More Amazing Pizza! (Keto and Primal)

Fran's Pizza

I didn’t think it could get better than the last pizza crust I posted, but it can, and it did.  One of my friends made some changes to an existing recipe, and of course I asked for the recipe while having lunch at her house.  Then I made a few more changes (because I can’t be trusted to make any recipe–including my own–the way it’s written) and now we have this!  This is the most bread-like grain-free crust I’ve ever tasted.  I would go out on a limb and say that once you press this out, you could use a biscuit cutter to make rounds of this and use it for sandwiches.  It’s that good.

It has 21 grams of fat per piece, and almost 7 grams of fiber per piece, to boot.  Delicious and nutritious!  Make some tonight!

Pizza (Keto and Primal)

9 “square” servings

Nutrition:  283 calories, 20.9 g fat, 10.5 g saturated fat, 11.6 g carbs (6.6 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar, 5 g net carbs), 17.8 g protein

2 C shredded mozzarella

3 T cream cheese

1 egg

1/4 C almond flour

1/2 C coconut flour

2 Tbsp ground flax seeds

2 Tbsp psyllium husks

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1.- Heat oven to 425.  In lg microwave-safe bowl, heat mozzarella and cream cheese for 60 seconds.  Stir and heat another 20-30 seconds.

2.- Stir in egg, almond flour, coconut flour, flax seeds, psyllium husk, chia seeds, and seasonings.  Mix well.  The easiest way to do this is to put on gloves and use your hands to knead it like bread dough.

3.- Oil your hands and press this out on a silpat-lined baking sheet.  Poke some small holes with a fork to prevent bubbling.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove and pop any bubbles that may have formed.  Top with some tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings (the nutrition for this pizza is based on cheese, pepperoni, and mushrooms).  Bake another 8-10 minutes.

Bacon-Wrapped Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Portobello Caps (Keto and Primal)

Bacon-Wrapped Creamy Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Portobellos

I love portobello mushrooms.  Like, when I was younger and used to hang out at the sheet music store pretty much every day (don’t judge–I’m a nerd), I would order a portobello burger from the restaurant next door pretty much every day.  They’re perfect.  They’re even more perfect when they’re stuffed with delicious creamy things.  But what would make it even better?  Wrapping it in bacon, duh.

These were something that I just sort of conceptualized this past weekend while I was sitting at the San Antonio Stars game with my son and a friend.  Magically, they were PERFECT on the first try.  Do you know how often that happens?  I can count on one hand the amount of times that has happened and not needed any tweaking.  Side bar: they are perfect as is; however, I really want to try these next time with pine nuts.

Bacon-Wrapped Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Portobello Caps

Makes 4 caps

Nutrition per cap: Calories (165), Total Fat (12.3 g), Saturated Fat (4.7 g), Cholesterol (24.6 mg), Sodium (420.3 mg), Total Carbs (3.6 g), Fiber (1.2 g), Sugars (0.7 g), Net Carbs (2.4 g), Protein (8.5 g)

4 portobello caps

5 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained

2 Tbsp cream cheese, room temp

1 Tbsp sour cream

1/4 C grated Parmesan

1 oz pancetta

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 C chopped pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts

Salt and pepper, to taste

8 pieces of bacon

Olive oil

1.- Clean out portobello caps (scrape out gills and cut out stem) and brush them lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt on both sides.  Place on foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes on each side.

2.- Drain and squeeze spinach to remove excess water.  Lightly saute chopped pancetta over medium heat until heated through.  In medium bowl, mix cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Stir in spinach, pancetta, garlic, Parmesan, nuts, salt, and pepper.  Spoon about 1/4 C into each portobello cap.

3.- Place two bacon slices side-by-side on a cutting board or piece of plastic film.  Set the cap down and pull the bacon edges over, wrapping the cap.  Wrap each cap individually in plastic film and place on plate.  When all caps are wrapped and on the plate, chill for at least an hour.

4.- Heat oven to 400.  Place caps on foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bacon is starting to crisp around the edges.

 

 

Chicken Marsala (Paleo)

Chicken Marsala

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

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

Chicken Marsala (Paleo)

Serves 3-4

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

salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 C Marsala wine

1/4 C chicken stock

1/4 C dry white wine

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

2 Tbsp arrowroot starch

2 Tbsp cold water

 

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

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

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

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries (Primal)

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries

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

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

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

12 garlic cloves (8 whole and 4 crushed)

1 C sour cream

2/3 C dried shitake mushrooms

salt and pepper

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

2 medium potatoes, cleaned and sliced thin

1/2 C dried cranberries

 

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

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

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

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

Frittata (Primal–Whole30 Compliant without Cheese)

Frittata

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

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

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

Frittata

Serves 4-5

12 eggs

1/2 C diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 C sliced mushrooms

1 C shredded (or diced) potatoes

1/2 pound cubed ham

1/2 C shredded carrots

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

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

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp thyme

pinch nutmeg

1/2 tsp basil

1 Tbsp Kerrygold

 

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

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

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

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

 

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).

