Salmon with Lemon Coconut Cream (Keto, Whole30, Paleo)

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You know how sometimes you have a bunch of random items in the pantry and you’re wondering what you can do with them for dinner?  That’s how this came about.  I am a big fan of cream sauces.  BIG.  But when I first made this, we were doing a Whole30, so cream was out.  Next best substitute?  Coconut milk!  And I’m not talking light, low-fat, or coconut milk from a carton.  I’m talking full-fat, thick, many times solid coconut milk in a can.

We love salmon at our house.  It’s one of the four or five types of fish that Isak will eat.  He’s 5, so he’s picky about what fishes are “acceptable” and what fishes aren’t.  Yes, the correct word in this instance is “fishes,” just in case you were wondering.  Fun fact: if you are talking about the plural of one type of fish, the plural is “fish.”  If you are talking about more than one type of fish (e.g. catfish, salmon, and swordfish), the plural is “fishes.”  There’s your random fact for the day.  I’m convinced that kids either like or dislike fish based on two factors: taste and texture.  If it tastes too “fishy,” most of them don’t like it.  If it doesn’t feel “meaty” in the mouth, most of them don’t like it.  Salmon is a win-win in this case.  It’s not overly fishy and it feels more like chicken than fish in the mouth.  Score!

As a general note: this sauce can be made with pretty much any protein, so it doesn’t have to be limited to salmon.  You really can make it with anything–you’ll just have to alter the length of cook on it.  Pretty soon you’ll see this recipe on my awesome trainer, Jean Carlos’s site in a video series called Foodie Fridays.  Last week’s video can be seen HERE!  If you want to see my testimonial that I did for TBT, look HERE! Seriously, if you’re near San Antonio, you need to come in and work out with us.  Jean Carlos is a ROCK STAR!

Salmon with Lemon Coconut Cream

1 pound salmon fillet

1/2 C canned, full-fat coconut milk

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thick

1/2 C diced shallots (or yellow onion)

3 cloves garlic, minced

juice of 1 lemon

zest of 2 lemons

salt and pepper

coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon and place in a greased baking dish.
  2. In a medium saute pan over a medium-low/medium heat, heat 1-2 tsp coconut oil.  When oil is hot, add in mushrooms, shallots/onions, and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms start browning and shallots are getting soft.
  3. Add in coconut cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Stir to integrate.  Brink to a slow boil and stir for a couple minutes, until everything is heated through and well-mixed.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pour sauce mixture over salmon in baking dish and bake, uncovered, for around 15 minutes.  In the video, I cooked just under 1.3 pounds of salmon and that took 21 minutes, so keep checking it if you’re cooking a larger piece.
  5. Plate it and chow down.

 

Chicken Curry Meatballs with Smokey Bacon Cream (Keto and Whole30)

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I’m pretty sure that these could be made with any meat, but today, I made them with chicken.  They had a fantastic flavor!  And the sauce?  All bets are off.  I’m going to make the sauce to put on pretty much everything.  I mean…bacon…coconut milk…where can you go wrong?

Full disclosure: these meatballs are pretty dense.  They’ll be small, but they pack a mad nutritional punch.  Per meatball, you’re looking at 11.2 grams of fat with half of it being saturated, 2.5 grams of carbs with just over half of that as fiber, 9 grams of protein, and the addition of chia seeds and ground flax meal.  That combined with the bacon fat and coconut milk…I ate three of them and was finished for the night.  They would also be good in a lettuce wrap, but tonight we ate them by their lonesome.

Buon appetito!

Chicken Curry Meatballs with Smokey Bacon Coconut Cream (Keto and Whole30)

20 servings

Nutrition per serving: 138 calories, 11.2 g fat (5.6 g saturated), 2.5 g carbs (1.3 g fiber, 1.2 g net carbs), 0.3 g sugar, 8.9 g protein

1# ground chicken

3 Tbsp coconut flour

2 Tbsp chia seeds

2 Tbsp ground flax meal

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 ground turmeric

4 tsp curry powder, divided

1 tsp red curry paste

Salt

1 C canned full-fat coconut milk

6 oz bacon, chopped

Coconut oil

1.-In large bowl, mix chicken, coconut flour, chia seeds, ground flax meal, egg and yolk, garlic, spices, and 2 tsp curry paste in a bowl.  Mix until well combined.  Form into 20 small meatballs and chill for at least 30 minutes.

2.-Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy.  Remove and set aside.  Remove all but 1 Tbsp bacon grease.  To the bacon grease, add 1 Tbsp coconut oil.  When hot, add meatballs and brown for 30-40 seconds on each side.  Add coconut milk and 2 tsp curry paste.  Mix the paste into the sauce and cover pan.  When the coconut milk comes to a simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low and let cook for 6-8 more minutes.  Remove lid and stir to coat the meatballs with sauce.

