Balsamic Honey Roasted Pork (Paleo)

Balsamic Honey Pork Roast

According to my husband, this recipe is money.  I have to agree–this is probably my favorite sauce I’ve ever made for a meat.  It’s sweet, it’s tangy, it’s savory…it makes you want to eat it off of a spoon.  No joke.  The pork roast was partially frozen when I put it in the slow cooker.  I cooked it for about seven hours until the internal temperature hit 145, and at that point the meat was practically falling off the bone.  Delicious.

If you want to sear this before putting it in the slow cooker, you can; however, it turns out perfectly without that step, so unless you really want to add an extra step, there’s no need to sear it before adding to the slow cooker.  You could cook this on high if you really wanted to make it in a shorter time frame, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  Just pick a day when you have the time to do this low and slow.  You’ll thank me later on, I promise.

Balsamic Honey Roasted Pork (Paleo)

Serves 4 (if you’re lucky)

2-4 pound bone-in Boston butt pork roast

salt and pepper

1/4 C balsamic vinegar

1/4 C honey

1/4 C ground mustard (not dry mustard, ground prepared mustard)

2 Tbsp coconut aminos

2 Tbsp Kerrygold, divided

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp arrowroot starch

 

1.- Salt and pepper the pork roast.  Place in slow cooker and turn on low.

2.- In a small bowl, whisk balsamic vinegar, honey, ground mustard, and coconut aminos until well blended.  Pour over top of roast.  Put Kerrygold pieces on top of roast.  Cook on low for 5-8 hours (depending on the size of the roast).  Remove roast and allow to rest.

3.- Mix arrowroot with a little water until smooth.  Pour into the slow cooker bowl with the leftover sauce and juices.  Add in maple syrup.  Whisk until slightly thickened and combined.  Add salt and pepper if desired.  If the arrowroot makes it too thick, add in a little coconut aminos and stir.  Slice pork thin and serve with sauce.

Pulled Pork with Apple Chutney (Whole30 Compliant)

Pulled Pork

I was at the store last week and found an awesome looking pork butt roast (bone-in) for an equally awesome price.  No, we don’t get all of our meat locally, but we try to get as much as possible.  This was exceptional though–I got an almost 3-pound roast for less than $5.  Can’t beat that!  I decided to braise it all day in the slow cooker and mix it with an apple-tomato chutney, rather than the traditional barbecue sauce.  Sound good?  That’s because it was!

The lovely-looking butter lettuce leaves made a great vehicle for the pulled pork.  And speaking of pulling pork, have you learned the easiest way to pull pork yet?  Remove any bones, cut into big hunks, and toss into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Turn it on and within a couple minutes: pork is pulled.  Voila!

Pulled Pork with Apple Chutney (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4-5

2-3 pound pork butt roast

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

4 C broth

2 bay leaves

2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp tomato paste

6 slices bacon, cooked to crispy and chopped

 

1.- Heat coconut oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper both sides of the pork butt roast.  When pan is hot, brown meat on all sides until a crust starts to form (about 2-3 minutes per side).  Place roast in slow cooker and cover with onions, broth, and bay leaves.  Cook on low for 5-7 hours (or on high for 3-4 hours).  Remove pork (and any bones), pull, reserve broth, and return pork to slow cooker on the “warm” setting with 1/4 to 1/2 C of reserved broth.

2.- Meanwhile…add apples, cinnamon, salt, and 1/4 C of reserved broth to a medium saucepan, covered.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and let simmer until apples are soft.  Once soft, remove lid and allow most of the remaining liquid to cook off (2-3 minutes).  Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher (or in a blender/food processor).  Stir in tomato paste and bacon, and season more if needed.

3.- Pour apple mixture into slow cooker with pulled pork, mix well, and allow to heat through if needed.  Serve alone or on lettuce.  Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.

Smoky Shrimp (Whole30 Compliant)

Smoky Shrimp

There are very few places that I’ve found around here that sell shrimp with the heads on.  I know, I know, most people don’t want to deal with the heads because they’re gross or whatever.  Let me tell you about shrimp heads: they make the MOST AMAZING shrimp stock!  This recipe doesn’t require it, but it’s a bonus byproduct.  I was so excited when we went to HEB last weekend and not only did they have shrimp with the heads on, but it was on sale for just over $5 a pound!  Color me stoked.

