Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cabbage Beef Stew

I am loving trying new things with the large purchase of stew meat that we got from US Wellness Meats! I just bought some fish sauce for the first time (Red Boat is the brand without any extra sugar), and wanted to try it out with this dish. I think it is a very important ingredient, so if you can use it, you should!

There's something so awesome about coming home to an already cooked meal in your crockpot. It is seriously a life saver, especially in the paleo world!

Ingredients
1) 2 pounds of stew meat (or a 2 pound beef roast, cut into cubes)
2) 1-2 onions, diced
3) 2 pounds of a root vegetable, chopped (rutabaga, turnip, sweet potato) - I used rutabaga
4) 1 medium-sized head of cabbage
5) 2 tablespoons of fish sauce (recommend Red Boat)

**Servings: 6-8

Instructions
1) Chop up your onions and root vegetable and add it to the crockpot.
                                         
2) Add in your fish sauce and stew meat.

3) Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then place the quarters on top of the other ingredients already in the slow cooker. Push them down to make room.

4) Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

5) Once cooked, stir your mixture and shred the cabbage into the stew. Taste and see if you need any more fish sauce or salt/pepper if you'd like.

6) Eat up!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chicken, Squash and Fig Soup (Paleo-Zone)

It's been a while since I've posted a Paleo-Zone meal on here, but we are still eating this way 90% of the time. I bought some figs at Costco again the other day, and I wanted to try and make a sweet and savory soup with them. It was actually my boyfriend's idea to mix these ingredients, and he referred back to my beef and dried prunes stew to show me that fruit could work. Plus, it helps even out the carb count to make this Zone appropriate.

If you're not interested in making it Paleo-Zone, you don't have to be as specific with the ingredient measurements. It still is super delicious, regardless!

There is some stove top cooking involved in this, so plan accordingly and do it the night before or make this on a weekend.

Ingredients
1) 2 pounds of chicken thighs or breast, cut into cubes (24 blocks Protein)
2) 2.5 tablespoons of ghee, butter, or coconut oil (24 blocks Fat)
3) 2 pounds of cubed butternut squash (11 blocks Carbs)
4) 1 large onion, diced (3 blocks Carbs)
5) 1 roughly packed cup of figs, stems removed, about 12 figs, diced into small pieces (10 blocks Carbs)
Optional: 1 cup of chicken stock or water
Optional: 1-2 tablespoons seasoning of your choice for the chicken. I used a store-bought rosemary garlic blend with no sugar or MSG.

Total: 24P, 24C, 24F

**Servings: 6-8 (6 meals of 4 blocks, or 8 meals of 3 blocks ---just measure out the cooked soup into tupperware containers and weigh them to make sure all 6 or 8 weigh the same)

Instructions
1) Heat up a large skillet over medium heat, and add your oil. Then add your diced chicken to the pan. Stir it as it browns.

                                  

2) Cut up your onions and figs while the chicken is cooking.
3) Add the onions to your cooking chicken, and sprinkle on your optional seasonings at this time.
4) Add your cubed squash and figs to your crockpot. You can also add 1 cup of chicken stock or water at this time, to make the mixture more soup-like at the end of the cooking. If you want it more like a thick stew, omit the stock/water.
5) Let the chicken and onions cook for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is browned and the onions are translucent. Then add the entire contents of the skillet into the crockpot.
6) Stir to mix all your ingredients together in the crock pot. Then cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you want your squash to stay more crunchy, cook for 4-6 hours only. 
7) Portion out your meals and enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sour Kombucha Gummies (For Joint Care!)

As I study more towards my physical therapy degree, I learn more and more about how important our joints are. As a CrossFitter, I know that my joints take a beating during workouts, and also by sitting around in class all day. So I know that I need to eat good things that promote joint health, and collagen is such a great supplement for that. I have made a gummy before, but this time I tried it using kombucha instead of pureed fruit and without using the stove at all. Call it a super lazy gummy snack, if you will. Plus, this one not only has the probiotics from the kombucha, but it has the awesome collagen from the powder. We have started taking these with our post-workout recovery meal, and we are enjoying the taste AND the health benefits!

