Dinner Out – Red Robin

I know what you’re thinking – what?!  Red Robin? That doesn’t seem very healthy or paleo.  Isn’t that the place with the sky-high milkshakes and ice cream pie?  Why yes, yes it is.  But, they’ve also redone their menu to make it more paleo-friendly.  My husband is in the UK right now, which means that I’ve got six (SIX!) days home with our kids.  Alone.  Oh, and it’s summer break.  Who is the genius that decided to take most of these 6 days off?  That’s right, it was me.

Anyway, enough whining.  My 7 year old son insisted on going to Red Robin and I obliged, thinking “oh, great.  I’m going to have to eat something I don’t want to or beg the waiter to do something special for me”.  I was super surprised to find a bunch of great options on the menu!

I ordered a bunless guacamole burger minus the cheese and mayo with a side of sweet potato fries.  Sure, they were definitely Alexia’s fries and the beef was definitely NOT grass-fed, but the burger came wrapped in lettuce, the fries were hot and my kids were happy!

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Bacon-Apple Burgers

Today, my husband started the day with the following challenge… “How come at-home burgers never taste as good as restaurant ones?”.  I set forth to prove him wrong!

These were really good as bunless burgers, and even got the thumbs up from my husband and 7 year old.  Now, I don’t know if he would go so far as to say they are better than restaurant ones, but these were pretty darned good.  I piled mine under avocado, tomatoes and lettuce, with a side of terra chips, so you can’t really see too much of the actual burger.

The original recipe for these burgers calls for grated apples, but I liked the idea of little chunks of apples, so I chopped them.

Bacon-Apple Burgers

1 lb ground beef (We used 84% lean)

1/2-1 cup finely chopped, cooked bacon

1/2-1 cup finely chopped (or grated) apples (peeled and cored)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Condiments (Avocado, tomato, onion and lettuce, in my case)

1. Cook your bacon until crispy in a large skillet.  Once finished, pat the bacon dry and let cool.  Once cool, finely chop

2. While the bacon is cooking, peel, core and chop your apple

3. Mix the beef, bacon, apple, egg, salt and pepper together until the bacon and apples are well distributed throughout the mixture.

4. Form into 6 patties (I’ve heard cutting out a small hole in the middle keeps them from shrinking too much and helps them cook faster)

5. Fry in the bacon grease (or in coconut oil if this irks you) over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until desired done-ness

6. Pile your condiments on top of your burger

7. Dig in!


Holy Beef Roast, Batman!

I have never made a good roast, until my friend Kim gave me her amazing roast recipe last year (her mom’s recipe).  I tried it and it turned out AMAZING – full of flour-y, cream of mushroom-y, potato-y deliciousness.  I love that recipe.  Unfortunately, it’s about as far from Paleo as you can get.  I have tried a couple of other roast recipes but nothing compared.  Until now.  This is a mostly paleo recipe (the balsamic vinegar is questionable) – you could probably use cider vinegar in place of balsamic, but I’m not that much of a purist.

What I really like about this recipe is that I was able to prep everything the night before and just toss it all in the slow cooker in the morning.  As mentioned in my previous post, I am up pretty early and the last thing I want to do is brown a roast and make a sauce!  Forgive the poor photos from the last few posts – I am going to get a better camera soon, I promise!  But for now, you’ll have to trust met that this is delicious.

Balsamic Roast with Sweet Onions

1 3-4 lb chuck roast (You can get pretty great deals on grass-fed beef at Central Market if you are in the Seattle area)

2 tbsp lawry’s seasoning salt (You can replace with sea salt and pepper to be more orthodox paleo)

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 lb Cioppini Mushrooms, quartered (these are the best part, so put in as many as you like!)

1 cup parsnip, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

2-3 large sweet onions, cut into thick slices

Sauce:

1 cup chicken broth (you can substitute beef broth)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (you can substitute cider vinegar)

1/2 cup tomato sauce

Prep (night before):

1. Mix the seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper – rub all over roast.  Cover, refrigerate overnight (this is like a dry brine or dry marinade and will help create a crust and seal in the flavor without browning the meat).  Chop the vegetables and put into a container, so they will be ready in the morning.

2. To make the sauce, reduce the cup of chicken broth over medium-high heat to 1/2 cup.  Remove from heat, cool slightly, then add vinegar and tomato sauce.  Let cool and put in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

3. In the morning, put the vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot, put the seasoned roast at the top, then pour the sauce over the top of everything.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Alternatively, you can do all of the same steps and cook in the oven at 300 for 3-4 hours (1 hour per lb of meat).

4. Once the roast is cooked, you can take the extra delicious step of reducing the sauce over medium-high heat (I would skim the fat off the top before reducing) until the mixture is crackling and a spatula leaves a wide trail behind it (picture below).


Shabu Shabu

My husband and kids LOVE sushi.  I mean LOVE it.  I think we would eat sushi every meal if it wasn’t so expensive.  A few months before I started eating Paleo, I noticed that I was getting really bad stomach aches when we went out for sushi.  At first, I thought it might be a tinge of food poisoning, then I thought it might be the rice.  Either way, my husband was NOT PLEASED when I told him that sushi might be off the menu permanently.  We found a sushi place near our house called Sushi Maru and decided to give sushi one last try.  When we got there, we found that, in addition to some pretty fantastic rolls (single tear) they also offered Shabu Shabu, a kind of Japanese Hot Pot incorporating Fresh Veggies, a variety of meat options and a couple of broth options.

I ordered a basic shabu shabu with beef (the beef comes in thinly sliced frozen strips) it and was delicious.  If you haven’t had a hot pot meal before, the waiter typically brings out a steaming bowl of broth, usually with some type of fish or miso base (to be paleo you would want to go with the fish base).  You boil the broth (usually on some type of table top burner), then swish the veggies or meat in the boiling broth.  Then you dip the veggies or meat in some type of sesame-based sauce.

I am not too sure about the sauce (next time we go I am going to ask if it has soy), but the rest of the meal is super paleo-friendly, super healthy and very delicious!