Italian Burgers and Jicama Fries (Keto and Primal)

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I’m pretty sure that tonight was the first time the husband and I each made 50% of our meal for the blog post! I was going to make a bunch of Italian meatballs and freeze them so we had a few meals, but all of us wanted burgers, so I altered the recipe a bit and instead made a few meals worth of Italian burgers instead.

We had two jicamas left that we needed to use, so JR prepped them and whipped up some seasoned fries with garlic aioli for dipping.  Here’s the deal: if you haven’t been eating your fries dipped in mayo, you haven’t been doing it right.  The first time I did that was about 15 years ago when I was living in France (OMG…has it been 15 years already?!). They brought out mayo with the fries and I just stared at it in horror. My French and Italian friends were like, “Stop staring. Just try it.” I tried it once and never looked back. That being said, I do not like mayo on skinny fast-food fries…so don’t try it on those and expect heavenly results. You need thicker, rustic cut fries.

This whole meal, start to finish, took about an hour (including prep time). The burgers take about 20-25 minutes to cook, depending on how thick you make them. The fries take 40-ish minutes to cook and about 20 minutes to prep. Not a super quick meal, but it’s not too long to make on the fly, either!

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Jicama Fries

1 lb raw jicama

1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 – 1 tsp cumin

3 Tbsp olive oil

  1. Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil plus a light greasing).
  2. Peel jicama and cut into 1/4″-thick fries. Put in a micro-safe container along with 1/4 C of water. Cover and microwave for 8-10 minutes. After the first 4 minutes, stir gently, then finish heating. The bowl will be hot when you remove it, so be careful! Remove to paper towel to drain.
  3. Toss jicama strips in olive oil. Mix spices, then pour over the strips and toss again until coated. Arrange on baking sheet and bake 40-45 minutes.

Nutrition per serving (recipe makes 4 servings)

Total fat: 13.6 g

Sat fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 4.5 mg

Total Carbs: 10 g

Fiber: 5.6 g

Sugar: 2 g

Net carbs: 5.4 g

Protein: 0.8 g

 

Italian Burgers

2# ground beef

2# ground pork

2 eggs

1 C grated parmesan

1 C shredded mozzarella

4 T minced onion flakes

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp oregano

2 Tbsp basil

1 Tbsp black pepper

2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

  1. Oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put an oven-safe cooling rack over the baking sheet and spray or grease lightly.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. Form 8-10 burger patties (we made 8 about 1/3# burgers). At this point, you can freeze them on wax paper if you want to save any of them. I froze all of ours first. After freezing them, pop them into a gallon-size Ziplock bag to store.
  3. Place your burgers on the wire rack to cook. Because mine were frozen, this cook-time will be longer than if you’re cooking them from fresh. From frozen: bake 20 minutes, flip them over, then bake 5 more minutes. From fresh: I usually bake them about 10-15 minutes (watch this closely – I can’t remember my exact cook time from fresh), then flip and cook another 5 minutes. If you want to add a slice of cheese, add it when you flip them so the cheese melts for the last 5 minutes.

Nutrition (per burger at 10 burgers made):

Total Fat: 59 g

Sat Fat: 15.6 g

Cholesterol: 205.9 mg

Sodium: 321.7 mg

Carbs: 0.8 g

Fiber: 0 g

Sugar: 0.2 g

Net Carbs: 0.8 g

Protein: 45.6 g

 

Garlic Aioli

3/4 C mayo

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

  1. Mix all that stuff in a bowl until well combined.

Nutrition per serving (at 8 servings):

Total Fat: 15 g

Sat Fat: 2.3 g

Cholesterol: 7.5 mg

Sodium: 135.3 mg

Total Carbs: 0.6 g

Fiber: 0 g

Sugar: 0 g

Protein: 0.1 g

Keeping Keto at Disney World

mk_crystalprerover_20170201_7938321358Last week we took Isak and met my parents at Disney World for the week.  We go every January near the end and celebrate Isak’s birthday early.  It is literally my favorite week of the year.  This year, I had lots of people ask me if we were breaking our food rules for the trip.  Nope, not at all!  It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, I’m not going to lie.  Not because there were so many temptations, because at this point, temptations aren’t really a “thing” anymore.  Yay keto–cravings disappear.  It wasn’t the easiest thing to do because literally, 95% of the food found at Disney contains grains or sugar, which we avoid.  There was one night at Epcot where we each had a quarter of a gluten-free roll.  It was really good as far as gluten-free goes…but most of that stuff feels like wet sawdust in my mouth, so the texture wasn’t appealing.

