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.

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.

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.

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!

Smoky Shrimp (Whole30 Compliant)

Smoky Shrimp

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

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

Smoky Shrimp

3 Tbsp coconut oil

1 large shallot, diced fine

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 C white wine

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

2/3 C Worcestershire

1/2 C bone broth

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp Kerrygold butter

1/2 C scallions, sliced thin

 

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

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

Cod Chowder (Whole30 Compliant)

Cod Chowder

I love cod.  I love chowder.  I think this is a marriage made in heaven.  From start to finish, it took about 30-40 minutes (that includes chopping).  That is just an added bonus, of course, because the taste and texture of this chowder is heavenly!  Even though it wasn’t overly cold here today (it was in the 70s or 80s), I decided to make this anyway.  Why?  Because for the last week, I’ve been getting over a sickness that lies somewhere in the abyss between bronchitis and pneumonia.  Yeah, not fun.  Soup is just what the doctor ordered!

If you don’t like dill, you might want to pick another main seasoning…this is pretty dill-tastic.  It could work with a plethora of other spices, but to me, dill just goes with fish.  It’s like having macaroni without cheese…just…why would you?  If this wasn’t a Whole30 meal, this would be AMAZING with a giant, hot, crusty hunk of French bread.  I’m just sayin.

Cod Chowder (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4

2 Tbsp bacon fat

1 medium onion, chopped (about a cup)

1/2 C chopped celery

3 potatoes, cleaned and diced

2 Tbsp tapioca starch

2 C water

1 C chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried dill

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp pepper

1 pound cod, boned and cut in 1″ pieces

2 C canned coconut milk

 

1.- Heat bacon fat over medium heat in large Dutch oven.  When hot, add onion and celery.  Cook until onion is soft (3-4 minutes).  Add potatoes and cook for a minute or two.

2.- Add tapioca starch over potatoes and stir while cooking for a minute.  Add water, broth, salt, bay leaf, dill, thyme, and pepper.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce to low, cover, and simmer 20-25 minutes.

3.- Add cod, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and discard.  Add coconut milk, stir, and heat through.  Serve plain or garnished with crispy bacon or chopped green onions.

Pork and Cabbage Soup (Whole30 Compliant)

Pork and Cabbage Soup

I’m not a huge cabbage fan.  I don’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite.  There is a naturally occurring chemical in cabbage that a small percentage of people can still taste (this is a trait that has almost evolved out of humans), and if it’s not cooked within an inch of its life, cabbage is–quite frankly–disgusting to me.  It tastes like a mouthful of dirty pennies and sulfur.  Same thing with Brussels sprouts.  To make cabbage edible to me, it usually has to be boiled for HOURS.  Not so, in this recipe!  I cut it up fairly small, so I’m guessing that the small size helped it cook a lot more quickly.  I’ll go with that as my official hypothesis anyway.

Isak Pork 2

I think it’s also safe to say that it was a success with the toddler as well.  Pay no attention to the bookshelf in the background–it is in a constant state of disarray from me moving books back and forth and from Isak piling toys on the bottom shelf.  Anyway, this is a super delicious soup that you definitely need to try.  As my final note, I’ll leave you with this:

As tested by Isak, this soup does not make an effective conditioning mask for the hair or skin treatment.  The only thing it accomplishes in a topical sense is making things a bit greasy, making everything smell like soup, and ensuring the need for a bath.  #imjustsaying

Pork and Cabbage Soup

Serves 6

1 pound pork loin, cut in 1″ pieces

1 onion, chopped

6 slices bacon, diced

4 C beef broth

28-oz canned whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 tsp salt

2 bay leaves, torn in half

1/2 tsp oregano

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

3 C chopped cabbage

2 tsp parsley

 

1.- Heat Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add pork, bacon, and onion.  Cook and stir until pork is no longer pink.

2.- Add broth, tomatoes, carrots, salt, bay leaves, oregano, and pepper.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes (there is some wiggle room here).  Remove bay leaves and throw away.

3.- Add cabbage and bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce to medium low and simmer 15-20 minutes, covered.  Stir in parsley.

Baked Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Primal)

Chicken with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

This is a recipe that was destined to turn out yummy.  Well, either delicious or a total bomb.  Why?  Because while cooking this dish, I was talking on the phone with my best friend, Lena, as I often do.  During the cooking process, while talking, I dropped my phone into the cream sauce, as I was cooking it on the stove.  Most of you know how hot a cast iron skillet gets…yeah…so iPhone + hot cast iron skillet = doesn’t work out so well.  To be fair, everything on the phone worked after I dropped the phone into the sauce…except for one thing: when I was holding the phone to my ear to talk, no one could hear me.  The audio on my videos worked, FaceTime worked, Voxer worked, even speaker phone worked…but the microphone did not work when I talked on the phone in basically the only way that I ever use the phone.

So I upgraded to an iPhone 6+ (they are worth every penny, for those of you keeping score).  Fortunately, the camera on my phone also worked, so I was able to take a picture of the meal!  And for those of you playing the home game, my pictures may be getting better now (after I catch up on my backlog of a few recipes).  From what I can tell on my phone screen, the camera on the 6+ is waaaaaaaaay better than the 5C.  Yay for new techie toys!

Baked Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Primal)

Serves 2-4

4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

salt and pepper

1/8-1/4 tsp onion powder

2 Tbsp Kerrygold, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 C chicken broth

1/2 C coconut milk

1/2 C julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained

1/2 C grated Parmesan

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

 

1.- Preheat oven to 400.  In small bowl, mix salt, pepper, and onion powder (about 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper).  Season chicken thighs on each side.

2.- In large oven-proof skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat.  Add chicken, skin-side down.  Cook until golden brown on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side).  Remove chicken to plate and add remaining butter to skillet.

3.- When butter is melted, add garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking until fragrant (about 10-15 seconds–don’t burn the garlic).  Add broth, coconut milk, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, thyme, basil, and oregano.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 4-6 minutes (sauce will slightly thicken).  Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over top a few times.

4.- Place entire skillet into oven and cook 25-35 minutes (until internal chicken temp is 175).  Serve immediately, garnished with grated Parmesan if desired.

 

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).