Ingredients
1) 1 cup of kombucha (homemade, or store-bought), any flavor (I used mango this time because it is what I had the most of on hand)
2) 1/4 cup of water
3) 1/4 cup of lemon juice
4) 1/4 cup of unflavored gelatin (I used Great Lakes brand, pictured below)

**Makes 12-16 gummies, depending on size

Instructions
1) Mix your kombucha and lemon juice together in a bowl.

2) Stir in your 1/4 cup of gelatin.
3) Mix well. It'll still be clumpy, that's ok.
4) Heat up your 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl in the microwave until bowling, about 45 seconds.
5) Add the boiling water to your mixture, and stir until smooth. All of the gelatin will melt and mix in now.
6) Pour into silicon molds, or into a glass pan. No need to oil the pan: this won't stick at all.
7) Place in the fridge and let harden, at least 1 hour.
8) Cut into squares. Recommend dose of gelatin per day is 1 tablespoon, according to the container, which is 1/4 of your total gummies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chocolate-covered Fruit and Nut Clusters

Sometimes you just need something sweet! This recipe has 4 ingredients--3 of which I am sure 90% of paleo enthusiasts have on hand all the time: nuts, dried fruit, and shredded coconut. I literally whipped this up in 3 minutes, and let it cool for 10 minutes and we were enjoying the fruits of our labor (pun intended!). You could throw in whatever you have on hand, or go shopping and throw in your favorites. Next time we have some macadamia nuts on hand, I'll definitely try this with those as well.

Ingredients
1) 1/2 cup of roasted nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, etc) - I used almonds
2) 1/2 cup of chopped, dried fruit (apricots, prunes, berries, dates, figs) - I used apricots
3) 1/2 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut
4) 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life, which are dairy/soy free and only 3 ingredients themselves!)

**Makes: 8-10 clusters

Instructions
1) Chop up your dried fruit. You could also chop your nuts if you want smaller pieces. 
                                 
2) Add your chocolate chips to a bowl, and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Mine took 1 minute.
Before

After
3) Fold in your fruit and nuts to the chocolate, until all are coated evenly. Then add in your coconut, and mix to combine.
All mixed up
4) Shape into clusters on a lined plate or cookie tray, to prevent sticking. You could also just spread into a layer and then break apart after it's cooled.
5) Place in the fridge to harden, about 10 minutes or longer. Store in the fridge.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

6-Ingredient Butternut Squash Lasagna Stew

I can't stop buying butternut squash cubes from Costco. I don't want the season to run out, so I am trying to take advantage of them while I can and make a million different recipes with them. This recipe was adapted from Paleo Slow Cooking, but was adjusted to make it fewer ingredients and less work!

You could omit one of the veggies to make this 5-ingredient, if you so choose. But I had all of these things on hand, so I figured it was close enough to 5-ingredient standards that I'll let it pass. Hopefully y'all agree!

This recipe does have some stove top cooking prior to the slow cooker, so you can either make it on the weekend when you have a little more time, or cook the stove-top portion the night before and put it in the fridge, and slow cook it the next day.

Ingredients
1) 2 pounds of ground beef (could substitute pork, sausage, or a combo if you'd like)
2) 2 pounds of cubed butternut squash (or 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed)
3) 3 cans (14oz each) of diced tomatoes
4) 1 pound of carrots, finely diced (about 4 large ones)
5) 2 green peppers, finely diced
6) 1 onion, finely diced

**Servings: 6-8

Instructions
1) Gather all your ingredients, and dice up your veggies while you heat up a large skillet over medium heat.
                                       
2) Add your veggies to your hot skillet, except the squash, and saute for 30 minutes until tender.
3) In the mean time, in a separate skillet, brown your ground beef. Drain the liquid/oil if you'd like when done.
4) Add your squash to your slow cooker, and your veggies once tender. Then add your ground beef. Stir to combine.
5) Let cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you like your squash less tender, only cook the 4 hours. You could also cook for 8 hours if you'll be out of the house all day---it'll still taste delicious!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash

This tastes like Thanksgiving to me. Sweet, delicious Thanksgiving.

