Roasted brussel sprouts & bacon with sweet potato slices

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

Olive Oil

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.

 

Enjoy!


Greek-style Lamb Meatballs

So I am now 35 days into eating paleo.  So far it hasn’t really been that tough!  Mornings are the toughest time for me, but instead of splurging on a bagel or something, I decided my “cheats” are probably going to be more in the composition of my meals.  For example – it’s really hard for me to eat animal protein first thing in the morning.  I get really burnt on eating eggs and don’t like eating meat with breakfast.  I find that snacking on a Larabar first thing makes my mornings so much easier, especially if I am going to go work out before work.  I am definitely noticing I have had a lot more energy for the past month and my stomach issues are all but gone.  I have almost zero cravings that can’t be satisfied by paleo-friendly meals.  The only one I still notice occasionally is the craving for baked goods.  I made coconut bread, but I just can’t get used to the texture of coconut flour, it kind of sticks in my throat.

Any how, enough about all of that – how about a delicious recipe?  Here is a good one I found on http://www.everydaypaleo.com.  Using your stand-mixer (if you’ve got one) makes this all go a lot faster.  I also used my small food processor/chopper instead of chopping everything, which made prep very easy.

I ate the meatballs next to a greek salad and it was a wonderful, flavorful, super-satisfying meal.  Enjoy!

Greek-style Lamb Meatballs

Makes 15-20 meatballs, depending on size

2 tbsp fresh chives (about 4)

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup parsley leaves

10 kalamata (greek) olives

1 lb ground lamb

1/2 lb ground beef

1 egg, room temp

1 tbsp dried mint

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp cinnamon (I know, right?  But trust me, it makes sense once you taste it)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 deg F

1. Put the first 4 ingredients in a small food processor or automatic chopper.   Blend until everything is finely minced.

2. Put everything else in your stand mixer, or in a large bowl.  Mixed on medium speed until well combined.

3. Shape into balls and place on a baking sheet with a cooling rack (so the meatballs cook evenly without turning) or a broiling pan, so the fat drips off the meatballs.  If you use a broiling pan, turn the meatballs halfway through so they brown on all sides.

4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the meatballs)


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).


Dinner Menu for 2/20/2012-2/24/2012

Just got my new copy of Bon Appetit!  So many good paleo friendly recipes in there.  Can’t wait to try them this week!!  If they are good, I promise to share the recipe.  If they are gross, I promise to not.

Monday:

  • Leftover Carnitas, Pico de Gallo and Avocado slices

Tuesday:

  • Pork tenderloin in Peppercorn White Wine Sauce
  • Oven-Roasted Cauliflower

Wednesday:

  • Grilled Steak Kabobs
  • Vegetables a la Barigoule with Vanilla

Thursday:

  • Wasabi salmon with Bok Choy, Green Cabbage and Shitakes
  • Roasted Pineapple with coconut cream, raw honey and pistachios

Friday:


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!


Paleo Pork Carnitas

This is one of my family’s all-time favorite recipes.  It’s a recipe I have always made for dinner parties and get togethers and it’s a great recipe for leftovers!

Until we moved into our current house, I pretty much stuck to standard Mexican-American fare, including hard-shell tacos, tostados, and taco salads.  We discovered a restaurant by our house called Taqueria Guaymas, and after a little encouragement from my husband, tried a more traditional, soft taco.  I was hooked!  This place has the most amazing options: Carne Asada, Picadillo, Chicken, BBQ Pork, Carnitas, Prawn, Veggie, and on and on.  The first time I tried carnitas, I was HOOKED.  The perfect mix of greasy, crispy, onion-y (that’s a word, right?) glorious taco.

A few years later, on browsing through my Cook’s Illustrated, I found this recipe and have been making it regularly ever since.  Today, I was feeling a little bit of Paleo-diet induced boredom and thought “hmmm….I wonder” – I pulled out my recipe book and, voila!  a paleo meal fit for a queen.

Pile up the pork on a plate, add guacamole and pico de gallo and this will be delicious.  You can also put all of this on top of lettuce and you will have a great taco salad-style meal.

Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

Serves 6

Pork:

1 (3.5 – 4 lb) pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8 in thick, cut into 2 in chunks – I usually buy Boneless Pork Shoulder Ribs (much cheaper and easier to find)

sea salt and pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 medium lime, halved

1 medium orance, halved

2 cups chicken broth (or water if you don’t have chicken broth)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and head oven to 300 degrees.  Combine pork, sea salt (to taste) and pepper (to taste), cumin, onion, and bay leaves in a dutch oven.  Juice the lime and orange halves and place juices and spent fruit halves into the dutch oven.  Pour water over pork mixture and fruit halves.  Cover and place in oven.  Cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours.

2. Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a bowl, discarding onion, bay leaves and fruit.  Place pot over high heat and simmer liquid, stirring frquently until thick and syrupy (heatsafe spatula should leave a wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes.  You should have about 1 cup of reduced liquid.

3. Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half.  Fold in reduced liquid.  Spread pork in an even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan.  Place on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.  Flip pieces of meat and continue to broil 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Guacamole

1 large or 2 medium ripe avocados

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 roma tomato, diced

1 clove garlic, diced (or pressed)

1 small shallot, diced

sea salt and pepper to taste

Dump everything into a bowl.  Mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork (I use my pastry cutter).  Add sea salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon of each).

Pico de Gallo

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1 medium shallot, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

1 tablespoon lime juice

sea salt and pepper to tase

Mix all of the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate for minimum 1/2 hour.  Keeps for 2-4 days in refrigerator.