Nom Nom Paleo

Hawaiian Fire-Spiced Mushrooms

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Even though I’m on vacay, I care enough about you, dear reader, to post a new recipe. Okay – this recipe is super simple and involves my favorite go-to cooking technique (roasting) but why mess with a good thing?

I’m seriously crushing on the spice blends and salts from Aloha Spice Company. Most are Paleo-friendly and/or organic and the flavor combinations are spot-on. Pele’s Fire Hawaiian is a smoky and spicy salt blend that perfectly seasoned these roasted, meaty, umami-laden ‘shrooms.

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Keep reading for the recipe…

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Super Porktastic Bacon-Topped Spinach and Mushroom Meatloaf

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I was inspired to make this bacon-topped, veggie-laden meatloaf after watching this video on Chow.com. I wasn’t brought up on bad meatloaf as a child, so I don’t have an aversion to it like some folks. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a college student, I used to routinely hit up all the local diners to seek out the best meatloaf sandwiches.

I’ll be the first to admit that not all of my kitchen experiments turn out tasty, but tonight’s pork-y loaf was definitely a winner. Don’t believe me? My six-year old declared that he was rating it “FIVE stars!” AND he polished off his plate. (This doesn’t always happen; often, he butters me up with a compliment but then doesn’t eat the meal at all. It’s sweet, yet infuriating.)

The original recipe looks delicious, but I decided to veer away from it — not only to make it Paleo-friendly, but also to simplify the steps. In place of the milk and fresh breadcrumbs, I threw in coconut cream, coconut flour, and minced mushrooms. And since I’m too lazy to steam, drain, and chop fresh spinach, I replaced the fresh spinach with chopped frozen spinach. Also, after the recommended baking time, the bacon on top was still kind of limp, so I briefly stuck the meatloaf under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. Who wants soggy bacon? Not this gal!

Here’s what I gathered to feed 4-6 hungry adults:

  • 1 pound frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1/2 pound Cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup small-dice celery (from about 2 medium stalks)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 pound ground pork (the original recipe calls for 1 ¼ pounds of pork, veal, or beef but I only had 1 pound of ground pork defrosted)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3-5 bacon slices
  • Tomato sauce, warmed, for serving (optional)

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the oven to 350 F with the rack placed in the middle. I dumped a packet of frozen spinach into a Corningware container

…covered it with a lid and nuked it on high for ~4 minutes to defrost it. Then, I dumped the spinach in a colander and pressed out all the liquid.

I heated the butter over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet and tossed in the chopped onions and mushrooms along with some salt and pepper to taste.

I sautéed them until the liquid had evaporated and the onions were softened.

Next, I blended the coconut cream, parsley, and celery until a puree was formed.

In this case, the $29 immersion blender trumped the expensive Vitamix; the small volume didn’t blend properly in my fancy blender.

I placed the pork in a large bowl, followed by the chopped spinach, coconut flour, garlic, measured salt and pepper, and nutmeg.

Then, I added the coconut cream puree, beaten eggs, onions, and ‘shrooms.

I used my hands to gently combine all the ingredients.

I tested if the seasoning was right by frying up a tiny meatloaf patty.

Then, I transferred the mixture to an ungreased 9 x 5 loaf pan…

…and layered the bacon on top.

(You can store the uncooked loaf in the fridge for up to a day and then bake it at your convenience).

My loaf pan is kind of leaky, so I put it on a lined baking sheet before sticking it in the oven. I baked the meatloaf for 70 minutes, rotating it at the halfway point. Then, I broiled it for 3 minutes to crisp up the bacon.

There’s quite a bit of grease that pools in the pan so I poured it off and I let the loaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing into it.

I served the meatloaf slices with a generous ladle of Rao’s marinara sauce, but they also taste great without it.

Man, this meatloaf was super-moist, delicious, and chock-full of veggies! Coconut haters: Don’t worry - you can’t taste any coconut at all.

I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

Paleo Eats: 2/28/11

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More Paleo eats coming your way…

My first meal at work was a can o’ sardines.

I gotta say this brand isn’t my favorite. Maybe I happened upon a bad can but the texture was mushy and there was an off-taste to it. The little fishies didn’t taste spoiled but, then again, botulism spores are tasteless. If you don’t see a post tomorrow, you’ll know it’s ‘cause I’m paralyzed and not because I’m lazy.

