country Style Ribs and Carrot Slaw

This is the first pork that we’ve tried from our new farmers at HANSON FAMILY FARM.  Look at that white fat!  So good.  I actually cut some of that fat off before eating, saved it, and rendered it for a couple other dinners that we had last week.  The pork fat with a couple of the soups that I’ve made was AH-MAY-ZING!  For these ribs (which we got four packages of them, so expect to see a few rib recipes over the next month or so), I used a dry rub and roasted them on a low temp for a couple hours.  By the time we ate them, the meat was literally falling off the bone.  I’m thinking of trying these with my rigged-up sous vide system, but we’ll see.  If it works out correctly, you’ll see more of the sous vide sometime this weekend.

The carrot slaw was an afterthought for this meal; however, it is officially my FAVORITE slaw I’ve ever put together.  Fortunately for you, I remembered to write everything down as I was doing it this time.  I tend to start throwing things in while thinking, “oh, I’ll remember to write that down.”  Yeah, you know the drill: I ALWAYS FORGET.  Oh well.  Seriously, go out and make this slaw tonight.  I could eat it all day long.  There’s a little honey in the slaw, and honestly, I can’t remember the specifics on if you can use honey at all during a Whole 3o.  There’s only a little in there though, so if you don’t want to use it, just omit it.

Country Style Pork Ribs

2-3 pounds country style pork ribs

1 tsp marjoram

1 tsp fennel

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp dried cilantro

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp anise seed

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp ground mustard

salt and pepper

 

1.- Preheat oven to 250.  Line a baking sheet with foil and top sheet with a wire rack.

2.- Mix all spices in a small bowl.  If they are chunky, work them a little with a mortar and pestle to give them a finer grind.  Adjust the levels if you need to–start with smaller amounts of any spices you’re wary of.  A general rule of thumb is:

If you don’t like the way it smells, you won’t like the way it tastes

3.- Salt and pepper the ribs on both sides.  If you want to avoid red-orange fingers, use gloves to work the spice rub into all sides of the ribs.  Place them on the wire rack and bake in the oven for 2 hours.  Let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Carrot Slaw

1/2 C coarsely chopped nuts (I used macademia, but you could also use walnuts, pecans, cashews, or pistachios)

1 pound grated carrots (don’t pay attention to what mine look like…I was working on my knife skills)

3 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil

zest and juice of 1 lemon

zest and juice of one tangerine (or clementine or whatever you want to call them)–if you don’t have this, use about 1/2 tsp orange zest and 2-3 Tbsp of juice from the orange

1-2 Tbsp raw honey

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 C dried cranberries (or you could use raisins)

5 scallions, sliced thin (white and green)

2-3 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley (or 1-2 tsp dried parsley)

salt and pepper

 

1.- Put chopped nuts on a baking sheet (or in a pie dish) and put them in an oven to toast (250 degrees for 20 minutes or 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes).

2.- In small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, tangerine juice, lemon zest, tangerine zest, raw honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

3.- In medium bowl, toss carrots, scallions, cranberries, and parsley.  Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss well.  Let set in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes so veg can soak up the dressing.

4.- Toss with toasted nuts and serve immediately.

Zuppa Toscano (Whole30 Compliant–Minus the Garnish)

Zuppa Toscano

It’s actually starting to cool off here in Hell’s Incinerator (also known as San Antonio), so we’ve been having a lot of soup lately.  Not because it’s cold…but because when it cools off, Isak and I spend more time outside, leaving me less time to cook.  I like to have lots of leftovers to heat up, and soup makes the most leftovers.  Anyway, I love Zuppa Toscano, so I decided to throw together a compliant version.  Surprisingly, it was super easy and I only had to modify a few ingredients.

