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.

Chicken Marsala (Paleo)

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is typically made with breaded chicken and cornstarch, making it off the paleo list.  I love the taste of it though, so I reworked it to be a paleo-friendly recipe.  If you avoid wine, there really isn’t a good way to make this without…so you probably won’t want to make this recipe.  If you’re okay with a bit of wine, then get the ingredients for this and make it soon!  A note about using arrowroot powder: you use it in a similar manner to cornstarch.  I usually make a slurry with it before adding it to hot liquids, but you don’t need quite as much water as you do with cornstarch.  I add close to equal amounts of arrowroot and cold water, whisk them together, and then add them to the liquid.  I usually choose arrowroot when cooking with hot liquids because tapioca can sometimes get a little slimy.  Just FYI, HA!

This dish would typically be served over rice or pasta, but obviously those options are out when it comes to paleo.  I served this over a potato/cauliflower/parsnip mash and it was delicious.  You could pretty much do whatever mixture of vegetables that you wanted to–those are just the three that I had some spare of on hand.  I’ve also done mixtures of sweet potato and cauliflower, turnip and potato, and parsnip, carrot, and cauliflower.  I love me some mash!

Chicken Marsala (Paleo)

Serves 3-4

1 pound chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness (or just get chicken breast cutlets)

salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 C Marsala wine

1/4 C chicken stock

1/4 C dry white wine

2 Tbsp coconut milk (or heavy cream for primal, if wanted)

2 Tbsp arrowroot starch

2 Tbsp cold water

 

1.- Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and fry each piece of chicken 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove to plate and tent with foil.

2.- Reduce heat to medium.  Add butter and mushrooms to the pan.  Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes, give or take.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add Marsala, wine, chicken stock, and coconut milk.

3.- Once warmed through, add arrowroot slurry to liquid.  Cook 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly.  Pour mushrooms and sauce over chicken to serve.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries (Primal)

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries

I tried to figure out some way to make this Whole30 compliant, or even paleo…but there really wasn’t any way.  It’s just too good with the sour cream, and the consistency wasn’t the same with coconut milk.  That being said, the coconut milk still tastes good in the recipe, so if you are okay with the sauce being thinner than a thick sour cream sauce, feel free to replace the sour cream with coconut milk.

This is seriously tasty.  We all know that I love me some good chicken thighs, but this recipe is especially nice.  I found a similar recipe in an issue of Food & Wine a few months ago; however, there were a lot of uncommon or way-too-expensive ingredients along with quite a few non-compliant ingredients.  So I changed it.  A lot.  The only thing in here that resembles the original recipe is chicken + sour cream + potatoes.  What am I getting at?  Try it.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

12 garlic cloves (8 whole and 4 crushed)

1 C sour cream

2/3 C dried shitake mushrooms

salt and pepper

2 pounds chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

2 medium potatoes, cleaned and sliced thin

1/2 C dried cranberries

 

1.- Heat 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil in medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the whole garlic cloves and cook until golden and fragrant (about 3-5 minutes).  Add 4 C water and bring to boil over high heat.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to 2C (about an hour).  Strain into a bowl.

2.- Soak shitake mushrooms in warm water for a few minutes (until softened) and then drain.  In another bowl, whisk 1 C garlic broth with the sour cream and season with salt and pepper.  Stir the mushrooms into the cream mixture.

3.- Preheat oven to 350.  In a large cast iron (or oven-proof) skillet, heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until golden all over (about 10 minutes).  Remove chicken to plate and pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat.  Arrange potato slices in skillet so they are slightly overlapping.  Set chicken on potatoes, skin-side down.  Scatter cranberries and crushed garlic around (and on) chicken.  Pour garlic cream sauce on top.  Roast 20 minutes, reduce heat to 300, and roast another 45 minutes.

4.- Turn chicken skin-side up and broil for 8-10 minutes before serving.

Frittata (Primal–Whole30 Compliant without Cheese)

Frittata

Raise your hand if you don’t know the difference between a quiche and a frittata.  It’s okay, until last year I didn’t know the difference either.  If you were to look at a typical quiche and a typical frittata, the obvious difference would be that a quiche has a crust.  Then enters the crustless quiche.  Well darn, that busts that obvious difference.  Let me break it down for you:

A quiche is a custard base with whatever add-ins you include: ham, cheese, vegetables, whatever.  That means, a lot of cream or half & half with a few eggs make up the base.  A frittata, on the other hand, is all about the eggs.  Some people add up to a half cup of cream, but it’s pretty much all eggs plus the add-ins.  So there ya have it!  Quiche vs. frittata really boils down to cream vs. eggs.  Simple enough, right?

