Green Pork & Shiitake Sliders

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Here’s another variation on my green sliders — this time with Asian flair, just like me! Seriously, my kids love these portable pucks and it makes me happy that they’re getting veggies and protein in each bite.

Here’s what I assembled to make 30 mini sliders:

  • 1 pound frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or favorite fat)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1/2 medium onion)
  • 6 reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup small-dice celery (from about 2 medium stalks)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/8-1/4 cup coconut flour (amount varies)
  • 1 tablespoon of Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • Additional 2-4 tablespoons of coconut oil for frying

Here’s how I made them:

First, I dumped a package 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 into a colander and pressed out all the liquid.

I heated 1 tablespoon of coconut oil 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. The veggies were sautéed until the liquid had evaporated and the onions were softened.

Next, the coconut milk, celery, and cilantro were blitzed with the hand blender

I placed the ground pork in a large bowl…

…added spinach…

…the puree…

…’shrooms and onions…

…eggs…

…coconut flour (Be sparing with it! Too much and your burgers will be dry.)…

…fish sauce…

…coconut aminos, salt, and pepper.

I used my hands to gently combine all the ingredients…

…and formed the meat mixture into small patties (about 2 inches in diameter).

I heated 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and fried the sliders in three batches.

I cooked the sliders for 3 minutes on each side, so each batch took about 6-7 minutes to finish.

Voila!

Green Sliders (Spinach, Mushroom, and Beef Mini Burgers)

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I didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel with this recipe. I simply modified the one I had for Super Porktastic meatloaf, substituting grass fed ground beef for the pork and I formed the meat and veggie mixture into mini burgers. My kids love ‘em ‘cause they can eat them with their hands and they taste terrific dipped in marinara sauce. (Rao’s is my favorite jarred brand.) Even if you can’t finish them all, they make perfect on-the-go veggie+meat snacks.

Here’s what I assembled to make 30 mini sliders:

  • 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 beef
  • 1/4 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
  • coconut oil
  • Tomato sauce, warmed, for serving (optional)
  • Fleur de sel

Here’s how I made them:

First, 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 into a colander and pressed out all the liquid.

I heated the butter (or coconut oil) 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.

The veggies were sautéed until the liquid had evaporated and the onions were softened.

Next, the coconut milk, parsley, and celery said hello to my hand blender

Once a puree was formed, I poured it over the ground beef in a large bowl, and then added the chopped spinach, coconut flour, garlic, measured salt and pepper, and nutmeg.

Afterwards, I added the beaten eggs and cooked ‘shrooms.

I used my hands to gently combine all the ingredients…

…and formed the meat mixture into small patties (about 2 inches in diameter).

I heated 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and fried the sliders in three batches. 

I cooked the sliders for 3 minutes on each side, so each batch took about 6-7 minutes to finish.

I reheated a bowl of marinara sauce in the microwave and I sprinkled some fleur de sel on the mini burgers before we dug in.

Yummy and easy!

Egg Foo Young-ish (Spinach, Egg, Ham, & Coconut Pancakes)

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After gobbling up Fitbomb’s quick and easy savory coconut pancakes yesterday, I was inspired to come up with a version filled with veggies and meat. After eating one of my portable egg-y pucks, hubby exclaimed that they tasted like Egg Foo Young.

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Melissa Joulwan’s awesome site has a great recipe for Paleo Egg Foo Young but, to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what this is supposed to taste like. No self-respecting Chinese person EVER orders this dish at an authentic Chinese restaurant. (In hubby’s defense, his parents opened an Americanized Chinese joint in the late 1960s and served Egg Foo Young to the masses). But maybe I shouldn’t have been such a food snob because these pancakes were delicious.

Check out the recipe after the jump!

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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: 3/20/11

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When I woke up this morning it was raining hard and the wind was howling – love it! I know most people prefer sunny weather but gloomy, stormy weather makes me smile. On the weeks when I’m working the graveyard shift, it lulls me to sleep in the middle of the day. On my days off, I love being “trapped” inside and just chilling out with the family. Thing get complicated when we have places to go. Like today. Then the rain can be a bitch.

For breakfast, I made myself a red cabbage slaw topped with leftover sous vide flank steak.

This was a big-ass mofo salad and it kept me full until lunchtime.

After breakfast, the family took a trip to Whole Paycheck where we stocked up on essentials for the week. My kids LOVE pushing the mini shopping carts around the store. I HATE herding them around the store and apologizing to all the patrons getting clipped in the Achilles tendon.

For lunch, we stopped by Anantolian Kitchen again. I really dig this spot for kebabs. It can get busy during weekday lunches, but on a rainy Sunday, it was easy to get a table at noon. I guess most people wanna gobble French toast and waffles for brunch instead of tasty meat sticks. Lucky for us.

Hubs and I split the combo grill plate (chicken, lamb, doner kebab, and salad)…

…and the Adana kebab (marinated ground lamb & beef with a salad). Both dishes were ordered sans rice.

This spot may be my new favorite Paleo-friendly spot in Palo Alto…

While Little-O took a nap, I took Big-O to a birthday party at a bounce house. It was a pandemonium, but at least he burned off a lot of energy!

