Nom Nom Paleo

Day 23 of Whole30 Eats

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This morning, I woke up well-rested, bright-eyed, and bushy tailed. It sure is nice to get a good 8 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, I never seem to get enough shut eye since the kids barrel out of their room at 7 a.m. sharp every morning and I’m constantly switching back from working night shift. Oh well. Welcome to my life.

For breakfast, I resorted to my standard morning fare: a frittata! Today’s version was made with 3 eggs, nuked frozen broccoli and spinach (the spinach was squeezed dry after I microwaved it), a pinch of smoked paprika, Kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.

It was tasty and satisfying. I miss eating frittatas when I’m on my workweek.

After spending the morning jumping on a trampoline with my younger rugrat at his kiddie gym and shopping at Trader Joe’s, I came home and made lunch. As soon as I stepped in the kitchen, I threw two green bell peppers right on a gas burner set on high. After the skins were charred all over, I put them in a bowl, covered them with plastic wrap, and let them steam while I prepared some seasoned ground beef.

I fried up a pound of beef in some melted lard along with a minced onion, a diced jalapeno, a couple tablespoons of Spice Hound fajita and taco seasoning, and some salt & pepper. Then, I peeled and sliced the roasted bell peppers and topped a handful of them with the seasoned beef, Primavera salsa, and store-bought spicy guacamole.

Lunch was tasty and I have leftovers that I can just nuke tomorrow!

For dessert, I made myself a small coconut milk and blueberry sundae.

It’s really amazing how sensitive my taste buds are to sugar these days. The minimal sweetness of these out of season blueberries was totally satisfying.  

Since I was putzing around the house all afternoon, I mindlessly ate lots of coconut flakes and nuts. Argh. I gotta stop that.  

I’ve been itching to remake Dorie Greenspan’s Chicken In a Pot ever since I made it a couple weeks ago. I bought a whole chicken at the farmers’ market (for half price!) a few days ago and I couldn’t wait to plop it in a pot on my first day off. My version tonight was slightly different from my last one but Dorie says she never makes the same chicken in a pot twice.

In tonight’s pot, I used:

  • 4 pound whole chicken
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • a whole bag of pre-peeled garlic from Trader Joe’s
  • 16 peeled and trimmed shallots
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 8 carrots, quartered
  • 4 celery stalks, quartered
  • avocado oil
  • 12 prunes
  • 2 tablespoons of Banyuls vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

I wasn’t sure whether to position the bird breast-side up or down but after studying her cookbook’s cover photo, I decided to position it boob side up. Ick. I can’t believe I just typed that.

With a whole chicken in the pot, I could barely fit in all the cabbage.

In fact, I had to smash down the lid with quite a bit of force to make sure it was well-sealed.

It was kind of a pain to cut up the chicken after I took it out of the oven because it was super HOT and my fingers aren’t made out of kevlar. I was just impatient because it smelled so damn good.

I served the chicken with garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes and mushrooms sauteed with diced shallots and Tabil seasoning.

Despite my misgivings about cutting up the chicken straight out of the oven, cooking the whole chicken in the pot tastes great — moist and juicy (even the breasts) and the “gravy” is really full-flavored and concentrated.  Dorie’s chicken is definitely my new favorite way to make chicken if I have 2 hours to spare. Even though we polished off the chicken at dinner, I’m saving the veggies and sauce to eat with whatever protein I make tomorrow. Yes, it’s that good.

Day 9 of Whole30 Eats

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What did I eat today? I know all of you are waiting with bated breath…

For breakfast, I made myself a quick spinach frittata with 3 eggs and a handful of spinach (right out of the freezer). Three eggs is the perfect amount for my 8-inch cast iron skillet when I wanna stick it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes to cook it through.

I topped it with some salsa and a glob of guacamole and chowed down.

For lunch, I nuked a box of leftover (no longer) crispy sous vide chicken thighs, winter squash puree, and frozen broccoli.

Sous vide meats reheat beautifully in the microwave. Although the skin gets a little soggy, the chicken was still juicy – even breast meat!

In the afternoon, I snacked on some macadamia nuts and coconut flakes (surprise, surprise).

For dinner, I made Dorie Greenspan’s chicken-in-the-pot, garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes” (with a purple head), and a quarter of a baked Japanese yam.

Yummy. I’m very excited to eat these leftovers tomorrow…

Whole30 Deliciousness: Dorie Greenspan’s When In Doubt, Chicken-In-The-Pot

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I’m obsessed with good food so I’ve always checked out food blogs to get ideas about what to cook or where to eat.  But since going Paleo, I’ve been dismayed to find that most of the recipes on my favorite food blogs are, unfortunately, carb-heavy dishes with Neolithic ingredients that I’ll be able to cook only as an occasional F-off/cheat meal.

That’s why I got so excited when I found Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Chicken-In-The-Pot. Dorie is an effing genius in the kitchen, and her well-written blog is so much fun to read. She’s definitely one of my food-blogging idols.

I made Chicken-In-The-Pot tonight with some modifications to make it Whole30 compliant and to customize it for my tastes. Dorie’s recipe is super-simple, really flexible, and the resulting dish was amazingly delicious.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • Approximately 2/3 cup avocado oil (in place of extra virgin olive oil)
  • 4 heads of garlic, broken into cloves, but left unpeeled
  • 16 shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 8 carrots, peeled, trimmed and quartered
  • 4 celery stalks, trimmed and quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary 
(she calls for 3 sprigs but my sprig was extra bushy – and I don’t really like this herb)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 16 prunes (USE THEM! Don’t be afraid to add fruit to your savory dishes!)
  • 3 pounds of organic chicken drumsticks (you can also use 1 chicken, whole or cut-up but I like all dark meat)
  • 1 small green cabbage cut into 8 wedges (try Savoy cabbage)
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used extra chicken broth and the vinegar to replace the white wine called for in the original recipe)

Here’s what I did:

I preheated my oven to 450° F, assembled all my ingredients, and prepped my veggies.

(I ended up cutting the cabbage into eight wedges post photo, by the way.)

In two batches, I browned the garlic, shallots, carrots, and celery in a couple tablespoons of avocado oil over medium high heat…

…and placed the browned vegetables in my large Dutch oven. I added the herbs, lemon zest, and prunes to the vegetables and mixed everything together.

Don’t be leave out the prunes – they help balance the dish.

I love this brand:

(These super moist, sweet prunes make Sunsweet prunes taste like dessicated turds. I’m just sayin’…)

I seasoned my drumsticks with salt and pepper…

…and browned them in avocado oil over medium high heat (the browning part is optional per Dorie).

Then, I put the drumsticks on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and I added the cabbage wedges.

I whisked the chicken broth, ½ a cup of avocado oil, and apple cider vinegar together and poured it over the cabbage.

After adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper on top, I laid a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil over the top of the cabbage, put my lid on top, and crimped the edges of the foil up and over the lip of the lid to form a tight seal.

Lastly: Into my oven for 70 minutes.

It smelled so good when I took the cover off!

I served the chicken with garlic and purple cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and baked Japanese yam.

Good stuff. I can’t wait to get Dorie’s new book in the mail in two days…