I’ve been working on a shrimp recipe recently and decided this was the perfect time to test-drive it.  The fact that I ended up with over a half pound of shrimp heads out of the deal was a surprise that is currently sitting in my freezer, awaiting a soon-to-come time where its fate will be that of broth.  I served these with a cauliflower-potato mash, but you could serve them with pretty much anything you wanted to.  Of course in traditional New Orleans style, they would be served with rice, but that is up to you!

Smoky Shrimp

3 Tbsp coconut oil

1 large shallot, diced fine

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 C white wine

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

2/3 C Worcestershire

1/2 C bone broth

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp Kerrygold butter

1/2 C scallions, sliced thin

 

1.- In medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil.  Add shallot and garlic, and cook, stirring until softened.  Stir in wine, thyme, and paprika.  Cook until reduced by half (about 3 minutes).  Add Worcestershire and broth.  Cook about 15-20 minutes (until reduced to 1/2 to 2/3 C).

2.- In large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp coconut oil.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper.  Cook a couple minutes, flipping sides, until shrimp has turned pink.  Pour sauce into shrimp pan and cook a couple minutes until thickened.  Stir in butter until incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve, garnished with scallions.

Spiced Oven-Baked Pork Ribs (Whole30 Compliant)

Baked Pork Ribs

 

I’ve made pork ribs many ways; however, my favorites always seem to be of the oven-baked variety.  Being from Kansas City, I LOVE me some barbecue.  Really for real in real life…it holds its own level on the food pyramid there.  Not so coincidentally, that is why no one in any other part of the country will ever convince me that their barbecue is better.  Not Texas, not the Carolinas, not anywhere.  Let’s just all agree that Kansas City barbecue is the best, m’kay?  😉

This is something that resembles Kansas City barbecue sans sauce.  I have made sauce for us to use, and occasionally I use it…but I clean up so many messes during the day with a toddler that I don’t feel like adding barbecue sauce to that long list.  I’d rather spend my nine seconds of free time per night cultivating my relationship with Netflix or actually having a conversation with the husband that doesn’t involve the words “potty,” “diaper,” or “Mommy, where did your penis go?”  (I know I’m not the only mother of a little boy to have to answer this question.  Frequently.  While I’m trying to pee without an audience.

I digress.  The ribs this night were particularly good, if not with a bit of a kick.  I added some lime juice right before baking this time and it gave it just the right amount of bite.  Enjoy!

Spiced Oven-Baked Pork Ribs (Whole30 Compliant)

2-3 pounds of pork ribs (I used country-style ribs)

1 Tbsp sea salt

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp basil

1 tsp ground rosemary

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp cayenne

1 large onion, cut in large wedges.

juice of 1 lime

1.- Mix all spices and seasonings together in small bowl.  This will make about a half of a cup of spice blend.  I used about half of it for 2 pounds of ribs and saved the rest in a clean jar.

2.- Preheat oven to 250.  Cover bottom of baking dish or small roasting pan with onion wedges.  Rub both sides of ribs with spice blend and place directly on top of onion wedges.  Pour a little of the lime juice on each rib.

3.- Bake 2-3 hours, depending on total weight (until internal temperature is 145 degrees).  Let ribs rest at least 5 minutes–preferably 10-15–before serving.

A Primal Vacation

Okay…I managed to go on a 10-day vacation and stay compliant.  Yes, even in drive-thrus (that part involves a lot of boring, naked, grilled chicken and salad without dressing or fruit…but it can be done).  I didn’t take pictures of the fast food meals though.  They were too boring.  I took pictures of the food that I got at regular restaurants.

A caveat: if you are strictly Whole 30 or strictly Paleo, eating out will be harder.  Not impossible…but definitely harder than someone on a Primal diet.  So keep that in mind.

Texas Roadhouse

This was a meal from Texas Roadhouse (in Plano, TX).  It’s their 6 oz (I think it was 6) steak, medium rare, with steamed vegetables and a baked sweet potato.  I even managed to sit there in front of a basket of their rolls and homemade cinnamon butter without caving!