The thing about staying keto at Disney is that you have to implement some preparation and research.  I did not find any acceptable snacks on the menus of any of the restaurants beforehand when I was researching, so I knew that we were going to have to keep easily portable snacks.  Also, there isn’t much in the way of breakfast food (that isn’t ridiculously overpriced), so we knew we were going to keep a bunch of compliant stuff in the fridge at the resort.  Typically I don’t eat breakfast because of the intermittent fasting (though as of this week I’ve flipped my fast over, but that’s for a later post), but when we’re walking 10-15 miles a day in the parks, I eat more often.

For the fridge and pantry in the resort, we kept: pre-cooked bacon, black forest ham, cream cheese, french onion dip, string cheese, pork rinds, and pepperoni.  If you haven’t tried pork rinds with french onion dip, you’re missing out.  Try it now.  For portable park snacks, my only requirement was that they didn’t need to be kept chilled.  I didn’t want to carry a cooler pack in the park.  We carried macadamia nuts.  Lots and lots of macadamia nuts.  I also kept a few Atkins bars in the bag, and for Isak we had single bags of nut/dried fruit mix.

Now for the fun part…the meals!

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Neither of us could remember where the turkey legs were sold at Magic Kingdom, but after asking 900 cast members, we finally got the right location: the tavern in Adventureland, across from Pirates of the Caribbean.  This was our first stop as soon as we got to the park.  Usually we fly in and wait until the following day to go to the parks; however, we were able to snag an extra day, so JR and I went as soon as we got off the Magic Express and got Isak situated in the resort with Gammy and GrandDan.  We split one turkey leg between the two of us and dipped it in a few packets of mayo.  Everything tastes better at Disney, you know.

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Breakfast on official day one: steamed heavy cream with sugar-free vanilla syrup from Starbucks at Epcot.  This is Isak’s favorite drink.  He calls it “warm chocolate,” no matter what sugar-free flavor it is.  The vanilla though…it tastes like hot-off-the-stove vanilla custard filling.  It’s delicious.  That and a handful of cashews kept him going until lunch.

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This one was my favorite table-service meal of the trip (and yes, I left the handful of fried wonton skins on–they weren’t enough to kick me out of ketosis and Epcot is always where we walk the most).  This is the Beijing Roast Duck Salad from Nine Dragons in China, in the World Showcase at Epcot.  One alteration had to be made: the hoisin sauce dressing was out because, well, hoisin sauce.  Instead, they gave me a small pitcher of the potsticker sauce, which was to die for.  Seriously, my favorite meal of the week.

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In The Seas, at Epcot, there is a restaurant called Coral Reef.  Honestly, we go here for the experience because you’re basically eating inside a giant aquarium.  In my opinion, the food is decent, but it’s not the best food ever.  I got the grilled New York strip steak with double veg instead of veg and mashed potatoes.  We had them bring out extra butter because it wasn’t nearly fatty enough.  This is where the gluten-free rolls were.  Like I said, as far as gluten-free rolls go, those were pretty good, especially when slathered with butter.  If you’re looking for that option, definitely hit up Coral Reef.  JR got the heirloom tomato salad thing here.  I gave him half of my steak and we pretty much ate off of each other’s plates.