Slow Cooker Swiss Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Swiss Steak

I love Swiss steak; however, I haven’t tried making it since we started on our Whole30 turned Paleo turned Primal adventure.  There is a *little* something missing in this recipe.  Typically, Swiss Steak is made with dry sherry.  I was determined to make this Whole30 compliant, so I left that part out.  Honestly, unless you eat this all the time, you won’t notice the sherry missing.  If you include alcohol in your cooking, reduce the chicken stock by 1/4 C and add in 1/4 C of dry sherry or some sort of dry wine.  Just know that it’s not necessary.

I served it with some chopped Honey Crisp apples.  At this point, we still had a few left.  Man…those suckers are addictive!  If we have them around the house, I WILL eat them.  I guess there are worse things that I could be doing…like crack or Little Debbie snacks…but still.  It’s not totally a food-with-no-brakes for me, but it’s pretty darn close.  Anyway, the apples were really lovely with the steak.

Also, I wanted to use an affordable cut of beef for this.  Because it’s in the slow cooker, it’s a bit easier to get away with the less expensive cuts because it basically braises all day.  That is one of the many benefits of using the slow cooker: you get expensive tasting meat for cheap prices.  When you’re willing to wait for the braise, it tastes like the good stuff every time.

Slow Cooker Swiss Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 4-6

6 beef shoulder steaks (this will work with just about any cheap steak cut–the shoulder steaks are what I had on hand)

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 C chicken stock (if you use alcohol, use 3/4 C chicken stock and 1/4 C dry sherry or wine)

2 Tbsp tapioca starch

4 Tbsp coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley

1/2 C coconut milk

 

1.- Heat heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil.  Add mushrooms and cook covered for 5 minutes.  Uncover and cook until browning and liquid has reduced a bit.  Place in slow cooker.

2.- Return pan to heat.  Season steaks with salt and pepper.  Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil to pan.  When hot, place steaks in pan and brown steaks on all sides.  Remove to plate and set aside.

3.- Add 2 Tbsp coconut oil to pan.  Add sliced onions, thyme, and paprika.  Stir and cook 1 minute.  Add tapioca and stir well, cooking 1 minute.  Whisk in chicken stock (and sherry, if using).  Add pan contents to slow cooker.

4.- Layer steaks on top of mushrooms and onions.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove steaks to plate and cover with foil.  Add cream and parsley to broth, heat 10 minutes, ladle over steaks, and serve immediately.

Salisbury Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Salisbury Steak

One of my favorite things to eat as a child was salisbury steak.  Of course the only time I ate it was either at school for lunch or in a TV dinner.  Sometime during college, I learned how to make it, but surprisingly I never made it that often.  I heard it mentioned last week and decided that I would make a Paleo version of the recipe.  It is seriously good.  Like…I made this last Wednesday night for dinner and then made it again on Friday for lunch when one of my friends came over.

The portobello mushrooms in the gravy really add another layer of depth.  Regular button mushrooms are fine; however, baby bellas will make all the difference.  If you don’t use coconut milk (or don’t want to open a can just for a tablespoon), you can also use heavy cream, or just leave that part out.  The milk/cream cuts the spicy bite of the pepper, so if you leave out the cream, cut back a bit on the pepper.  Additionally, I use cashew meal in this because I had a bag open but my almond meal wasn’t open yet.  You can use whatever nut meal you want to use–the texture and taste shouldn’t be affected by using almond, pecan, pistachio, or whatever nut meal.

Finally: this recipe calls for 73-80% lean ground beef.  Do not try to go leaner than this.  Don’t get some 85-95% lean beef…because then you will get all mad when they turn out like hockey pucks and you’ll leave me comments that say, “Lauren, you said these were good, but they’re nasty!”  If you get anything leaner, these will turn out like dry, ground beef and onion flavored dog treats.  But don’t give them to your dog…the onion could kill them.

Salisbury Steak (Whole30 Compliant)

Serves 3-4

1 pound ground beef (73-80% lean)

1/3 C finely diced onion

1 egg

1/2 C cashew meal

1 tsp black pepper (divided)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 pound sliced baby bella mushrooms

2 C beef broth

1 Tbsp coconut milk (or heavy cream–heavy cream is not Whole30 compliant)

2 tsp arrowroot starch

 

1.- Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, egg, cashew meal, salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, ground mustard, and onion powder.

2.- Form meat into 3-4 patties.  Line baking sheet with foil and spray or grease very lightly.  Put beef patties on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

3.- In a saucepan on medium high heat, add broth, mushrooms, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Leave the lid on for 5-6 minutes, but then remove the lid for the remainder of the simmering.  Add 1 Tbsp coconut milk and allow broth to return to a simmer.  Remove about 1/2 C of hot liquid to a small bowl.  Whisk in arrowroot starch until broken up and well-combined.  Return that liquid to the sauce pan and mix well, stirring until it thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.- Broil steaks for 2-3 minutes.  Serve topped with gravy.

Primal Chicken Divan (Whole30 Compliant with One Omission)

Primal Divan

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

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

Primal Chicken Divan

2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken thighs or breasts

24-32 ounces chopped broccoli florets

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

1/2 to 1 pound mushrooms, sliced thick

3/4-1 C chopped asparagus

3/4-1 C full-fat coconut milk

1 C shredded cheese

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1-2 Tbsp sweet curry powder

3/4 C sliced almonds

 

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

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

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