For snack, I ate a couple of mini frittata muffins

…and some curried cream of broccoli soup with sous vide chicken breast.

Then, I ate a handful of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes. I didn’t eat a final meal at work because, surprisingly, I was still full.

When I got home, I portioned…

…skinned…

…seasoned (with Sunny Paris seasoning, salt, pepper, and frozen cubes of extra virgin olive oil), and vacuum-sealed the wild King salmon fillets I bought yesterday at the farmers’ market. I put the prepared packets on ice in the fridge and preheated the SousVide Supreme to 130 F.

By this time, I was pretty hungry so  I made myself a small chicken salad (with leftover rotisserie chicken and homemade Paleo mayonnaise) over a bed of greens, shredded carrots, and roasted red bell peppers.

After I scarfed down my salad, I went to bed.

When I woke up at 5:30 p.m., I plopped the salmon fillets into my water oven and made a tray of roasted curried cauliflower

…sauteed a  bunch of assorted mushrooms (white buttons, shiitake, and trumpet mushrooms from Far West Fungi stand) with minced garlic, Sunny Paris seasoning, a splash of dry vermouth, salt, and pepper…

…and broiled two bunches of avocado oil coated asparagus spears (~6 minutes total cooking time).

Here’s my dinner plate:

With a little pre-planning and the utilization of different heat sources (e.g. SousVide Supreme, oven, and stove), this dinner was on the table in about 45 minutes.

Then, I went to hospital for my second to last night of work. I can’t wait until Wednesday morning!

Stir Fried Napa Cabbage with Mushrooms and Bacon

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To celebrate Chinese New Year, I finished off my hunk of Fatted Calf slab bacon by making a Napa cabbage stir fry with diced bacon, thinly sliced onions and cremini mushrooms. Doesn’t sound like a Chinese dish to you? Tough. Gung Hay Fat Choy, buddy.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • Small head of napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup diced bacon
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chicken broth

Here’s what I did:

I assembled the ingredients…

…heated a large cast iron skillet to medium and threw in the bacon.

The piece of bacon I had was pretty meaty and I sliced it pretty thick, so it was more like sautéing ham matchsticks as opposed to crisping thin slices of bacon.

Then, I added the onions (with some salt and pepper) and cooked them until they were translucent.

Once the onions were softened, I added the sliced mushrooms (with some salt and pepper) and sautéed them until the moisture had cooked off.

I put in the Napa cabbage…

…and splashed in some chicken broth.

I placed a lid on the skillet and lowered the heat to medium low. I simmered the dish for about 5-10 minutes until the cabbage softened to my preferred tenderness. I did a final taste for seasoning and adjusted with salt and pepper.

Easy and tasty. In the future, I’ll scoop out the bacon before adding the onions and mushrooms because the fatty part gets kind of rubbery. Because the bacon I used was more like ham, it wasn’t a problem. If I were using thin bacon, I’d definitely fish out the bacon and sprinkle the crispy pork bits on top after I finished the dish.

Sautéed Spinach with Bacon, Bacon Grease, Shallots, & Mushrooms

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Hello bacon, my old friend, I’ve come to eat you once again…

(Go ahead: Sing along with me to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence. You know you want to.)

Now that I’m done with the Whole30 program, I’m free to add some bacon-y goodness to our dinner. And it just so happens that I found a recipe on Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food website for sautéed spinach and bacon that looked easy and tasty (my two prerequisites for any weekday dish). After surveying the contents of my crisper, I decided to modify the recipe a little by adding some sliced shallots and cremini mushrooms. I also opted to bake my bacon instead of frying it in the pan because I’m less likely to burn the bacon when I bake it. Bonus: I can also collect the delectable bacon grease in the tray!

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 1 pound organic baby spinach
  • 12 ounces of cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 slices of uncured bacon, baked and crumbled
  • Bacon grease (reserved from baking the bacon slices)
  • 2 teaspoons Banyuls vinegar (I just found out that wine vinegar is not technically Whole30 — oops! Don’t tell anyone.)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I gathered up my ingredients…

…and heated the bacon grease in my trusty cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the pan was hot, I sautéed the sliced shallots with some salt and pepper…

…until they were translucent and softened.