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You can’t really tell what this is from the picture, as is frequently the case when making keto alterations, but this is a bacon cheeseburger from Cosmic Ray’s in Magic Kingdom.  They have a topping bar there where we added the mushrooms, onions, and (not pictured) some garlic ranch dressing.  It was a pretty good burger.  JR and I split the burger and…

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…the Greek salad, from the same place.  It was a pretty rockin’ Greek salad, in case you were wondering.  The chicken looks huge, but really it’s just pounded out thin.  The feta wasn’t as good as the stuff we get from Ali Baba; however, it was a decent substitute (and let’s be honest, if you don’t have a refined palate for Middle Eastern food, you won’t notice the difference).  We also put the garlic ranch on this salad.  Yeah, I really liked it.

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This was an Italian sausage without the bun from whatever that sausage company is at Disney Springs (what used to be called Downtown Disney).  The sausage was our least favorite thing of the trip.  It was just “meh.”  Those pickles were awesome though.  Seriously awesome.

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This is actually one of the meals we had at the airport in Atlanta on the way back to San Antonio.  I forget what the place was called, but it’s similar to a Chipotle-type deal.  It was a steak burrito bowl.  Why do deconstructed foods always look like a pile of stomach contents?  Regardless, it was tasty.

I didn’t remember to take pictures of all the food we ate in the parks, so here are the other items we had that I can remember:

Chili Cheese Coney without the bun from that Casey’s hot dog place on Main Street in Magic Kingdom (a delicious addition to our curbside seating for the Festival of Fantasy parade!)

Caesar salad with salmon at the Prime Time Diner in Hollywood Studios.  This restaurant was so fun!  The staff is a hoot and the decor is hilarious.  The salad was great.

If you have any questions about going keto-friendly at Disney, feel free to ask me!  Before going, I spent an hour on the phone with one of their dietary people, who helped me navigate all of the menus in order to find compliant food that wasn’t all burger-without-a-bun situations.  But really, if you’re only going to try one thing from this list, get the salad from Nine Dragons.  You won’t be disappointed.

Kibbeh (Borderline Paleo)

Kibbeh 2

This is basically  the official food of Lebanon.  There are two main forms of kibbeh: the most popular is cooked flat in a pan and cut into diamonds to serve.  These football shapes are the other, but they are typically deep-fried.  I don’t have a fry-daddy or any type of deep-fryer, so I hate deep frying.  Because of that, I basically bake most things that are typically deep fried.

Anyway, the reason I say these are “borderline” paleo or primal is the burghul.  Burghul is dried cracked wheat, in case you didn’t know.  Typically that would be off limits; however, according to MARK SISSON, if you’re going to occasionally have grains, a less-processed, soaked or sprouted grain would be the best option.  So…do with that what you will.  The burghul is soaked for 30 minutes to an hour, so I consider this to be a decent option for when you just need some kibbeh!  And trust me, once you have good kibbeh, you’ll occasionally just crave it.

Finally, I will be TERRIBLE at explaining how to make these torpedo/football shaped kibbeh, so I’ll just let this video show you how! 

Kibbeh (Borderline Paleo/Primal)

Serves 6-10, depending on the size

2 pounds ground beef/lamb/or mixture of both–if you do all lamb, it’ll be pretty gamey

1 1/3 C burghul (also called bulgur)

1 1/2 tsp salt, divided

1 1/2 tsp pepper, divided

1 1/2-2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cumin (or 1 tsp 7-spice)

2 onions, finely diced

1/2 C pine nuts

olive oil

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1.- In medium bowl, soak burghul for 30-60 minutes in approximately 1/3-1/2 C cold water.  Fluff it with a fork like couscous to spread the water around.  You don’t want it floating, but just enough to expand the wheat groat.  If it needs draining at the end of the 30-60 minutes, press it on cheesecloth over a fine mesh sieve.  Place in medium bowl and mix with 1 pound of meat, 1 onion, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper.  You can either work this really well with your hands, or process it in a food processor.  You’re going for a dough that looks mostly like this (this actually could have been mixed better):

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Set aside.

2.- Preheat oven to 425.  In large skillet, saute 1 onion in olive oil.  Add pine nuts and toss a few seconds.  Add 1 pound of meat, all spice, salt, pepper, and cumin (or 7 spice).  Brown and remove from skillet.