3.-Serve with chopped basil or cilantro.  You could also serve this over cauli-rice.

Lamb Kafta and Tzatziki (Keto and Primal–the Meatballs are Whole30 Compliant)

Lamb Kafta Meatballs

You all know how much I love Middle Eastern food.  There is no other set of flavors in the world that come close to competing.  The only thing about that is…Middle Eastern cuisine can be heavy on the bread.  I mean, many of the countries don’t even use utensils.  They just use pita.  And really, who wouldn’t rather use bread as a utensil?

I messed around with a few of my kafta recipes and found a good mixture of them that doesn’t use bread crumbs, nuts. or any other starch as filler, and they turned out perfectly!  They were so perfectly tender, juicy, and delicious!  The most important part is to use a food processor of some sort when making the meat mixture.  That way, everything was mixed (and further minced) really well.  The tzatziki lends itself well to the meatballs, as well as the lamb shawarma I made tonight (recipe to follow soon).  I might even eat it like yogurt–it has just under 1 g carbs per tablespoon (it’s about 0.7 g per tablespoon), but it’s not something you’ll eat huge quantities of.  Raw garlic can get spicy!

You can likely make these with any meat mince, but traditionally, they would be lamb.  Unless you REALLY don’t like lamb, try it out before you change up the meat.  It’s to die for!

Lamb Kafta

18 servings (1 meatball per serving)

Nutrition per serving: Calories (50), Fat (3.1 g), Saturated Fat (1.1 g), Cholesterol (15.7 mg), Sodium (15), Carbs (0.1 g), Protein (5.1 g)

1# ground lamb

1 Tbsp chopped mint

1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

2 Tbsp fresh thyme

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1.- Heat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Finely chop mint, cilantro, and time.

2.- In the bowl of a food processor, break up the ground lamb into a few chunks.  Add spices, chopped herbs, and garlic.  Pulse for a minute or two until the meat is well-mixed and becoming smooth.

3.- Roll into 15-20 meatballs (I made 18, so the nutrition is based on 18 meatballs) and place on baking sheet.  Cook in oven for 18-20 minutes.  Serve with tzatziki.

Tzatziki

Makes about 3 C.  Serving size is 1 Tbsp.

Nutrition: Calories (20), Fat (1.6 g), Saturated Fat (0.5 g), Cholesterol (1.6 mg), Sodium (3.4 mg), Total Carbs (0.7 g), Sugar (0.5 g), Protein (0.9 g)

16 oz full-fat Greek yogurt (2 C)

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced (set back 1/2 cucumber’s worth of fine dice in a bowl and save)

1 tsp basil

1 tsp tarragon

2 tsp chopped mint

2 tsp chopped dill

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

1.- Put everything except the reserved cucumber mince in a food processor or blender.  Pulse until mixed well.

2.- Pour into bowl, stir in reserved cucumber, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  I added about a tsp of Lebanese seven-spice as well, but that’s just a personal preference.

3.- Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.  This goes well with pretty much every meat on the planet.

 

 

BLT and then Some (Primal and Keto)

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On Saturday, it will be eight months since I quit smoking.  In those eight months, my food choices went to hell and I gained almost 30 pounds.  The obvious fix to that is to hit another few months of strict primal, right?  Well this time, I’m also integrating a close-to-keto component.  Technically, keto is considered, what, under 20 grams of net carbs per day?  My carbs have been in the 20-35 range most days…so I’m close, but not in it to the letter.  Anyway, it’s hard, but I’ve lost almost 20 pounds in not-quite three weeks.

I felt like a BLT today.  I’m not big on sandwiches, but I love BLTs and club sandwiches.  Obviously bread is out (even most of the paleo versions of “bread”), so I chose to put everything in a romaine heart boat.  Really, the possibilities are limitless, but today it was all about the BLT.  For reference: to make this Whole30 compliant, eliminate the cheese.

BLT and then Some (Primal and Keto)

Serves 2-3

1 romaine heart, washed and leaves separated

1 pound of bacon

2 roma tomatoes

1 avocado, sliced

Extra sharp white cheddar, cut in small chunks

 

1.- Cook the bacon to your liking.

2.- Layer everything in the lettuce.

3.- Stuff your face.

