Archives for category: Dinner

Wedding gifts are amazing.

A cast iron dutch oven is a prime example of why wedding gifts are amazing.

O Great Bearded One... or Colin.

So, here’s a quick shout out to our friend Colin who purchased said item in honor of our nuptials! Putting it to use was simple enough. I set out to create a delicious Paleo-fied Shepherd’s Pie. Below are the fruits (or pie) of my labor.

This particular pie was topped with a kabocha squash mash, but you could use any squash (or yam) you have on hand.

Kabocha Shepherd’s Pie

1 1/2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
1 c. diced eggplant
1/2 bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 shiitake mushrooms, diced
4 whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
pinch cayenne

Topping

1/2 onion, caramelized
1 large kabocha squash (about 3 cups of flesh)

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Caramelize onions by slicing thin half moons and cooking on LOW heat for 20 mins or until onions are soft and brown (not brown and crispy). Stir occasionally
  3.  Cut squash in half and take out the seeds. Place face down on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 mins. Done when skin gives easily when pressed.
  4. Let the squash cool and then scoop out flesh into a food processor.

    mash it up!

  5. Add caramelized onions and some salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  6. Lower oven temp to 300.
  7. In a cast iron dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat,  saute onion, celery, and mushrooms for 2-3 min. Add beef.

    celery, pepper, and eggplant

  8. Stir until beef begins to brown.
  9. Add bell pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and spices.
  10. Heat until beef is cooked through and vegetables are beginning to get soft.

    gettin steamy

  11. Spread topping over the top of the meat mixture in the dutch oven. If using a baking pan, transfer meat mixture to baking pan first, then spread the topping on the meat.

    Rustic

  12. Bake for 20 mins or until squash topping begins to brown.

The Original Urban Solace Version, complete with grilled cheese and sweet potato fries

My husband used to work at a restaurant in San Diego. Not gonna lie, this restaurant makes some pretty delicious meals and my man is one of their biggest fans. He loves many a dish on their menu… Beef cheeks, fig meatloaf, ahi tuna chop chop… I could go on forever. Not being one to back down from a challenge, I sometimes try to recreate his favorite meals with a paleo-friendly ingredient list.

Apparently, I succeeded in my quest and now hubby has a new favorite home cooked meal. So much so that he mourned the impending end of this meal while he was halfway through his cup of soup. Just the thought of it being over made him sad. I’m pretty sure he would have hooked up a soup IV if he could.

So with that introduction I give you (Duh Duh DA DA!!!)

Tomato and Roasted Fennel Soup

1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
3 c. stock
1 sweet onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
4-5 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. duck fat, divided
1 Tbsp. dried basil
sea salt
pepper
1/4 c. pine nuts
olive oil to drizzle

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a bowl, coat the fennel, garlic, and parsnips with 1 Tbsp. of fat and season with some salt and pepper
  3. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 mins

    Parsnips, Garlic, and Fennel

  4. In a soup pot, over medium heat, sauté the shallots and onions until translucent
  5. Once the fennel mixture is done roasting, add it to the soup pot, sautéing for another 5 mins

    Add roasted veggie to sauteed onions

  6. Add stock and simmer for 10 mins

    Add stock before tomatoes

  7. Add tomatoes and continue to simmer for 5 mins adding basil
  8. With an immersion blender (or regular blender) puree the contents of the soup until all chunks are gone, add salt and pepper to taste
  9. In a blender or spice grinder, grind pine nuts with sea salt until it becomes a fine dust like grated parmesan
  10. Add half the nuts to the soup pot and stir

    Success!

  11. Serve with a garnish of olive oil and a dusting of pine nuts

Just got back from all my wedding festivities! Spent two weeks away on our honeymoon instead of one and I was quite thankful for the flexibility on our schedules to accommodate such a long vacation.

The new Mister and Missus

Awwwwww!

We stayed in a beach condo for two weeks so I had multiple opportunities to create fun and interesting recipes all day long. Here is the first of many that I will be sharing on this blog.

Add a little side salad and you have a complete meal.