Pressroom

Breakfast at The Pressroom in Bentonville, AR.  Basically, deconstructed breakfast tacos.  Scrambled eggs, salsa, cilantro, sliced avocado, and a bowl of chorizo (I normally don’t like chorizo; however, this was delicious).  Breakfast seems to be the easiest meal to find while at a restaurant.  Every place that serves breakfast has eggs, meat, and vegetables.  Done.

Taziki

A lamb salad plate from Taziki’s in Bentonville, AR.  The lamb on this salad was DELICIOUS.  The nuts were a great addition, as was the feta.  Even if I weren’t eating a primal diet, I would eat this salad for every meal of every day.

El Charro

A Mexican salad from El Charro’s in Joplin, MO.  I have been to this restaurant probably 500 times between when I was 12 and now.  I have only ever gotten one thing here: the chimichanga.  It is a delicious deep-fried, tortilla-wrapped, meaty piece of goodness, covered in a white cheese sauce and served with beans and rice.  This is the first time I got anything else.  It was really good!

Applebees

This is one of the sizzling Bourbon Street something-or-others from Applebees in KC, MO.  It was decent.  It wasn’t the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten, but it got the job done.  Protein + fat + veg = a happy person.

Tassos

Finally, the Gyro Salad from Tasso’s in KC, MO.  I usually get the gyros here (we visit Tasso’s every time we visit KC…but it’s because of the belly dancer, not because of the food), but the salad was actually quite good.  It definitely made for a very happy tummy (more happy than when I used to have the regular gyros).

So that’s my 10 days in a very small nutshell.  We didn’t eat every meal out, so these pictures are most of the restaurant meals that I had.  We just got home tonight, and I’m super excited to get back to cooking at home.  This week has a lineup of things like goat, lamb, and beef!  Can’t wait!

Kansas City Vacation End-of-Summer BBQ (Whole30 Compliant)

photo 2

We are on vacation!  You know that already though, because I mentioned it in the last couple posts.  If you haven’t been to Kansas City before, it is HUGE.  Not huge in population (though I think the metro population is something like 2 million), but in physical area…it is just…well, huge.  What does that have to do with anything?  Well, we have friends all over the city, and every time we come, we end up driving all over hell’s half acre, visiting everyone.  This wasn’t a problem when we didn’t have a child (or when Isak was an infant), but with a two year old, spending hours a day in the car with short breaks to get out and see a couple people just doesn’t work.  We end up with a very grouchy toddler.  This time we decided that we would have a party at JR’s parents’ house and invite all of our friends.  We told people to bring side dishes, and we handled the rest.  As a primal eater, this was leaving a lot in the hands of my friends…but one of my friends is a paleo chef (who will be doing a guest post on here sometime soon), so I had total faith that between whatever she was making and what we made, I would have enough to eat.  Do you want to see a picture of what she brought?  It was this (apple spice muffins, apple slices, and paleo caramel):

photo 3

Remember how I said I avoid paleo baked goods because I can never seem to get the consistency correct?  Well, I would eat these things until I throw up…they are that good.

We ended up grilling burgers and hot dogs (duh), having a big box of organic baby lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, aged white cheese (not Whole30), pico de gallo, and guacamole.  The recipe for hot dogs is as follows:

1.- Buy hot dogs.

2.- Cook them.

The burgers were a little more involved.

 

Hamburgers

Serves 4

1 pound ground beef (this recipe also works with ground lamb or bison)

1/2 medium onion, diced

1/2 C mushrooms, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

2 tsp Kerrygold (or other fat of choice)

 

1.- Heat fat in skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add onions, mushrooms, and garlic.  Saute a few minutes until onions are soft and mushrooms are browning.  Move to small bowl and set aside.

2.- In large bowl, mix ground beef, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper with hands.  Once incorporated, add in onion mixture and mix until well-combined.  Form into 4-5 hamburger patties.

3.- Grill to desired temperature is reached (you can also cook these in a skillet, broil them in the oven, or cook them on a George Foreman-type situation.

4.- Serve over greens, topped with pico, guacamole, sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, cheese and sour cream (if you tolerate dairy), bacon, and anything else you want.

 

Pico de Gallo

3 C tomatoes, chopped

3 C red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 bunches of cilantro, chopped

1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced (use two if you like it a little hotter)

Juice of 1 lime

 

1.- Mix everything well in a large bowl.

