Nom Nom Paleo

Semi-Homemade Paleo Spaghetti And Meatballs

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Tonight’s quick faux spaghetti and meatballs utilized some high quality prepared items that made cooking dinner a breeze. In a sense, it’s a semi-homemade recipe a la Sandra Lee.

I hate to even type that because Sandra Lee chaps my hide: her recipes are terrible, her tablescapes are retarded vomit-inducing, and she’s too damn perky for me. However, I do like the premise of her show – using shortcuts to get a tasty meal on the table fast. In fact, some might argue that’s kind of the idea of this here blog but I’m too much of a cranky mofo to be mistaken for a Paleo Sandra Lee.

Here’s what I gathered to feed 4 people:

  • A tablespoon or two of ghee
  • A pound of uncooked Italian sausage made from the trim of my Full of Life Farm  ½ hog

  • 1/2 a jar of my favorite spaghetti sauce

Here’s what I did:

I took the sausage out of the casing and rolled them into little meatballs.

Ingenious, right? I can’t take credit for it though ‘cause I was inspired by this recipe from the cool folks at White On Rice Couple.

I melted a tablespoon of ghee in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the pan was hot, I fried the mini meatballs in a single layer in the pan until they were browned on all sides.

I added about ½ a jar of Rao’s marinara sauce and brought the sauce to a boil.

Then, I covered the pan and simmered the sauce on low for about 5 minutes.

I rinsed off the kelp noodles in a colander and added them to the meatballs and sauce.

I covered the pan and simmered the sauce and noodles for a few minutes until the noodles were tender.

The softened noodles resemble  Asian bean thread noodles so don’t expect them to have the taste and texture of Italian pasta. Hell, you can leave out the kelp noodles and still have a quick and yummy meal.

Paleo Eats: 1/29/11

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Work has been busy, busy, busy this week and tonight was no exception. I didn’t get my first bite to eat until around 2:00 a.m. but since I’d stuffed myself silly with brisket and veggies before coming to work, I didn’t feel the need to gnaw off my own arm.

Here’s what I noshed on at work tonight:

For my “lunch,” I ate some sous vide Tabil-seasoned chicken breasts with leftover sautéed Southern greens and roasted celery root and carrots. My snack was some pistachios, coconut milk, and blueberries. The last meal I ate at work was leftover brisket, roasted butternut squash, and sautéed spinach with bacon, mushrooms, and shallots.

On my way home from work, I picked up my veggie CSA box for the week.

It’s kind of a small haul, so I’m gonna supplement with some veggies from the farmers’ market. My hubby and the kids were going over to my in-laws for a big multi-generational Chinese New Year party tonight so I snuck in some quality play time before getting some sleep.

Since the house was empty and quiet, I slept in until 6:00 p.m. I could’ve reheated some leftovers when I woke up but then I wouldn’t have anything new to bring to work. So after rooting around in my fridge, I decided to make some kelp noodles with egg omelet, ground pork, leeks, broccoli slaw, and spinach.

I assembled and prepped my ingredients…

…and stir-fried a whole mess of noodles.

I miss fish sauce something fierce. I gotta buy me some sugar-free and wheat-free fish sauce soon. However, Paleo cooking queen Sarah Fragoso uses Thai Kitchen fish sauce (which contains unrefined cane sugar) when she cooks her go-to Thai Green Curry so if it’s okay with her, it should be okay with me. Right?

After packing up my meals for work, I practiced a few thrusters, and then left for work. Only 4 more nights of work! Damn. That still feels like an eternity to me.

Late Night Eats: 1/4/11

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My final night of late night eats for the week:

At 10:30 p.m., I snacked on a small container of coconut butter. This stuff is goooooooooood.

“Lunch” at 2:00 a.m. consisted of leftover (no longer crispy) sous vide chicken thigh, winter squash puree, and nuked frozen veggies.

At 4:30 a.m., I ate some macadamia nuts and coconut flakes as my second snack of the night.

My last meal at work was at 7:00 a.m. when I ate leftover stir fried kelp noodles with ground pork and Dukka-seasoned roasted cauliflower.

I’ll be flipping back to dayshift today so I take a nap from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; eat a small snack in the afternoon; enjoy dinner with the family; and try my best to sleep through the night. I’m gonna be a cranky mofo today (and probably tomorrow).

Stir Fried Kelp Noodles Made With The Dregs From My Fridge

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Tonight, I decided to make stir fried kelp noodles again. Why? Because I’m at the end of my 7-night shift work week and I’m too damn tired to come up with something original and Whole30 approved. For this variation I added some anchovy fillets to fill the void left by the lack of fish sauce and some homemade chicken broth to help soften the kelp noodles faster.

(Yep, you read that right. I made my chicken broth from scratch using the bones I removed from the crispy sous vide chicken thighs a few nights ago. On my work week. Tells you how easy it is and how I should stop being so effing lazy).

For all stir fries, I just look in my fridge and pick some aromatics (shallots and garlic), a protein or two (eggs and ground pork), and some veggies that are wilting (broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, pre-washed baby spinach). Once everything is prepped and cut, you just sequentially throw it in your pan and you’re done. Dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes.