3.- Form shell with burghul mixture, press a hole, add a spoonful of filling, close shell, and smooth with cold water on hands.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and brush both sides of kibbeh with olive oil.  Bake for 15-30 minutes, depending on size.  You want them to be a deep golden brown.

 

Beef with Broccoli (Paleo)

Beef and Broccoli

I grew up in Southwest Missouri where the only Asian food available is “Springfield-style.”  What does that mean?  Trashy.  Meat and vegetables either battered and deep-fried or covered in high fructose corn syrup-flavored MSG sauce.  It was TASTY!  Okay, so it probably tasted better at 3 in the morning when drunk, but whatever.  Just consider it the Taco Bell version of Asian food.  Let me just say this: if I could find a good primal version of cream cheese puffs (for those of you playing the home game, those are crab rangoon sans the crab), I would literally be in heaven.  Yes, LITERALLY.  There are certain foods that are excellent vehicles for cream cheese: ham, bagels, deep-fried wontons.

Anyway, all of this boils down to just one thing: sometimes I want some trashy (tasting) Asian food.  So I made some in a paleo version.  I know, I know, this is right at the line of SWYPO…but I’m not making it every day or anything, or even once a week.  But now I have a recipe (that actually tastes good) for when I have that craving!

Beef with Broccoli (paleo)

Serves 3-4

1.5-2 pounds flank steak, sliced thin and cut into 2″ pieces

1 C beef BONE BROTH

2/3 C coconut aminos

1/3 C honey

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic

1/4 C tapioca starch + 2 Tbsp water

4 C broccoli florets

 

1.- Grease inside of slow cooker.  Add steak, broth, aminos, honey, sesame oil, and garlic.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

2.- In small bowl, whisk tapioca starch and water until combined.  Add to slow cooker and stir.  Cover and cook an additional 25-30 minutes.

3.- Put broccoli in a large tupperware container and add about 1/2″ water.  Place lid, askew, on top of container and microwave for 4 minutes.  Drain and stir broccoli into slow cooker with the beef.  Mix and heat through a bit.  Serve immediately.

Beet-Braised Beef Ribs (Paleo) and Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Potato Mash (Primal)

Beet-Braised Beef

I enjoy making any recipe that is versatile with the type and/or cut of meat used.  I don’t always have one specific cut of meat, so if I can use another cut, that’s great.  With this recipe, you can use any type of beef ribs you want: short ribs, regular ribs, spare ribs, whatever.  I would guess that you could also use stew meat if you wanted (because of the way it’s cooked), but I’ve never tried it that way, so don’t take my word for it.  These are really good served over a mash.  I combined a couple potatoes, parsnips, and cauliflower.  You don’t have to include the potatoes; however, I find that when you include one or two potatoes, the texture (and stability) of the mash is superior.

A note about the red wine: this is an ingredient of contention in the strictly paleo community.  Some people say “well, the alcohol is cooked out” (and after 6-8 hours in the slow cooker, it definitely is).  Other people say “the alcohol doesn’t matter–it just turns into a more concentrated fruit sugar.”  Ultimately, it’s your choice as to whether you feel comfortable using the wine.  If it were a small amount, I would say that if you don’t want to use it, just omit it and add a little red wine vinegar.  This is a large amount though–so if you don’t want to use it, I would suggest using the same amount (or slightly more) of a really strong beef broth.  What do I mean by a “strong” beef broth?  You want a beef BONE BROTH that you’ve cooked for at least two days.  Use the best bones you can and cook all the good stuff outta those suckers until the bones are so soft that you could engrave them with your fingernails.  Additionally, if you use broth instead of wine, this becomes Whole30 compliant.

That being said, if you use the broth, the beets will have more of an earthy flavor than if you use the wine.  For some people this isn’t a problem.  I’m not one of those people.  I don’t enjoy the taste of beets all that often; however, when they’re cooked in wine, all that dirt flavor goes away, HA!