It's the weekend, so I am cooking us up a stand-alone protein and some veggie sides for dinner. I usually do carrots, but had just bought a few boxes of diced up butternut squash from Costco the other day. So this was a hail marry---I was hoping it would be delicious and easy and was it ever!

Hope you enjoy. I am definitely going to make this more often, and I will for sure make it come Thanksgiving this year!

Ingredients
1) 2 pounds of cubed butternut squash (or 1 large squash, peeled and cubed)
2) 2 tablespoons of melted ghee or butter (could use coconut oil, but won't taste as buttery obviously)
3) 1 tablespoon of honey
4) 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
5) 1/4 teaspoon of salt

**Servings: 2-4

Instructions
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Melt your ghee or butter in a small bowl, then add in your honey and stir to combine.
3) Place your squash on a lined cookie sheet (I used a silicon mat, but parchment or tin foil would work).
4) Drizzle the honey butter mixture on top of the squash, and then use your hands to evenly distribute and coat all of the squash.
5) Sprinkle on your cinnamon, and do the same thing to mix it evenly.
6) Sprinkle with salt.
7) Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, flipping/stirring the squash at the half way point. I wanted mine really tender, so I cooked the full 35 minutes, but if you'd prefer a bite to your squash, cook 25-30 minutes only.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cuban Shepard's Pie

I really love one pot meals. It makes it so much easier to make a larger meal and portion out the leftovers for the week. We also tend to put some in the freezer for later too, so we end up cooking less often. My best paleo tip would really be to double your recipe, and put half in the fridge portioned out, and half in the freezer. Then you make about 3 meals and do the same for all, and then you have a bigger variety of stuff to eat for the next 1-2 weeks. Nothing is worse, in my mind, than eating the same meal for 4 days in a row. I'd much rather have some variety, which is where a lot of my meals come from.

Plantains are a really interesting flavor, and I've made a few dishes in the past with them. This actually has a similar taste profile to a dish I made before (Plantain Lasanga), but it was a lot easier! This definitely looks like a shepard's pie, but instead of a cauliflower or potato topping, why not try it with plantains?

My grocery store only sells green plantains, so I had to wait about 10 days for these to ripen up in order to use them. That way they are a tiny bit sweeter than the green ones, and work well with the spiced meat bottom layer.

You can make the Sofrito mixture using the below link, or just use tomato sauce for the whole thing and it'll still be delicious! Or add in a chopped onion and/or a chopped pepper to the mix if you have some on hand.

Ingredients
1) 2 pounds of ground beef (or bison/chicken/turkey/etc)
2) 4-5 very ripe plantains (about 1.5-2 pounds)
3) 1/4 cup of coconut or almond milk
4) 2 cups of tomato sauce (or 1 cup tomato sauce, and 1 cup homemade Sofrito -- recipe here)
*Sofrito is really just pureed tomatoes, onions, and peppers
5) Spices: I did 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt

**Makes 5-6 servings

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1) Over medium heat, brown your ground meat. Once cooked, you can drain some of the oil if your meat was too fatty for your liking.    
Browning your meat
2) Add your tomato sauce/sofrito and spices to your meat, and mix thoroughly.
Adding your sauce and spices
3) Pour your meat mixture into a 13x9 pan. This is the bottom layer of your shepard's pie.
Bottom half complete
4) Now work on your plantain topping. Peel your plantains and roughly chop, then add to your food processor.
Super-ripe plantains
Ready for the food processor
5) Add your coconut milk to the food processor with your plantains and blend until smooth.
Pureed plantains and coconut milk
6) Pour your pureed plantains on top of your meat layer and spread evenly.
Adding your topping
Ready for the oven!
7) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until your plantain topping is firm when you touch it.
All cooked up
Lovely layers of Cuban Shepard's Pie
8) Let rest for a few minutes to cool, and then eat up!