 

Guacamole

4 avocados, pitted and mashed

1 C pico de gallo

Juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

 

1.- In large bowl, mash avocado.  Squeeze in lime juice and mix well.

2.- Add in 1 C of pico and stir.  Salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.

 

Vegetable Skewers

1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and chopped in 1/2-1″ thick slices

1 red onion, cut in wedges

8 oz mushrooms, cleaned

1 red pepper, cut in 1″+ squares

1 yellow pepper, cut in 1″+ squares

1 orange pepper, cut in 1″+ squares

1 pineapple, peeled and cut in chunks

1/4 C olive oil

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp raw honey

1 Tbsp mustard (regular, spicy brown, and Dijon all work)

salt and pepper

wooden skewers

 

1.- Soak wooden skewers in water for at least an hour.  Chop all vegetables and pineapple and put in large resealable bag.

2.- In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, raw honey, mustard, salt, and pepper until well combined and creamy looking.  Pour over vegetables and fruit in bag.  Move bag around to coat vegetables.  Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

3.- String fruit and vegetables on wooden skewers in whatever order and amount you’d like.

4.- Heat grill to medium.  For easier cooking, put grill pan on the racks where you’ll be cooking the vegetables.

5.- Put vegetable skewers on grill pan and cook 6-10 minutes on each side (or until you like them done).

 

Oh, and what did we do with the leftovers the next day?  This!

BBQ leftover salad

Slow-Cooker Beef Ribs (Primal/Paleo)

 

beef ribs

One of my last cuts left from our first GRASSLAND OASIS experience were beef ribs.  You have never eaten beef until you’ve had it from pasture-raised cows.  It tastes nothing like the corn-fed “beef” at the grocery store.  Pasture-raised beef has a much more delicate, subtle flavor.  It doesn’t scream, “OH MY GOD!  I ATE CORN AND ANIMAL BY-PRODUCTS MY WHOLE LIFE!”  In fact, I told JR tonight that if someone set a piece of this beef in front of me, didn’t label it, and told me to guess what it was, I would have guessed something like…well, there’s nothing to compare it to.  It’s like a more delicate version of bison.  To be clear, I’ve had pasture-raised beef before…but never was the flavor of the beef so pronounced (mostly because before it was covered in barbecue sauce or in a stew).

 

I decided to see what I could do with these in the slow-cooker today.  Keep in mind that if you make this recipe using mainstream grocery store beef, your cooking times will be a bit different.  Pasture-raised beef has a shorter cook time (I’m still getting used to the difference in cook time).  So…my times given are based on pasture-raised beef.  I’ll give suggestions for corn-fed beef, but know that I haven’t actually tested those times–I’m just going based on about what I think it would be.

 

Slow-Cooker Beef Ribs

Serves 2-4

2-3 pounds beef ribs (bone-in)

2 Tbsp kosher sea salt

4 Tbsp coconut palm sugar

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp coriander

1 tsp chili powder

ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

3-4 Tbsp raw honey

ground black pepper

 

1.– In small bowl, mix kosher sea salt, coconut palm sugar, paprika, coriander, chili powder, and black pepper.  Mix well.  Rub liberally on ribs, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least two hours.

2.– Put ribs in slow-cooker (if your slow-cooker isn’t big enough to fit them in one piece, feel free to cut them into 2-3 rib chunks and pile them in).  Pour 1-2 C water or beef broth around the bottom of the slow-cooker.  Turn on low and cook away for 2-3 hours (you want the internal temp to be 145).  Pull out of the slow-cooker and let rest 10 minutes while you preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil.

3.– In small bowl, whisk apple cider vinegar, honey, and pepper.  After the 10-minute resting period, I cut the ribs into single pieces (feel free to leave them all together if you want–I just think it’s easier this way).  Brush the ribs liberally with the apple cider vinegar mixture.  Sprinkle the tops of the ribs with a large pinch of coconut palm sugar (you want a thin layer across the ribs to get a little crunchy under the broiler).

4.–Place under broiler for 5-6 minutes.  Let rest for a few minutes and serve hot!  As an aside, the apple cider vinegar mixture whisked with some olive oil makes a great salad dressing.  Dress it up with a few crushed lavender buds!