For this recipe, buy all natural and uncured bacon. No nitrates or nitrites added. That stuff is no bueno. Also, go and find a kabocha squash. They are not hard to find and if you’ve never had one, YOU MUST TRY IT! It’s so delicious that my HUSBAND (see how I snuck that in there?!) insists that we always make it when we have visitors because he wants to share his favorite squash with everyone. Here’s what a kabocha looks like.

You can eat the skin too!

Bacon Wrapped Drumsticks with Grilled Kabocha Wedges

5-6 Chicken drumsticks
10-12 slices of bacon (nitrate and nitrite free), about 2 slices per drumstick
1 kabocha squash (also known as a Japanese Pumpkin), seeded and sliced into wedges
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

  1. Light up your grill on medium heat
  2. On a cutting board, wrap the drumstick from top to bottom with bacon strips. Set aside.

    It's like decorating your chicken.

  3. Place kabocha slices in a bowl. Drizzle coconut oil over along with the salt and spices. According to your taste you can make it more salty or more spicy.
  4. Place kabocha on the grill, about 5-6 mins per side depending on the heat of your BBQ. They are done when easily squished or broken. They become quite tender if cooked too long.
  5. Put chicken on the grill and turn halfway through. They should cook about as long as the squash. Be careful for flare ups from the bacon grease dripping into the grill. When the bacon is nice and crispy, take off the grill and serve.

    Crispy and Juicy

Serves 2-3 people

 

 

 

When I found out that Tropical Traditions had a great recipe for a coconut flour-based pizza crust, I had to give it a whirl. So I did.

Unfortunately, my first experience with coconut flour pizza was kind of a bust, so the opportunity to redeem the dish was quite exciting.

My fiance and I give this dish two thumbs up. It’s not Dominos, or Caesars or Round Table. So don’t be expecting classic gluten-pizza taste and texture. However, the crust is flavorful with herbs and garlic, it holds up under the weight of pesto and toppings, and the edges get crispy. So I call that a success in the world of Paleo-Italian fusion cuisine.

Herbed Pizza Crust

3 eggs
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup whole coconut milk
1/2 c. coconut flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl, mix in milk and garlic.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and beat into the milk mixture. The batter needs to be thin enough to spread but not watery.
  4. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ( NOT WAX PAPER!)
  5. Bake 12-20 mins. until bottom edges begin to brown.

    browning on the sides

  6. Remove crust from the oven and carefully turn over. Could be achieved by placing a cutting board, face down, over the crust and flipping. Put the flipped crust back on the baking sheet
  7. Cover with your sauce and toppings. Bake for 5 -10 mins depending on your topping choice.

Nutrition Facts for the Pizza Crust

I made ours with a sun-dried tomato pesto.

The Sauce

Not a lot of measurement in this pesto… just get out your food processor and add these ingredients to your taste:

garlic cloves
sun-dried tomatoes
olive oil
walnuts, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds
parmesan cheese
sea salt

I think I like this type of crust with a sauce/spread like a pesto instead of a more watery pizza sauce.

Our toppings were:

italian sausage, red onion, raw shaved parmesan, mushrooms, and zucchini.

Fully Loaded

This one is from the hallowed Paleo grounds of Mark’s Daily Apple. In fact, it’s one of the recipes from the Primal Blueprint Reader Cookbook. I’ve made this dish a couple times. It’s so lovely and aromatic as welll as FILLING. This last time I only dished it over a 1/4 of the acorn squash. But for those with hearty appetites, go ahead and serve it in a half a squash. It’s a beautiful presentation either way.

For the folks who are uber-sensitive to dairy: swap out the butter for coconut oil and omit the yogurt. Enjoy!

It's a spice extravaganza!