Beef Kafta, Tabbouleh, and Batata Harra (Whole30 Compliant)

Beef Kafta

I’ve been reconnecting with my Lebanese roots through cuisine recently…and I think I’m going to continue at least through the end of the year.  Many of the dishes are already close to (if not fully) W30, paleo, or primal.  Well, at least half of them are.  Thirty percent of them are just hovering on the border (as in, they are entirely primal other than beans or lentils, or something like that).  The remaining 20 percent of them include hot, delicious, steaming loaves of pita bread.  To. Die. For.  I will eventually be making some, but I won’t include it as a main item on these blogs.  I’m really kind of teetering on the beans though: I mean, the husband is allergic to pretty much all beans except for maybe three types…so they will never be a “staple” in our household.  I’m thinking the occasional  inclusion of them isn’t a game-changer, but we’ll see.  I’m planning on a bean salad this week, so if I blow up after eating it, I’ll know I can’t include those anymore!  😛

Anyway, I’m still looking for the perfect Lebanese cookbook to use on my cooking journey.  I have a few in mind, but I want to look at a few of them at the store before I commit to one.  Besides Lebanese cooking, I also recently got a Turkish cookbook and a Moroccan cookbook.  All three countries have almost identical food, so that’s somewhat interesting.  A word on Lebanese food (or Middle Eastern food in general): if you don’t like the flavors of parsley, lemon, seven-spices, and natural yogurt, there is a lot of Middle Eastern food that you either (a) won’t like, or (b) will need to develop a taste for.  Just dropping that here as a warning!

Beef Kafta (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4

1 pound ground beef

1/4 C chopped parsley

1/4 C chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 Tbsp Aleppo pepper

1/2 tsp Lebanese 7-spices (or allspice)

1 1/4 tsp dried mint

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 small onion, finely diced (liquid pressed out)

salt and pepper

 

1.- In a large bowl, mix beef, parsley, tomatoes, aleppo, 7-spices, mint, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, onions, salt, and pepper.  Use your hands to mix thoroughly.

2.- At this point you can either form them into small logs and grill them on small skewers, or form them into small meatballs and bake or pan-fry them.

 

Tabbouleh, minus Bulgur (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4-6

1 C chopped parsley

1/2 C chopped mint

1/2 C chopped onion

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/4 C fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

 

1.- This one is easy.  Put everything in a bowl and mix it well.

 

Batata Harra (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4-6

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in a 1/2″ dice

1 1/2 + 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp sea salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 tsp cumin

3/4 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne (less if you don’t like a little kick to your food)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 C chopped cilantro

 

1.- Preheat oven to 450.  Peel potatoes and cut into a 1/2″ dice.  Toss them in a large bowl with 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp sea salt.  Toss to coat evenly and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Roast 40-45 minutes.  For even roasting, flip potatoes after 20-25 minutes–but this isn’t absolutely necessary if you forget about it or don’t have time.

2.- During the last 10 minutes of roasting, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and minced garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper.  Stir together.

3.- In large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil and garlic mixture.  Coat potatoes evenly.  After coated, mix in cilantro and serve immediately.  Caution: these potatoes are like crack.  You might want to make enough to have leftovers for a few days.

 

Greek Salad (Primal–or Whole30 Compliant without the feta)

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I’ve been struggling to come up with some new stuff lately–partially because I’ve been super busy, and partially because I haven’t been as motivated to create.  I’ve been comfortable just repeating a bunch of recipes.  I mean, normally I have a few nights a week of existing recipes and a few nights a week of new stuff…I just haven’t felt like it.  Then, this weekend, I got a hankering (yes, hankering) for the food of my people: Mediterranean!  Well, it started specifically with Lebanese food and then branched out to Greek and other Middle Eastern.  This is a hard food to make primal-compliant…but I’m going to try the best I can.  That being said, there are certain things that I won’t change (e.g. I won’t eliminate the bulgur in tabbouleh…that’s just sacrilegious).

So if you have any favorite Mediterranean dishes that you’re looking for new ways to make, comment below and I’ll see what I can do!  Until then, my first recipe I tackled was a traditional Greek salad.  Sidebar: I don’t like olives, but this was traditionally be served with Kalamata olives.  But really, it hit. the. spot.  McYumYums!

 

Greek Salad (Primal–Whole30 Compliant without the Feta)

Dressing:

1/4 C chopped parsley

1/4 C chopped dill

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp oregano

salt and pepper

Salad:

6 C chopped or shredded Romaine lettuce

3 C diced tomatoes

1 C thin-sliced red onion

1 cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced

1 C (about 4 oz or so) crumbled feta

1.- Add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well-combined.

2.- Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl.  Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

 

This would be delicious with some grilled lamb or some chicken shish tawook!

 

Steelhead Trout with Citrus Coconut Cream (Whole30 Compliant)

Steelhead Trout with Citrus Coconut Cream

We have been crazy busy around here lately!  My husband and I both read the book THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP and we fell in love with the entire concept.  She tells you to go through the whole process in one or two days; however, with a 3 year old, that is nearly impossible.  We went through the entire purging process in one weekend, then spent the next couple weeks putting things back together.  We got rid of at least 40% of our stuff.  Soak that in: at least 40% of our stuff.  What would you do if you got rid of almost half of your things?  Most people I’ve spoken to have said, “oh that’s awesome!  But I could never do that.”  I promise, you can.  And it’s liberating.  You breathe easier, you move easier, and everything becomes more fun.  If you are considering doing something similar to this, just do it.  Take the plunge and don’t look back.