When we got home at 5:30 p.m., I started prepping dinner. I was tired and didn’t want to make anything too complicated so I heated up some pre-cooked duck confit legs (I bought ‘em at the farmers’ market) in the toaster oven (15 minutes at 375 F).

To finish the duck, I charred them with my kitchen torch to get the skin all crispity-crunchity.

I tossed some asparagus spears in the rendered duck fat with some salt and pepper…

…and broiled them in the toaster oven until tender.

I finished off the dish with a spritz of lemon juice. Trust me: Always keep some lemons in the fridge.

I also nuked a packet of winter squash puree that I mixed with butter, salt, and pepper…

…and sautéed a pan full of spinach in butter with sliced shallots, dried chilis, and lemon juice.

I’m happy to report that dinner was on the table in about 35 minutes.

And as a special treat, I ate half a bar of dark chocolate:

Paleo Eats: 3/9/11

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I’m starting another week of nightshifts tonight, so I was a busy bee this morning and early afternoon.

While the kids ate their breakfast, I threw the ingredients for Paleo Korean short ribs into my slow cooker.

Even Lil-O jumped in to help me make the simmer sauce.

When we came home from dropping Big-O at school, I ate some mini frittata muffins, roasted bell peppers, and baby carrots for breakfast.

Then, we set off for Whole Paycheck to get some last minute groceries.

For lunch, I made myself the same type of frittata I had for breakfast yesterday.

After lunch, I whipped up some garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes with my older sous chef…

…and then I took a nap for a couple of hours.

When I woke up, the short ribs were finished…

…so I reheated the garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes

…sautéed a bunch of Bordeaux spinach with shallots in butter…

…and roasted Brussels sprouts in ghee with Penzeys Shallot-Pepper seasoning (splashed with some balsamic vinegar).

Here’s my dinner plate:

After dinner, I did the CrossFit “Christine” workout in my garage, which left me sore, winded, and sweaty. My post workout meal was half a baked sweet potato and a few slices of roasted turkey deli meat.

Then, I took a shower, gathered up my stuff, and went to work.

Paleo Eats: 2/25/11

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Without further ado, here are my eats on my second night at work…

My first meal in the middle of the night was a box of leftover grass fed T-bone steak, winter squash puree, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon.

A few hours later, I snacked on a couple leftover mini frittata muffins

…and a handful of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.

For my “dinner” I ate a box of Chili Con Carne seasoned grass fed ground beef, cauliflower fried rice, and roasted asparagus.

After work, I marinated some tandoori chicken thighs and then drove to my class at CrossFit Palo Alto. It’s tough doing a WOD on my day off but it’s damn near impossible after a night shift. I was wiped out after my class so I went to bed right away.

At 5:00 p.m., I was kinda groggy but I started preparing dinner. I baked the tandoori chicken thighs…

sautéed spinach with shallots and bacon

…blitzed some garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes

…and pureed a large vat of curried cream of broccoli soup. I started blending this soup with my old immersion stick blender but it literally sparked in my hand and blew a fuse. Yikes. Out came my trusty Vitamix and I pureed my veggie soup in a few seconds.

My Vitamix is super powerful but it’s a pain in the ass blending up hot soup without making a big mess. I already ordered my replacement immersion blender on Amazon for only $26.95…

Here’s me digging in:

You’d think I’d be full after all this food, but I still managed to cram down half a package of coconut flakes while I surfed the web. Them flakes are dangerous.

After stuffing myself silly with coco goodness, I packed my stuff for work and set off once again to bring home the bacon.

Paleo Eats: 2/11/11

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On my second night at work, I started chowing down at the stroke of midnight ‘cause I was hungry, damn it.

My first snack of the night was baby carrots with aubergine dip and a hard-boiled egg.

A few hours later, I ate my “lunch” which was a box of sous vide chicken breast, green beans, and roasted bell peppers.

I followed it up with a small container of coconut milk and strawberries.

The last thing I ate at work was a box of leftover lamb chops, green beans, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted carrots and butternut squash.

When I came home, I quickly marinated some tandoori chicken thighs and stashed them in the fridge before dashing off to my class at CrossFit Palo Alto.

This was the first time I’d gone to an exercise class after working a 10-hour night shift and I was a little nervous I’d drop a barbell on my head. To put your minds at ease, I came home unscathed. I was tired and sore but no contusions.

As soon as I returned home, I went straight to bed because it was WAY past my bedtime. I woke up at 5:00 p.m. and quickly dashed to Zombie Runner to pick up a zombie plushie for Big-O’s friend’s birthday and a couple pairs of Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS shoes for myself. I love my Vibrams!

I returned home 40 minutes later and popped my tray of tandoori chicken legs in the oven and started making my side dishes.

First, I heated up two frozen packets of Cascadian Farm winter squash puree in my SousVide Supreme (set at 135 F) for about 30 minutes and mixed it with some butter, salt, and pepper. Then, I sautéed some spinach with bacon grease, shallots, and a dash of Banyuls vinegar.

I took the chicken legs out of the oven…

…and cranked up the heat to broil and popped in a tray of asparagus tossed with macadamia nut oil, salt, and pepper. About eight minutes later, the asparagus was finished and I drizzled on some balsamic vinegar.

Here’s my dinner plate:

Good eats in under an hour.

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!