Beet-Braised Beef Ribs and Potato, Parsnip, and Cauliflower Mash

Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp olive oil

4-5 pounds beef ribs

salt and pepper

3 red beets, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

1 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

6 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

3 C dry red wine

20-oz (or close) can diced tomatoes

 

1.- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season ribs with salt and pepper on each side.  Cook until browned on each side (about 10 minutes, give or take).  Remove to slow cooker.

2.- Reduce pan heat to medium and add beets, onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Stir in wine (or broth) and deglaze the pan.  Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for a couple minutes and pour over ribs in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or on high for 3-4 hours).

 

Potato, Parsnip, and Cauliflower Mash

Serves 4-6

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets

6 Tbsp cold butter, divided

1 C half & half

salt and pepper

 

1.- In large pot, cover potatoes, parsnips, and cauliflower with water by 1/2″.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until vegetables are fork tender (about 20-30 minutes).

2.- Drain and transfer to food processor or large blender.  Add butter and pulse until pureed.  Slowly pour half & half in and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Braised Beef (Whole30 Compliant)

Slow-Braised Beef

When I was talking to a friend the other day, she asked about how to make a basic braised beef dish.  I went to point her to a recipe on here and realized that I don’t have a recipe on here for that!  That somewhat shocked me, as I make braised beef (or pot roast, when I add a ton more vegetables) pretty frequently.  How could I have missed putting it up on here?  I’ll tell you how:

I’ve never written down the recipe.

Well, until now.  When I usually make it, I just dump whatever into the slow cooker, set it on low, and go about my day.  I rarely make it the same way twice (probably because I’ve never written down what I usually put in it), so the taste changes slightly each time.  Sometimes I use wine, sometimes I use coconut milk, sometimes I just chop up every vegetable in the fridge and dump it in.  That means one thing: it’s pretty versatile.  You can literally add whatever you want (within reason) to this dish.  Whatever goes with it, that is.  Don’t add Twinkies or Hershey’s syrup…just don’t.  If you do, I’ll be forced to nominate you for that show on Food Network, “Worst Cooks in America.”  You know, the one that had the lady who put vanilla in everything.  Yes, that includes fried chicken.

Color me gagging.

Braised Beef (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4-6

2 pounds beef stew meat

1/2 C tapioca or arrowroot starch

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

6-8 C beef BONE BROTH (or beef broth, but you’re totally missing out if you haven’t jumped the bone broth train)

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

 

1.- Mix Arrowroot (or tapioca) starch with salt and pepper in a large resealable bag.  Add stew meat and shake to coat.

2.- Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, add beef in small batches and brown for a few minutes.  Do not overcrowd the pan–you want to brown the meat, not steam it.

3.- Once browned, add meat to slow cooker.  Turn pan heat down to medium and add onions.  Saute for just a couple minutes and then add to slow cooker.

4.- Over meat and onions, add bone broth (enough to basically cover the meat) and bay leaf.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours (I prefer cooking this on low–the meat comes out more tender).

* At this meal, the meat (with a little broth) was served over a mash that was a mixture of cooked potato, parsnip, cauliflower, and garlic–of course mixed with some delicious Kerrygold butter!

Korean Beef (Paleo)

Korean Beef

 

I love Korean flavors…but most importantly, I love the flavors of the sweet Korean barbecue.  I’ve been working on replicating that flavor without using processed sugars and soy products.  I think I’ve finally figured it out.  At least, JR and Isak both seemed to indicate that.  I was afraid that this might be a little spicy for Isak, him being 3 and all; however, he had two helpings and continued to ask for more.  This is the picture of a happy toddler with his Korean beef dinner:

Korean Beef Isak

 

The level of heat depends entirely on how much crushed red pepper you add.  I used a whole teaspoon and it was pretty spicy (not on fire or anything, but it had a good kick to it that required some sort of liquid to diffuse it).  If you don’t want it to be that hot, you can leave it out (or add up to 1/2 tsp).  If you don’t mind a little heat, you want more than 1/2 tsp.  That’s about it for the rules!  You can make this as filling for lettuce wraps (usually that’s what I would do, but I didn’t have any more lettuce around).  I served it over top of shredded cabbage and shredded carrots.

