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


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.

Laban Kishk (Borderline Primal)

Laban Kishk

I am part Lebanese (actually, as I found out from Ancestry DNA this week, I’m 25% Middle Eastern–likely Lebanese and either Syrian or Iranian–and 2% Egyptian), so I grew up eating a lot of Middle Eastern food.  One of my favorite dishes that my grandma makes for breakfast when we’re visiting (other than fresh side, of course) is Laban kishk.  My mom thinks it’s gross and hates to be in the same house where it’s being cooked, HA!  So before we go any further, I will offer a disclaimer on my mom’s side of the fence:

Kishk seems to be an acquired taste…and not everyone acquires it.

Kishk is a mixture of yogurt that is dried with soaked and fermented bulgur wheat, which is dried into a brick and then ground into a powder by hand.  Now you can see why this is borderline primal: it contains bulgur.  That being said, the main problem with grains is how they are prepared.  Most of the antinutrients are broken down out of this because of the soaking and fermentation process, pre-yogurt.  In Lebanon, they frequently use goat-milk yogurt…so if you don’t like the way goat milk tastes, you will not like this dish.  It’s a somewhat earthy taste with a hint of citrusy undertones.

So how do you eat it?  It’s cooked into a porridge-type consistency and frequently eaten like cereal, gravy, or soup.  Traditionally, it’s eaten off of raw onion wedges.  It’s also eaten the way that my family eats it (this is definitely not any form of Paleo)…scooped up with Syrian bread.  OH.  MY.  GOD.  I could eat that bread forever.  So don’t let my mom scare you into not trying this–it’s really good for you!

Laban Kishk (Borderline Primal)

1 pound ground beef or lamb

1/2 C diced onion

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2/3-3/4 C KISHK (this is the place where my grandma orders it and mails it to us, but they will probably have it in your area if you have any Mediterranean or Middle Eastern grocery stores)

1-2 C water


1.- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the ground beef and cook, breaking up as you go.  When it’s almost browned, add onion and garlic.  Cook until onions start to soften.  Turn heat down to medium.

2.- Starting with 1/2 C of kishk, sprinkle the powder over the beef and stir until beef is mostly coated and a little “glue-like.”  Add the rest of the kishk, a little at a time, until beef starts to look like it’s kinda dry and like it’s been “dusted” with the kishk.

3.- Add the water, a little bit at a time, stirring constantly.  You may need more or less water–just add it until you get to the consistency that you want.  If you want a thicker porridge, add less water.  If you want it more soupy, add more.  The great thing about kishk is that if you leave it cooking too long and it starts to get too thick, you just add more water.

* You can eat this with a spoon, cut up onion chunks and scoop it out like chips and dip, or if you’re cheating and want a heavenly experience, try it with the SYRIAN BREAD, which on here is called “thin bread, white flat 13.”  Syrian bread taste similar to a pita, but it’s super thin (like a tortilla), and the top layers tend to flake off.

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.

Flank Steak (Technically Primal)

Flank Steak

If you guys don’t have a T-FAL OPTIGRILL yet, you are seriously missing out.  It’s similar to a George Foreman in that it’s an indoor press grill with a drain tray.  How is it different?  Push the power button, push the button that corresponds with the type of meat or food you’re cooking (so in this case: beef), then push start.  The grill will preheat and beep to let you know that it’s ready to use.  Open the grill, put in your meat, and close the grill.  You can clearly see from the color cycle where your meat is in the cook process…and it beeps at each doneness interval on the way up.  Perfectly cooked meat every time!  No, they’re not paying me to say this…but if they would like to pay me, I’ll talk about them all the time, HA!

I had some flank steak that I marinated in yogurt and spices…and…YUM.  I served it with small baked potatoes (with a little salt and Kerrygold), sliced Honey Crisp apples, and small slices of raw milk  yogurt cheese.  Oh. My. God. Apples + cheese = cooking WIN.

Primal Flank Steak

1-2 pounds flank steak

1 C plain yogurt

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp coriander

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper

1.- Salt and pepper flank steak.  In medium bowl, mix yogurt, lemon juice, and all spices.  Place flank steak in a resealable plastic bag and add yogurt.  Seal bag and massage yogurt into meat to coat.  Put in refrigerator for at least an hour, up to two days.

2.- Preheat grill (or skillet) to medium-high heat (side note: if you are using the Optigrill, your choice of meat determines your heat level for you…so your meat type is the only button you push for that process).  Grill meat until desired doneness is reached.  If you’re using the Optigrill, it takes about 90 seconds to reach medium rare…so I’m guessing in a regular skillet, it would take about 90 seconds to 2 minutes per side.

Primal 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.