Now, on to the food!  I had never tried (or cooked, obviously) steelhead trout.  I wanted to get some salmon, but when I made this, the decent salmon (not even the good stuff) was around $30 per pound.  I pretty much don’t buy anything that’s $30 per pound…so that was out.  I was talking to the seafood guy and he suggested the steelhead trout.  In case you didn’t know this, it’s a fantastic substitution for salmon (and usually less than half the price–I got it for $10 per pound)!  It has a similar cook, texture, and flavor.  I’m planning on working with it a lot more in the near future!

Steelhead Trout with Citrus Coconut Cream (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 2-3

1 pound steelhead trout fillet

salt and pepper

1/3 C onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

zest and juice of 2 limes

2/3 C coconut milk

2 tsp basil

1 Tbsp Kerrygold

 

1.-  Preheat oven to 350.  Put fish in shallow baking dish and season both sides with salt and pepper.

2.-  Heat medium skillet over medium heat.  Add Kerrygold, garlic, and onion.  Saute 3-5 minutes.

3.-  Add lime zest, juice, and coconut milk.  Bring to boil.  Turn off heat and stir in basil.  Pour over fish fillets and bake 10-20 minutes.

Chicken Fajita Bowl (Primal with Dairy Toppings, Whole30 Compliant without)

Chicken Fajita Bowl

This is one of my favorite types of meals because there are an unlimited number of items you can add to it.  And bonus points: it all goes in the slow cooker!  That being said, it’s not really one that you can leave all day while at work, unless you choose a meat other than boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I don’t normally use those cuts of meat, but they’re easier for the shredding in this recipe, so I chose the easier route.

For toppings, you can add whatever really.  We generally eat a primal diet, so I shredded a little cheese and added a spoonful of sour cream.  Other toppings I’ve used with this are: green onions, red onions, avocados, chopped tomatoes, bacon, pico de gallo, cilantro, pineapple, etc.  Feel free to add whatever sounds good to you in the moment!

A word about the fajita seasoning: I make my own and store it in a baby food jar.  I throw together something along the lines of this:

3 Tbsp chili powder

2 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp cayenne

1 Tbsp cumin

Chicken Fajita Bowl (primal with dairy toppings, Whole30 compliant without)

Serves 3-4

1/4 C Kerrygold butter

3 green bell peppers, sliced

3 red bell peppers, sliced

2 large yellow onions, sliced

4 chicken breasts

3 Tbsp fajita seasoning

1/2 C salsa

 

1.- Turn slow cooker on low.  Add butter to the bottom of the bowl.

2.- Layer green peppers, onion, red peppers, and finally chicken on top.  Sprinkle seasoning over top and pour in salsa.

3.- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken, mix with vegetables, and serve with desired toppings.

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.

Wonky Chili (Whole30 without Dairy Toppings, Primal with Dairy Toppings)

Wonky Chili

I’ve been going through the refrigerator this week, using up what we have so that I can get a new crop of food in the upcoming weeks.  That means that basically toward the end of the week, we were down to the slim pickings when it came to the meat.  What did I have thawed today?  Chicken thighs (which I’m making tomorrow) and ground, hot Italian sausage.  I have about 300 cans of tomatoes in their various forms (as always), a handful of staples (salsa verde, onions, etc), and my newest fun thing: the ingredients of a couple TRY THE WORLD BOXES.  Have you heard of them?  It’s one of the box subscription services where you pay for a subscription and every two months you get a box of food from a specific country.  I’ve received two boxes so far: Marrakesh and Paris.  In the Marrakesh box, one of the items was a jar of kefta rub.  Traditionally, this is used in, well, kefta.  Kefta is the name for Moroccan meatballs (and they are delicious).  But I wanted chili tonight…so I added the kefta rub to the Italian sausage as I was cooking it.  DELICIOUS!

Kefta Rub

For the record, if you can’t get your hands on a jar of kefta spice blend, it contains a mixture of cumin, paprika, morita pepper, mint, coriander, cilantro, and cinnamon.  I’m not sure what ratio they’re in; however, from the smell of the spices, it seems heavy on the cumin and paprika…so mix it at will!

Wonky Chili (Whole 30 without the Dairy Toppings, Primal with the Dairy Toppings)

Serves 4-6

1 pound ground meat (I used hot Italian sausage)

2 Tbsp kefta rub

42 oz diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

16 oz salsa verde

4 oz diced green chile

 

1.- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground meat while crumbling.  When the meat starts to brown, add in the kefta spices and continue cooking until fully browned, stirring frequently.

2.- Add meat to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Top meat with onion, tomatoes, salsa verde, and green chile.  Stir, cover, and cook on low for 4-5 hours (or on high for 2-3 hours).  Top with your favorite chili toppings.