Butter Chicken

4 lbs. chicken thighs, chopped into 1 inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup Greek-style (thick) yogurt
7 tablespoons butter, chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes, unsalted)
6 cardamom pods (crush pods slightly to release seeds and more flavor)
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cup cream or coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

  1. Combine chicken, garlic, spices and yogurt in a covered container. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
  2. Melt butter in a deep pan. Add vinegar, tomato paste, tomatoes, cardamom and cinnamon. Boil rapidly, stirring until sauce is thick (approximately 20 minutes).
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and add chicken. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through. Add cream or coconut milk, simmer a few minutes more, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Roasted Acorn Squash

2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
Coconut oil to grease baking sheet

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil.
  3. Place squash halves face down on the sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 mins, until the squash is tender and the lip of the opening is browned.

An unfortunate picture of a delicious dish!

Here’s a simple one for those chilly Southern California nights (wink, wink). Soup is a great way to stretch your dollar and incorporate some really healthy items into your food rotation. BONUS: there’s usually leftovers which means for very little time investment, you can have a few meals for the next few days!

Butternut Squash is a seasonal vegetable. It comes around in the harvest time so it’s best eaten in the fall and winter months. It has a delicate and mildly sweet flavor, similar to an acorn squash. Good for soups because it’s not as heavy as sweet potato or pumpkin. Butternut’s versatile flavor pairs well with savory elements like rosemary, bacon, and brussel sprouts as well as sweet ingredients like cinnamon, apples, and golden raisins.

 

Good in a mug or a bowl

 
Butternut Squash Soup
 
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 c. water
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
3 c. organic chicken stock
1 inch ginger root, diced
1 honeycrisp apple, peeled and diced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt to taste
 
  1. In a large pot, saute the yellow onion until soft.
  2. Add water and butternut squash, heat on med-high until squash becomes tender.
  3. Add ginger, apple and 2 c. chicken stock. Simmer for a bit until the squash is really soft.
  4. Using a blender or immersion blender, begin processing the soup to desired thickness, adding additional stock when necessary.
  5. With the blended soup in the pot, stir in spices.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some Plantain Chips.

Layers of Vegetables

Made this beauty for Thanksgiving. It was a hit! Creamy and delicious and FILLING. Use a mandoline slicer or attachment on a food processor if you don’t want to spend the whole day thinly slicing. Other than that, this recipe is a breeze.

Rutabaga, Green Apple, and Butternut Gratin with MacCashew Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

Gratins
5-6 rutabaga, peeled and thinly sliced
4 granny smith apples, cored and thinly sliced 
1 butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
1/4 cup fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil, warmed to liquid
Fresh ground black pepper
Fine ground sea salt

Cream Sauce
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, not soaked
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. On low/medium heat, slowly sauté red onion with sugar and a tbsp. of coconut oil until onions are brown and caramelized (be patient and careful not to burn.) About 10-15 min.
3. Oil a casserole dish and begin to layer the vegetable slices:
Rutabaga: brush coconut oil, fresh thyme, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Apple: brush coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Onion
Butternut squash: brush coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper
4. Whatever layer you finish on, top with a little more salt and pepper as well as some thyme. 
5. Bake for 45 mins. 
6. Make cream sauce while the gratin bakes. Drain cashews from soaking liquid and rinse. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour over gratin when done. 
recipe adapted from : Yum Universe

Rice? No. Cauliflower Rice? Yes!

Pulsing cauliflower in a food processor is a great way to mimic a rice-type texture in a recipe. I like this particular dish because it reminds me of the flavors of thanksgiving turkey stuffing. The herbs and the golden raisins really satisfy the savory cravings of the season. Try this recipe with different combinations of herbs, spices, nuts, and dried fruit. Dried cranberries and pecans would be great!

Excuse the poor lighting...

 

Cauliflower Rice with Toasted Almonds and Golden Raisins

 4 T grape seed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
5 cups cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
2 T fresh sage, chopped
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup sliced almonds
1 t sea salt

  1. In a large skillet , heat oil over medium heat
  2. Sauté onion over medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft
  3. Add celery to skillet and sauté for 5 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, place cauliflower in a food processor with the “S” blade and process until the texture of rice
  5. Add cauliflower, thyme, sage, cabbage and raisins to skillet, cover and cook 5-10 minutes, until soft, then add salt
  6. Toast almonds in a skillet, set aside
  7. Serve warm with almonds as garnish.