 

Korean Beef (Paleo)

Serves 3-4

1 pound ground beef

1/2 C + 2 Tbsp coconut sugar

1/4 C + 1 Tbsp coconut aminos

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 tsp ground ginger

crushed red pepper (0 tsp for sweet, 1 tsp+ for hot)

salt and pepper

3/4 – 1 C chopped green onions

 

1.- Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium heat and brown beef and garlic.  Drain any super excess fat (a couple Tbsp is fine, but you don’t want 1/2 C floating around in there or anything).

2.- Add coconut sugar, coconut aminos, ginger, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Simmer for a few minutes, stirring to mix flavors.  Add in the green onions and mix to combine and heat through (30-60 seconds).  Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Philly Cheese Steak Soup (Whole30 without Garnish)

Philly Chesesteak Soup

If there is one thing I love, it is a good Philly cheese steak.  Half of that love belongs to the crusty, fresh-baked roll that it goes on; however, the other half belongs to the giant pile of meat, vegetables, and ooey-gooey Provolone cheese.  This soup tastes exactly like the sandwich, only without the bread.  I’m willing to overlook that for the delectable pile of meat in a super rich broth.

I thought I would make this last week to introduce Isak to the wonder that is cheese steak (of course he’s going through one of his picky phases).  He ended up eating one piece of meat, some broth, and a few vegetables.  The next day, he ate an entire bowl from the leftovers and decided it was ” ‘licious.”  He just turned 3 yesterday, so I can only imagine that the worst of the strong food “opinions” are coming up this year, but whatever.  Take a look at his PICTURES here–he’s had a great week!  His food choices are definitely going to keep me on my toes in coming up with toddler-friendly primal recipes.

*  DISCLAIMER: We do not have Isak on a strict primal diet (not that we are 100% strict, but we try to be 80-90% compliant).  Breakfast and lunch for him are non-primal meals.  I usually make him buckwheat pancakes (I make him a billion silver-dollar sized pancakes once a month and freeze them) or waffles, yogurt, fruit, cheese, meat, and crackers.  He really enjoys the sesame flax-seed crackers, so we get those.  Dinner, however, is primal because I’m not making separate meals.  He can have some crackers or something if he wants with dinner, but I’m not a short-order cook, HA!

Philly Cheese Steak Soup

Serves 4-6

2 pounds chuck shoulder roast (I ended up getting an almost 3-pound roast for $7, so this is definitely affordable)

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 onion, sliced

2 green peppers, seeded and sliced

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thick

32 ounces beef BONE BROTH

Provolone cheese (not Whole30 compliant)

 

1.- Rub beef roast with pepper and garlic powder.  Place in slow cooker.

2.- Add onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and bone broth.  Stir to mix.

3.- Cook on low, 5-7 hours.  Serve immediately, topped with Provolone (if desired).

Slow Cooker Swiss Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Swiss Steak

I love Swiss steak; however, I haven’t tried making it since we started on our Whole30 turned Paleo turned Primal adventure.  There is a *little* something missing in this recipe.  Typically, Swiss Steak is made with dry sherry.  I was determined to make this Whole30 compliant, so I left that part out.  Honestly, unless you eat this all the time, you won’t notice the sherry missing.  If you include alcohol in your cooking, reduce the chicken stock by 1/4 C and add in 1/4 C of dry sherry or some sort of dry wine.  Just know that it’s not necessary.

I served it with some chopped Honey Crisp apples.  At this point, we still had a few left.  Man…those suckers are addictive!  If we have them around the house, I WILL eat them.  I guess there are worse things that I could be doing…like crack or Little Debbie snacks…but still.  It’s not totally a food-with-no-brakes for me, but it’s pretty darn close.  Anyway, the apples were really lovely with the steak.