BBQ Pork Ham Roast (Primal and Paleo)

 

BBQ pork ham roast

Before getting this order of meat from GRASSLAND OASIS, I don’t think I had ever heard of a pork ham roast.  Well, I had heard it called a “picnic ham,” but I had never tried it before and didn’t know that they were the same thing.  When I hear the word “ham,” I think of the pink blob covered in sugary substances that’s cooked for many different holidays.  I don’t particularly like ham (except for the crunchy, sugary goodness that’s baked onto the skin…what can I say?  It’s like pig candy)…but this is not traditional ham, so I gave it a go!

 

Essentially, this is a bone-in pork roast that’s from the part of the pig that is traditionally used for ham.  Major difference?  Ham is cured, this is not.  As a person from Kansas City, if you give me pork, I definitely know what to do with it!  What did I decide on tonight?  A basic barbecue glaze, baked, and quick broiled at the end.  It turned out delicious!

 

BBQ Pork Ham Roast (Primal and Paleo)

Serves 4-6

2-3 pound pork ham roast/picnic ham/fresh ham (these are all essentially the same thing)

salt and pepper

3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard (or other mustard of your choice)

1-ish C BBQ SAUCE

1-2 Tbsp cooking fat

 

1.– Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking dish with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup)

2.– Rinse ham roast and pat dry with paper towels.  Salt and pepper however much you like on your pork roasts (I use my fingers to disperse salt…so I have no idea what my measurements are for this part)

3.– Heat large skillet to medium-high heat with fat (I use Kerrygold butter).  Brush half of Dijon over both sides of roast.  Sear meat in heated pan for about 1 minute per side.  If you want to get a nice crisp fat piece, score the fat first and render it for a minute or so before taking the roast out of the pan.

4.– Remove roast from pan and brush with remaining dijon.  Pour 3/4 of the BBQ sauce over the roast and brush it around a bit.  Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour (this will depend on your roast size and your oven–you want the internal temp to be 160).  Brush with remaining BBQ sauce and broil until the sauce gets sticky and thick (my broiler takes something like 11 days to preheat, so I just turned on the broiler and put the meat under it for about 5-8 minutes while it was heating)

Primal BBQ Chicken

 

Primal BBQ Chicken

Technically this is primal as well as paleo, just as an aside.  I made homemade BBQ sauce for the first time today…and it is DELICIOUS!  For those of you who like KC Masterpiece sauce, this is almost a dead ringer.  In fact, the only way I could tell them apart in a taste test is if the test wasn’t blind–this sauce is red and thicker as opposed to reddish brown and thinner like a creamy salad dressing.  Anyway, it’s YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY!

 

So to test out this liquid sunshine, I made some BBQ chicken leg quarters.  JR says that it was super tasty (I wasn’t hungry, so I’ll be eating mine tomorrow).  I know it’s going to taste good though, because my nose works very well…and three hours later, the house still smells delicious.  I’m pretty stoked about eating it.  I’m actually getting a little hungry and could eat a leg quarter right now, but it’s pushing midnight, so that’s not going to happen LOL!

 

BBQ Sauce

15 oz can organic tomato sauce

12 oz can organic tomato paste

1 C red wine vinegar

1 C unsweetened applesauce

1/3 C organic raw honey

1/3 molasses

2 Tbsp ghee (or butter, or clarified butter, or whatever you use)

2 Tbsp liquid smoke (don’t leave this part out!  There are a few brands that have all pronounceable ingredients)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne

salt and pepper to taste

 

1.–Combine all ingredients in saucepan over medium-low heat.  Let simmer 20 minutes.  Done!  This makes about 4-5 C of sauce.

 

BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters

Serves 4

4 chicken leg quarters

1 C BBQ sauce

1-2 Tsp fat

 

1.– Preheat oven to 375.  Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Sprinkle salt liberally over skin.  Line baking sheet with foil.  On top of baking sheet, put wire rack.

2.– Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  When pan is warm, put fat in pan.  When hot, put chicken in pan, skin side down.  Sear ONLY the skin side until a golden brown crust forms.  Brush both sides of chicken with half of the BBQ sauce and put on wire rack, skin side up.

3.– Bake for 25 minutes.  Take sheet out of oven and brush remaining sauce over chicken.  Return to oven and bake another 20-25 minutes (until juices run clear and internal temp hits 165).  ENJOY!