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.

 

Cashew Chicken with Broccoli (Paleo)

Cashew Chicken with Broccoli

As I’ve just come off of hiatus, I’ve been looking over my blog.  It seems from my archives that the only other time I’ve taken a break was was June.  Apparently June is my blog-vacation month!  The night that I made this, I felt like cashew chicken…but I also felt like beef with broccoli.  Basically, I felt like having some sort of Asian-style food.  I decided to combine the two and make cashew chicken served with broccoli.  It turned out really well!  Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), the broccoli paired wonderfully with the chicken.  We don’t eat rice very often, and that is what’s usually served with pretty much every Asian meal.  We’ve tried “cauli-rice” a few times, and it just doesn’t do it for me.  I use cauliflower for just about everything…but rice is not one of those things.

So load it up with veggies and voila!  Problem solved!

Cashew Chicken with Broccoli (Paleo)

Serves 4-5

1/4 C arrowroot starch

1/2 tsp pepper

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed

1 Tbsp coconut oil

3 Tbsp coconut aminos

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp palm sugar

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

1/2 C cashews

4 C broccoli florets

sliced scallions to garnish

 

1.-  Mix starch and pepper in a plastic resealable bag with chicken.  Seal and toss to coat.

2.-  Melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken in 2-3 batches and cook each for 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan to slow cooker.

3.- In small bowl, mix aminos, vinegar, paste, sugar, garlic, and ginger.  Pour over chicken and stir to coat.  Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours.

4.-  20 minutes before done, put broccoli florets in a microwave-safe container with 2-3 Tbsp water.  Loosely cover and microwave for 5-8 minutes (until mostly steamed but not too soft).  Drain and add to slow cooker with chicken.  Allow to cook for 10-20 minutes so flavors can mix.

5.-  Stir in cashews and top with sliced scallions to serve.

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.

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.

Maple Mustard Chicken (Paleo)

Maple Mustard Chicken

Remember the salad dressing that I used for THIS SALAD?  It is a doctored up version of the sauce I made for this chicken.  I just added a little vinegar and oil to it to thin it out a bit.  It’s seriously tasty, and I could use it as a dressing for every salad I eat from here on out.  Well, maybe not every salad.  I mean, it would taste funny on something like a Mexican or Italian salad.

This is a super easy recipe; however, it’s not something that can go all day in the slow cooker (though if you switch the chicken breasts to a pile of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, you can stretch out the cooking time quite a bit).  But if you are using the boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I used this time, you don’t want to go more than four hours, max (and really, check them at three hours).  If you do, they will turn into shoe leather.  But it really can’t get easier: spray pot, chicken in, whisk liquid, pour liquid, cook chicken.  Done and done.

Maple Mustard Chicken (Paleo)

Serves 4-6

2 pounds chicken breasts

1/2 C maple syrup

1/3 C ground spicy mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

 

1.- Spray inside of slow cooker.  Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker in 1-2 layers.

2.- Whisk maple syrup, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl.  Pour over chicken in slow cooker.  Cook on low 3-4 hours.  Serve immediately.

* If you want to brown the chicken a bit before serving, put under the broiler for 5-8 minutes

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.

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.

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.

Honey Lemon Garlic Chicken (Paleo)

Honey Lemon Garlic Chicken

I was looking for something to make for dinner last night.  I had a pile of chicken parts (read: thighs and drumsticks), a couple leftover lemons, some potatoes, and some pantry staples (read: honey, garlic, seasonings, etc).  So I decided to put all of it together and make some sort of a one-dish meal.  Or, at least cook everything in the same dish, even if it’s served separately.  That’s still one-dish, right?  HA!

Honey + lemon + garlic goes well on just about every meat, as far as I can tell.  It’s a magical combination, really.  This recipe is versatile in that you can use whatever chicken pieces you have around.  I’m giving the time needed for thighs and drumsticks that are bone-in and skin-on.  If you are using larger parts (like breasts) or boneless/skinless parts, you may need to adjust the cook time.  You just need an internal temperature of 165-185, depending on which part you’re using.

Honey Lemon Garlic Chicken

Serves 4-6

3 pounds chicken parts

2 lemons

2 Tbsp Kerrygold butter, melted

3 Tbsp honey

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 – 1/2 tsp rosemary

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

5 potatoes, cut in chunks

 

1.- Preheat oven to 375.  Grate peel and squeeze juice of 1 lemon (alternatively, you can freeze one lemon and grate the entire thing–it adds a FANTASTIC flavor).  Slice the second lemon into thin slices.

2.- Combine lemon peel and juice (or the entire grated lemon), melted butter, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Mix well.

3.- Layer the bottom of a roasting pan with potatoes.  Place chicken on top of the potatoes, skin-side up.  Sprinkle chicken with a little salt and pepper.  Pour butter mixture over chicken and potatoes.  Top with lemon slices and bake 60-70 minutes.

 

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.