Next, I added the mushrooms and cooked ‘em until they developed some brown bits and the liquid evaporated.

I tossed in the spinach in batches…

…adding more as it wilted. I seasoned the dish with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Then, I plated the dish and sprinkled the bacon bits on top.

This dish totally hit the spot with a 1-2 punch of bacon grease and crispy bacon bits! Oh bacon, how I’ve missed you!

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.

Quick Lamb Burgers Topped With Fried Egg and Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms and Onions

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There’s nothing I like more than waking up in the evening to the delicious aroma of seared meat. (For all you newbies, I’m not sleeping away the day because I’m lazy or depressed — I’m a shift worker.) Today was my lucky day: not only did my hubby entertain the kids all day, he also made dinner! I’m telling you, when someone else makes dinner, the food takes on a mysterious, MSG-like, flavor-enhancing quality.

What was on the menu? Butter-lettuce wrapped grass fed New Zealand lamb burgers topped with a fried egg, homemade guacamole, sautéed mushrooms and onions — with roasted carrot fries on the side. As an added bonus, dinner was on the table in around 30 minutes, which was just enough time for me to do a quick metcon workout (lots and lots of burpees!) while the kids caught an episode of Scooby Doo on the boob tube.

Here’s what the husband assembled for dinner:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 frozen grass fed lamb patties
  • 1 large avocado
  • ½ pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 leaves of butter lettuce (I like using Live Gourmet brand with the roots attached. The heads stay fresher longer and are grown pesticide-free)
  • Handful of shredded carrots (optional garnish)
  • 5 or 6 carrots
  • Coconut oil and/or avocado oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

Here’s how he made the burgers:

Earlier in the day, the boys hit Whole Foods and stocked up on Atkins Ranch New Zealand frozen lamb patties (which happened to be on sale — $4.99 for each package of two patties).

When they returned from the store, Mr. Mom put a two-pack in the fridge to defrost and put the rest in the freezer. If you forget to defrost them, you can take the patties straight from the freezer and use the defrost function on the microwave to thaw them. (But be careful defrosting meat in the microwave because if you’re not watching it like a hawk, you’ll end up cooking part of it.)

About an hour before he started making dinner, he took the patties out of the fridge and seasoned them liberally with salt and pepper.

Per Thomas Keller, you should always bring your meat up to cool room temperature before cooking to get the best results. But don’t be dumb and leave it at room temp for half a day or your meat’ll become a veritable petri dish of badness.

At around 5:00 p.m., hubs prepped his veggies and popped a tray of carrot “French fries” tossed with avocado oil, salt, and pepper into the toaster oven (400 F for about 25 minutes).

Then, he made some guacamole by simply smashing up the avocado with some salt and pepper. Personally, I like to add a squirt of lemon or lime juice but I swear I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth!

Next, hubby heated a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and sautéed the onions until they were translucent. He added the sliced shiitake mushrooms along with some salt and pepper and sautéed everything until all the liquid had evaporated.

At the end, he tossed in the minced garlic and stirred the veggies around for about 30 more seconds. If you toss the garlic in earlier, you’ll burn it — and burnt garlic adds a yucky metallic taste to everything.

Once the mushrooms and onions were finished, he rinsed and dried out the skillet, added another dollop of coconut oil and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil was shimmering, he added the lamb patties to the pan.

He seared them for about 4 minutes on each side and checked that the internal temperature was ~ 145 F with our handy-dandy meat thermometer.

Finally, he rinsed the skillet again before frying a couple of eggs in some melted coconut oil.

He plated the burgers over the butter lettuce and topped ‘em with sliced tomato, fried egg, shredded carrots, guacamole, and sautéed mushrooms and onions. By this time, the roasted carrot fries were finished…

…so we sat down and scarfed down dinner.

Bun-less burgers can be pretty messy to eat, so I ate mine with a fork and knife since I’m a cavegirl with good manners. My husband, however, didn’t seem to mind the meat juices running down his hands and forearms as he devoured his burger.

These Paleo lamb burgers were fan-effing-tastic. Cavemen, make this meal for that special someone in your life and I promise that the 30 minutes you spend will be repaid in sex. Er, I mean spades.

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.