Did I mention that my husband is in the UK for 6 whole days? I’ve been trying to manage the house, keep the kids entertained, feed them healthy food, and try to stay SANE. I am not terribly good at any of these things, which is why the house looks like this:
I think I succeeded with dinner tonight, though. This dinner won rave reviews from the crowd, even the picky 2 year old audience member who kept begging for “more please”. That never happens. This is super easy and very low-maintenance, but tastes like a fussy meal. If you follow the cooking instructions, you can cook both the sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts at the SAME TIME. In the SAME OVEN. Even if your oven was made in 1963. The sweet potatoes are divine. Crispy and a little salty on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and all around delicious. Plus, they are so pretty!
Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Bacon
1-2 lbs brussel sprouts
1 large shallot, sliced thin
1/4 lb thick-sliced bacon, chopped (I like hemplers applewood smoked bacon)
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt & pepper to taste
splash of balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
2. Put everything in a bowl, stir to coat
3. Put in a large enough baking dish so the brussel sprouts are in one layer
4. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 mins
Roasted sweet potato slices
Sweet potatoes or yams, sliced into 1/2 in thick slices
Sea Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 deg
2. Toss sweet potato slices with olive oil & sea salt
3. spread in a single layer on a baking sheet
4. bake for 40 mins, flipping once
If you want to cook them at the same time, the brussel sprouts should cook on the bottom shelf and the sweet potatoes on the top shelf.
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!
Sorry it’s been so long. We’ve had a busy month! We took a lovely little vacation to San Diego – got to spend most of the time in the sun, playing on the beach, eating great seafood and having an all around good time. Unfortunately, we also all picked up a wicked-bad chest cold that laid us all out for a week. I went to Detroit for work, pulled a muscle and blah, blah, blah. Enough excuses, right? Get to the food!
Through all of that, I’ve done okay on paleo. I cheated here and there, but overall have done a pretty decent job sticking to the plan. I really noticed when I strayed, and spent most of those nights with stomach aches and night sweats. But, this weekend I recommitted to the effort and I am fully back on the wagon. This morning, I went back to my old standby, the weekday pancake, and for lunch, ate a chicken sausage and avocado. After tonight’s scrumptious dinner, I hope to be feeling 100% soon!
You can throw whatever you want at this dinner. I bought some fresh baba ganoush from our local market (you can make your own – here is a good recipe), cut up some crudites (cucumber & orange peppers – made even more delicious by their $0.99 price tag), and threw together my staple greek salad. My husband and son love tzatziki sauce so we picked some of that up too, but I abstained from eating any (much to my chagrin). The key to this recipe is getting the chicken just right – I think this pretty much nails it. Bon Appetit!
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large juicy lemon)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 heads of pressed garlic
2 tbsp oregano
sea salt & pepper to taste
1. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano & salt & pepper together in a medium sized bowl. Add chicken, toss to coat. Marinate 1-4 hours in the refrigerator.
2. Heat the grill to 400ish degrees – when heated, put pieces of chicken on the grill. Grill 5-7 minutes on each side until slightly charred and cooked through.
3. Serve with greek salad, lettuce, and whatever other yummies you want!
1 Red pepper
1/2 large sweet yellow or red onion (I prefer the flavor of a sweet onion to red, but red is more traditional)
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumber (Peeled or English)
Vinaigrette (any) or whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 clove pressed garlic, salt & pepper
1. Chop everything up
2. Put it all in a bowl with the dressing
3. Stir it
4. Let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving
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.
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)
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!
I didn’t cook tonight – too much to do! Instead, I went to Panera Bread, got the Cobb Salad with no cheese and no dressing. When we got home, I added olive oil and a little cider vinegar and sea salt. Yummy!
Hey! Sorry for the long-ish absence. I have been busy! I am on day 23 of this Paleo diet and have had a couple of tough days. Yesterday, I got super bored with the food – I wasn’t necessarily craving anything, but I just didn’t want to eat anything in the diet. I made it through the day and decided to start today with a fresh perspective. I totally switched up my morning meal and had a couple of slices of bacon, some orange slices, and half an avocado. It was a great way to start the day. For lunch, I had Chipotle and for dinner, I had this. It was soooo yummy. I discovered my love for poached eggs a couple of months ago at Bastille, a lovely french restaurant in Ballard and realized that it wasn’t really that hard to make them at home. I really don’t like hard-boiled eggs much, so poached ones are a good alternative. According to Mark Bittman, you can also use medium-boiled eggs as an easy alternative to a poached egg in any recipe.
Poached Egg Arugula Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette Dressing
1. Make your dressing: Whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (amazing!), 1/2 tsp sea salt and black pepper to taste
2. Assemble your salad – I used arugula (though any strong flavored green would be yummy) and chopped dried apricots
2. Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a deep, small skillet, add 1 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp vinegar and lower the heat to the point where it barely bubbles (Medium low). Break the egg into a shallow bowl, then slide the egg into the boiling water. Begin to spoon the water over the top of the egg.
2. Cook 3-5 minutes, just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over.
3. With a slotted spoon, remove the egg from the water and put it on the top of your salad
4. Pour the dressing over everything and eat it!