This recipe was a complete accident… something that happens more often than not, actually.

I work for a family and cook for them every night and the other day I found myself standing in front of the refrigerator trying to decide how to use the random ingredients available to me. The pesto burger stack was born. Being the Paleo Chef that I am, I was not about to try to wrap this burger in a bun but I wanted this dish to have a sense of completeness that is often lacking when you put a burger patty on a plate with a side of whatever. By grilling the butternut rounds with the burgers I created a harmonious visual presentation as well as a protein/starch element that helps the dish have some complexity. And let me say, the mixture of the sweet squash with the salty pesto is heavenly.

The Stack

Pesto Burger Stack

Pesto

3 c. fresh basil leaves

2-3 cloves garlic

¼ c. walnuts

¼ c. parmesan cheese

½ c. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

Stack

                1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into rounds

                1 lb. grass-fed ground beef

                1 small red onion, minced

                1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, add all pesto ingredients and puree until desired consistency, taste to adjust for more salt, garlic, or basil flavor as you desire.
  2. In a bowl, mix together red onion, beef, and garlic.
  3. Shape into patties about the same size as the butternut rounds.
  4. Oil the butternut rounds and put on a preheated grill on medium heat. About 5-10 min. each side depending on thickness. Test done-ness with a fork.
  5. Grill the burgers, about 5 min. each side on medium heat 
  6. Once the squash and burgers are done, arrange stacks on a plate. Squash on the plate, then spread pesto on squash and top with burger.  

 Option: top burger stack with some shaved parmesan.

Menu

The Feast

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

 Grapefruit Fennel Salad

Steamed Artichoke with Olive Oil Aioli

Coconut Honey Custard with Fresh Strawberries

 

Usually dinner consists of some pretty easy/thrown together/stuff in the fridge ingredients. But sometimesI feel like making an actual “planned” meal. Dessert and all. Here are the recipes and pictures to prove it’s awesomeness.

Skin On.

Skin On.

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

 2 Organic, Free-Range Chicken Breasts, skin on

1/2 c. mustard

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 c. honey

1 clove garlic

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

 fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

 

 

 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In a blender, add mustard, oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, pepepr, and salt. Blend until smooth.

3. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the honey mustard sauce over the chicken. Bake for 25-35 mins until cooked through and the skin/sauce has begun to carmelize.
 
Fennel and Citrus should get married

Fennel and Citrus should get married.

Grapefruit Fennel Salad

 2-3 c. baby salad greens

1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

 1-2 grapefruits, supremed (reserve liquid)

 1/4 c. olive oil Juice and zest of 1 lemon

sea salt to taste

 

 

 

 1. Place sliced onion in a bowl with some water, let it soak for 20 mins. Then pat dry.

 2. In a blender, mix juice, zest, and salt. On the lowest setting, slowly add the olive oil to incorporate evenly.

 3. Toss greens, dressing, onion, and fennel. Add avocado for garnish (and because it’s awesome).

It's fun to play with this food!

It's fun to play with this food!

Steamed Artichoke with Olive Oil Aioli

 1-2 artichokes, trimmed

2 egg yolks

 1/2 c. olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon, some zest.

3-4 cloves of crushed garlic (HINT: roast the garlic for an even better flavor!)

sea salt to taste  

 

 

 

 1. In a pot, place artichokes stem down and fill with about 2-3 inches of water. Cover and turn heat on med-high and steam for 35-40 mins.

 2.In a blender  or whisk by hand all remaining ingredients, except the olive oil. Add slowly, like the dressing while whisking (or blending).

Imagine some chopped strawberries and a light dusting of cocoa on top.

Imagine some chopped strawberries and a light dusting of cocoa on top.

Coconut Custard with Fresh Strawberries  

4 Eggs

 2 c. Coconut Milk

1/3 c. Honey

1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract

Sea Salt

 5 strawberries, chopped for garnish

 

 

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Blend all ingredients except strawberries.

2. Divide custard into oven-safe ramekins and place on a baking sheet/pan. Fill the baking with water and bake for 1 hour.