JR (the husband) liked it so much that he was drinking out of the bowl by the end.  Isak (the toddler) was the one I was worried about.  As you can see from residual oil, the sausage was pretty spicy.  Isak is hit or miss with spicy.  Sometimes he loves it, sometimes he hates it.  I gave him a small bowl–fully prepared to heat him up some blueberry gluten-free waffle or some cheese and fruit–and when I looked over at him, he was going to town.  Seriously, he looked like he was trying to suck the head off the spoon.  It was hilarious.  He’ll be having that for lunch tomorrow (with me).  Of course I can’t wait for tomorrow night…I’ve made an autumn panna cotta topped with a cinnamon apple chutney that is setting in the refrigerator as I type this.  STOKED!

Zuppa Toscano (Whole30 Compliant, Minus the Garnish)

5 slices bacon, cut in 1″ pieces

1 pound hot ground Italian sausage (if you can’t find ground, you can cut the casings off the links)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 C russet potatoes, roughly chopped

4 C chicken broth

1 15-oz can full-fat coconut milk

3-4 C chopped kale (I used a kale-spinach blend)

salt and pepper

optional garnish: grated Parmesan

 

1.- In large soup pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy.  Add sausage, breaking apart as it cooks.  Fry until browned and cooked through.  Drain grease, but leave in 1 Tbsp to cook the onions.

2.- Push sausage and bacon to the side.  Add onions to the non-meat side of the pan and saute until soft.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes (until fragrant).

3.- Add broth, potatoes, salt, and pepper.  Bring to simmer and cook 10-15 minutes (until potatoes are tender).  Add coconut milk and kale.  Cook a couple minutes, until heated through.  Serve immediately.  Optional garnish on top is grated Parmesan (tasty!).

 

Zuppa Fresco (Primal–Whole30 Compliant with Cheese Omission)

Zuppa Fresca

Growing up, my mom used to make this yummy dish all the time.  I don’t know where she got the recipe or if she made it up (she frequently made stuff up based on what she had in the refrigerator, which is probably where I learned to throw stuff together), but it was delicious and she called it “pasta fresco.”  Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes in a tomato cream sauce served over farfalle.  Seriously, it’s delicious…and of course you go into a carb coma after all that pasta.  I’ve made it for pretty much everyone I’ve ever cooked for and everyone loves it…but no one loves it as much as my husband, JR.

Obviously when we started the primal lifestyle, we gave up pasta.  I *could* make it with gluten-free pasta if I *really* wanted the pasta with it, but honestly, I haven’t found a gluten-free pasta that does taste like…you know…mushy cardboard.  I know JR misses pasta fresco, so I decided to try out a compliant way of having the most tasty part of the dish: the sauce.  Ohhhh the sauce.  It’s like crack.  They way that I made it tonight did contain shredded Parmesan.  If you are doing a Whole30, just don’t include the cheese.  It’s really delicious with the cheese…but just add the cheese after you finish your Whole30!

Zuppa Fresco (Primal: If You are Doing a Whole30, LEAVE OUT the Cheese!)

1 pound Italian sausage, cut in 1/2″ slices and each slice in half

1 pound mushrooms, sliced thick

1 small to medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Kerrygold butter

Small drizzle olive oil

1-28 to 32 oz can crushed tomatoes

1-14 oz can full-fat coconut milk

2 C chicken broth

1/2 C grated Parmesan

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp basil

1-2 tsp salt (keep tasting to get desired salt amount)

3/4 tsp ground black pepper

 

1.- In stock pot (or large skillet) over medium-high heat, cook sausage until cooked through.  Remove to paper towel-lined bowl or plate and set aside.

2.- In stock pot over medium-high heat, heat a small drizzle of olive oil (maybe a tsp or so).  Add mushrooms and cook until browned.  Remove to the sausage bowl.

3.- Reduce pot heat to medium and melt 1 Tbsp Kerrygold butter.  When butter is hot, add onions and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add crushed tomatoes, paprika, nutmeg, basil, and chicken broth and heat to simmer.  Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender, in a regular blender, or in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.

4.- Put back on the heat and add coconut milk.  Stir a few minutes until heated through and simmering.  Stir in Parmesan, if using.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add salt and pepper in increments to desired taste.  Serve immediately, garnished with grated Parmesan (or chopped fresh basil).