The other difference is that more often than not, a frittata is started on the stove and finished in the oven, whereas a quiche is put into a pie plate and cooked completely in the oven.  That isn’t necessarily what differentiates them on a large scale, but that is a notable difference.  In this recipe, I’m listing what I put into our frittata, but know that you can put whatever you want into it (within reason…you can’t put chocolate cake and chicken wings into it).

Frittata

Serves 4-5

12 eggs

1/2 C diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 C sliced mushrooms

1 C shredded (or diced) potatoes

1/2 pound cubed ham

1/2 C shredded carrots

1/2 C coconut milk (full fat from a can) or heavy cream

1 C shredded gruyere (or another cheese)–eliminate if making Whole30 compliant

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp thyme

pinch nutmeg

1/2 tsp basil

1 Tbsp Kerrygold

 

1.- Preheat oven to 375. Melt Kerrygold in medium oven-proof skillet over medium heat (I use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for this).  Once hot, add onions and ham.  When onions start to get soft, add in garlic and mushrooms and mix until mushrooms start to soften.

2.- Add in potatoes and cook until potatoes start to brown (quick tip: you can use frozen hash browns for this part) and are getting tender.  Toss in the carrots for a minute or two.  Add in salt, pepper, and thyme to preference.

3.- In a large bowl, whisk 12 eggs.  Whisk in the cream.  Add cheese, some salt, pepper, and thyme.  Mix in nutmeg and basil.  Pour over everything in the skillet and allow to cook.

4.- Cook on the stove until the “crust” of the eggs forms and the eggs just begin to set.  Transfer pan to oven and bake 20-30 minutes.  You want the middle to just barely be set, but still a bit jiggly.  Remove, cut into slices, and 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.

Primal Chicken Divan (Whole30 Compliant with One Omission)

Primal Divan

My sister-in-law is generally the instigator of our family’s marathon group text messages.  These text threads start out in one place and end up in an entirely different location…generally with at least one person using shouty caps involving the message “TMI!”  Seriously, we have been known to go from weather to Cosmo in three messages flat.  Anyway, while we were in Florida last week at Disney World (that’s why I haven’t posted lately…picture to follow), some of our family members in Arkansas were deciding what they wanted for dinner, and my SIL was the person to suggest Chicken Divan.  I had totally forgotten how much I used to love it…but it has bread crumbs and like 40 cups of sour cream, mayo, and cheese.  Yes, we eat a primal diet…but the amount of sour cream and cheese in that recipe is our dairy allotment for about six months, HA!

I looked up the recipe for Chicken Divan and started coming up with replacements to jot down for a shopping list.  The only thing that is a bit difficult to replace is the bread crumbs, solely because of their function in the recipe: they hold everything together.  You can add whatever you think might work; however, I just kept it without anything used as a binder.  It basically turned out as a loose casserole.  If I were to add something next time, I would probably add some roughly chopped potatoes (or sweet potatoes if you don’t do white potatoes).  This recipe is pretty forgiving, so add in whatever leftover vegetables you have laying around!  Also, if you omit the cheese, it becomes Whole30 compliant.

Primal Chicken Divan

2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs or breasts

24-32 ounces chopped broccoli florets

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

1/2 to 1 pound mushrooms, sliced thick

3/4-1 C chopped asparagus

3/4-1 C full-fat coconut milk

1 C shredded cheese

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1-2 Tbsp sweet curry powder

3/4 C sliced almonds

 

1.- Preheat oven to 350.  Salt and pepper both sides of chicken.  Put chicken in stockpot and cover by about an inch with water.  Bring to boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes (until chicken is cooked through).  Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.

2.- Add broccoli and asparagus to the same chicken water.  Cook about 5 minutes and then drain (for those of you playing the home game, that liquid is broth, should you want to save it).  Dice chicken and add to large bowl.  Add in broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, coconut milk, spices, and cheese.  Mix well.

3.- Pour bowl contents into a 9×13 greased baking dish.  Spread a little extra cheese (if desired) on top and then top with sliced almonds.  Bake 30-40 minutes.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Primal Fajito

Fajito

Let’s get this out of the way: white potatoes are a taboo subject in the paleo family.  If you talk to 100 people who claim a paleo lifestyle, you will get 200 definitions as to what’s included in compliant foods.  We have relaxed our diet a bit to a primal definition so that we can include good cheese (neither of us have problems with dairy in cheese/butter/yogurt form–only in liquid-type milk form…so no milk and no ice cream).  That being said, Whole30 has recently added white potatoes to their list of compliant food.  Do we eat them at every meal?  No.  But we enjoy them in moderation…and sometimes you just need a yummy baked potato!