Here’s what I assembled for tonight’s dish:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large shallots, minced in mini prep food processor
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 package of kelp noodles, rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounce package of prewashed baby spinach
  • 1 cup of broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots
  • 2-4 tablespoons of coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut vinegar
  • ¼ cup of chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons of macadamia nut oil

Here’s how I got dinner on the table:

The first thing I did was make a thin scrambled egg omelet. I heated a tablespoon of macadamia nut oil in my 12-inch cast iron skillet on medium high and whisked the eggs with some salt and pepper. Once the pan was hot, I poured in the eggs making sure it was a uniform layer and turned the heat down to low.

Once the bottom set, I flipped it over with a spatula. I tore the omelet but I didn’t care because I ended up cutting it into strips.

Then, I added another tablespoon of macadamia nut oil to the pan and sautéed the shallots. When the shallots were softened, I threw in the anchovies and broke it up with my wooden spoon.

I added the pork and garlic, seasoned with some salt and pepper, and cooked the meat until it was no longer pink.

I added the kelp noodles (which I cut with some scissors) and chicken broth.

Then I seasoned everything with the coconut aminos and vinegar and covered the pan for about 5 minutes to soften the kelp noodles.

Once the noodles were soft, I added the broccoli slaw and shredded carrots and mixed that around.

Next, I threw in the baby spinach with some additional salt and pepper and stir fried until the leaves were wilted.

At the very end, I tossed in the sliced egg omelet.

Voila!

As a veggie side, I roasted some cauliflower seasoned with Dukka seasoning, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and thinly sliced shallots (400 F set at convection roast, 15 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered).

Here’s my plate.

The rest of the family also enjoyed some pork butt braised in Coca Cola and soy sauce that my mother-in-law brought over but I stuck to my guns and ate what I had prepared.

Not too shabby for a quick, well-rounded dish. I still missed the sweetness from fish sauce and/or oyster sauce but I’ll just deal with it for the next 23 days. Maybe next time I’ll add some red pepper flakes or chilis in place of the Sriracha I can’t use either.

Stir Fried Kelp Noodles With Ground Beef, Broccoli Slaw, and Spinach

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Tonight I made noodles. Wha-? Paleo-approved kelp noodles to be exact.

Before you eat the noodles, you need to wash and drain them but you can just dump them into a stir fry or soup and to heat them up.

Essentially, I followed my recipe for Asian lettuce cups but I made some substitutions (namely, no fish sauce). There was minimal prep work because the broccoli slaw, spinach, and kelp noodles were prepackaged and ready to go. I’m sad I can’t use fish sauce because the dish is kind of missing something without it but I’ll find myself some Paleo-approved fish sauce soon enough.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 1 small onion, minced in a mini-prep food processer
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ pound of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef
  • 1 cup of organic broccoli slaw
  • 6 ounce package of pre-washed organic baby spinach leaves
  • 1 package of kelp noodles, rinsed with water and drained
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • Salt and Pepper
  • **UPDATE** 1-2 tablespoons of Red Boat Fish Sauce

Here’s how I made the dish:

I heated up the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the pan was hot, I dumped in the onions and sautéed until soft.

I added the sliced mushrooms and cooked them until the moisture had cooked off.

Next, I added the beef and garlic and and cooked the meat until it was no longer pink.

I added a large handful of broccoli slaw…

…and then I threw in the package of spinach and stirred that around until the leaves were wilted.

Then, I tossed in my kelp noodles…

…added the coconut aminos, fish sauce, and vinegar, and waited until the noodles softened to the consistency I liked (around 3-5 minutes).

 I did a final taste for seasoning and added some salt and pepper.

Not too shabby for fake noodles.

New Substitutions for the Whole30 Pantry

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Since I’m on Day 2 of the Whole30 program, I decided to take a more critical look at my pantry to make sure I had the right tools to be compliant for the rest of the month.

One big Paleo faileo is my fish sauce.

I really like fish sauce ‘cause it adds a unique salty umami flavor to whatever I cook. When I closely inspected the label this evening, I noticed two ingredients that weren’t Paleo: fructose and hydrolyzed wheat protein. Damn it! I gotta start looking for a brand that’s just anchovies and salt. I wonder if it’s even possible.

Here are some other substitutions I’ve made in my pantry:

Since I’m out of lard, I’m using coconut oil and macadamia nut oil as my go-to high heat cooking fats.

Macadamia nut oil is nice and buttery and has a smoke point of around 400 F. Yes, it’s expensive (~$1/ounce) but it’s a small investment I’m willing to make.

I’ve gotten rid of my pastas but I miss noodles. I bought some kelp noodles from Whole Foods (in the fridge by the soy products) and they’re pretty tasty.

Not like wheat noodles, but more like springy bean thread noodles when cooked. Don’t eat them raw. They’re squeaky and crunchy – not how I like my noodles.

Instead of tamari and soy sauce, I’m gonna use coconut aminos.

This was a hard item to find. I finally located it in the Asian section at Whole Foods. Surprisingly, it does taste remarkably like soy sauce.

I’ve also been using coconut vinegar (along with my other vinegars) and it’s pretty tasty.

It’s been heralded as a more nutritious apple cider vinegar but I like it because I like all things coconut.