Also, I wanted to use an affordable cut of beef for this.  Because it’s in the slow cooker, it’s a bit easier to get away with the less expensive cuts because it basically braises all day.  That is one of the many benefits of using the slow cooker: you get expensive tasting meat for cheap prices.  When you’re willing to wait for the braise, it tastes like the good stuff every time.

Slow Cooker Swiss Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4-6

6 beef shoulder steaks (this will work with just about any cheap steak cut–the shoulder steaks are what I had on hand)

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 C chicken stock (if you use alcohol, use 3/4 C chicken stock and 1/4 C dry sherry or wine)

2 Tbsp tapioca starch

4 Tbsp coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley

1/2 C coconut milk

 

1.- Heat heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil.  Add mushrooms and cook covered for 5 minutes.  Uncover and cook until browning and liquid has reduced a bit.  Place in slow cooker.

2.- Return pan to heat.  Season steaks with salt and pepper.  Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil to pan.  When hot, place steaks in pan and brown steaks on all sides.  Remove to plate and set aside.

3.- Add 2 Tbsp coconut oil to pan.  Add sliced onions, thyme, and paprika.  Stir and cook 1 minute.  Add tapioca and stir well, cooking 1 minute.  Whisk in chicken stock (and sherry, if using).  Add pan contents to slow cooker.

4.- Layer steaks on top of mushrooms and onions.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove steaks to plate and cover with foil.  Add cream and parsley to broth, heat 10 minutes, ladle over steaks, and serve immediately.

Salisbury Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Salisbury Steak

One of my favorite things to eat as a child was salisbury steak.  Of course the only time I ate it was either at school for lunch or in a TV dinner.  Sometime during college, I learned how to make it, but surprisingly I never made it that often.  I heard it mentioned last week and decided that I would make a Paleo version of the recipe.  It is seriously good.  Like…I made this last Wednesday night for dinner and then made it again on Friday for lunch when one of my friends came over.

The portobello mushrooms in the gravy really add another layer of depth.  Regular button mushrooms are fine; however, baby bellas will make all the difference.  If you don’t use coconut milk (or don’t want to open a can just for a tablespoon), you can also use heavy cream, or just leave that part out.  The milk/cream cuts the spicy bite of the pepper, so if you leave out the cream, cut back a bit on the pepper.  Additionally, I use cashew meal in this because I had a bag open but my almond meal wasn’t open yet.  You can use whatever nut meal you want to use–the texture and taste shouldn’t be affected by using almond, pecan, pistachio, or whatever nut meal.

Finally: this recipe calls for 73-80% lean ground beef.  Do not try to go leaner than this.  Don’t get some 85-95% lean beef…because then you will get all mad when they turn out like hockey pucks and you’ll leave me comments that say, “Lauren, you said these were good, but they’re nasty!”  If you get anything leaner, these will turn out like dry, ground beef and onion flavored dog treats.  But don’t give them to your dog…the onion could kill them.

Salisbury Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 3-4

1 pound ground beef (73-80% lean)

1/3 C finely diced onion

1 egg

1/2 C cashew meal

1 tsp black pepper (divided)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 pound sliced baby bella mushrooms

2 C beef broth

1 Tbsp coconut milk (or heavy cream–heavy cream is not Whole30 compliant)

2 tsp arrowroot starch

 

1.- Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, egg, cashew meal, salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, ground mustard, and onion powder.

2.- Form meat into 3-4 patties.  Line baking sheet with foil and spray or grease very lightly.  Put beef patties on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

3.- In a saucepan on medium high heat, add broth, mushrooms, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Leave the lid on for 5-6 minutes, but then remove the lid for the remainder of the simmering.  Add 1 Tbsp coconut milk and allow broth to return to a simmer.  Remove about 1/2 C of hot liquid to a small bowl.  Whisk in arrowroot starch until broken up and well-combined.  Return that liquid to the sauce pan and mix well, stirring until it thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.- Broil steaks for 2-3 minutes.  Serve topped with gravy.