Like the other night…I had a few potatoes to use before they started growing a gnome village on them.  JR wanted me to make this Mexican beef stuff that I had made for the HOLIDAY PARTY last month.  So I made the beef, baked some potatoes, sauteed a mix of mushrooms, onions, and green peppers, added a dollop of plain yogurt, and made a fajita in a potato–VOILA!  Dinner!

Fajito (Primal)

Serves 3-4

2 pounds beef stew meat

1 C plain yogurt (plus a little more for a topping)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp oregano

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

1 potato per person

1 small onion, cut into wedges

1 green pepper, roughly chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thick

olive oil

1.- In medium bowl, mix yogurt, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, oregano, and lemon juice until well combined.  Pour into resealable plastic bag with beef, move around to coat, and marinate for 24-36 hours in the refrigerator.  Occasionally turn the bag over so that the yogurt doesn’t settle in one spot for the entire time.

2.- Preheat oven to 425.  Scrub potatoes, dry, pierce them a few times with a fork, and rub them with a thin layer of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and place directly on the oven rack.  Cook for 60-80 minutes, depending on how crispy you like the potato skin.

3.- In a large skillet, heat some fat over a medium heat.  When hot, add the onions and cook until they begin to soften.  Add mushrooms and green peppers and cook until they are heated through but still a bit crunchy.  Remove from pan and set aside (I actually made these at the same time as the beef so they finished cooking at the same time).

4.- In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp fat over medium high heat.  Add beef and cook until desired doneness is reached.  Ours were medium rare at about 3 (or so) minutes per wide-side.

5.- Cut each potato with a cross.  Open up and fill with a scoop of beef, a scoop of vegetables, and a dollop of plain yogurt.  If you feel the need, you can also garnish with green onions, avocado, chopped bacon, and/or salsa.

Citrus Roasted Quail (Paleo) and Cheesy Potato Treasure (Primal)

Citrus Roasted Quail

Don’t just the potato name–the potatoes were named by our 2 1/2 year old son.  We currently have to present everything in some form of pirate terms.  Everything is “treasure,” “gold doubloons,” “adventure,” “treasure hunt,” or something of the like…which is hilarious, because he’s really not that into pirates…he just likes using the terminology.  Anyway, his obsession with pirate language lead him to name this “cheesy potato treasure.”  Now you will know the story if you ever see a recipe posted on here called “Chicken Booty” or “Cauliflower Doubloons.”

I was able to get my hands on some quail a week or so ago, and until a couple days ago, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to cook it.  Quail can lean toward the gamy flavor, so I decided to combine two of my favorite things in hopes of reducing the gamy-ness of the bird: sweet citrus and bacon.  The citrus added a nice sweetness to the meat and the gamy flavor was almost non-existent from the bacon.  Definitely a winner!  As for the potatoes: they’re like crack.  If you want to do sweet potatoes instead, feel free.  I only had russets left….but seriously…CRACK.

 

Citrus Roasted Quail (Paleo) 

2 C pineapple juice

1 can frozen orange juice concentrate

1/2 C raw honey

6 quail

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

6 strips bacon

 

1.- In large container, mix together pineapple juice, orange juice concentrate, and honey.  Whisk until combined.  Add quail to the container and marinate for at least eight hours (I marinated it for a full 24-hours and it worked really well).

2.- Preheat oven to 425.  In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Remove the quail from the liquid, one at a time, and dust each one with the spice mix.  Wrap each quail with a slice of bacon.

3.- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and wipe the foil with a little shortening, coconut oil, or whatever grease you use.  Place all the quail on the baking sheet and roast in oven for 15-30 minutes (until the internal temperature reaches 165-170).

Cheesy Potato Treasure (Primal)

1.5 pounds potatoes, cleaned and cut into dice-sized cubes

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

8 oz mushrooms, quartered

2 Tbsp Kerrygold butter

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp dried chives

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 C + of shredded mild-flavored white cheese

 

1.- Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes, mushrooms, and onions to skillet.  Cook until potatoes are tender and onions are soft (10-20 minutes).

2.- Add in all herbs and spices, and toss to incorporate.  Spread shredded cheese over top of potato mixture and let heat for a minute or two.  Toss to mix the cheese throughout and serve immediately.