Greek Smorgasboard

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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!

Greek Chicken

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!

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Greek Salad

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

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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!


Avocado Chicken Salad (aka Chicken Guacamole)

Hey friends – it’s been a busy few weeks.  7 year old baseball has begun, work’s been crazy and we have an almost 2 year old who is crazy cute but a wild one!

Here is a quick dinner or lunch recipe you can whip up in no time for busy nights – the bonus is that it’s delicious too!

Avocado Chicken Salad

1/2 cup grilled chicken, chopped into small pieces

1/2 – 1 whole avocado

1/4 cup red onion or shallot, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp lime juice

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1. Put everything in a bowl

2. Mash it up

3. Eat it


Poached Egg Arugula Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette Dressing

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!


Lunch: Curry Chicken Salad

I didn’t even think to take a picture before I gobbled this one up – but it’s quick, easy and very delicious for lunch.  Here is the recipe:

Curry Chicken Salad

Serves 4

1 pack thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 tsp curry powder

Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

1 head butter lettuce

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 whole thinly sliced bell pepper

1. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and curry power evenly over both sides of chicken pieces

2. On an indoor grill pan, grill for 4-5 mins per side

3. While chicken is grilling, chop vegetables and pile in a bowl

4. Once chicken is finished, chop into 1/4 inch thick slices and put over the vegetables

5. Pour dressing over everything

6. Take a picture for your blog, THEN eat

Dressing

2 tbsp high-quality unfiltered olive oil

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1/2 clove minced garlic

Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Whisk everything together in a bowl until emulsified.


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!