Monday, May 27, 2013

Paleo Baked Zucchini Sticks

I am always looking for different side dishes and vegetables that are delicious and of course Paleo friendly. The other day I wanted to make something that would be kind of like "fries" or something along those lines, but I've already done sweet potato fries.  I decided to do something with zucchini, since I always love zucchini!  I found some recipes online, but pretty much I just made this up along the way. It was super easy and delicious! Here is what I did:

Paleo Baked Zucchini Sticks
(serves 2-3)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 c almond flour (estimate)
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Cut the zucchini into chunks/wedges. Spread out the zucchini chunks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss them around until well coated.  Sprinkle the almond flour all over until they are coated, and then sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Toss the zucchini in the coating until they are nicely coated.  Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.  Here they are right out of the oven:
These will come out a little soggy rather than crispy, but if you shorten the time or use thicker chunks, they will be a bit crispier.  Regardless, they tasted great! 

We ate these with my Paleo Steak Fingers (which are also coated in almond flour breading), so it was kind of like a "fried food" meal, but a lot healthier.  I would recommend these with just about any meal though! Delicious!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Paleo 5 Minute Chocolate Almond Butter Cake

This dessert was really inspired by the Paleo Chocolate Cake (in Under 5 Minutes!) that I made a few weeks back, and is very similar.  Here's what happened though- I wanted to make it for my dessert tonight, but I didn't have very much almond flour... so I decided to make some substitutions and see what would happen.  The cakes taste very similar, but this one is a bit thicker and I like the texture (and flavor) a bit better than the original- you can taste the almond as well as the chocolate.  Try them both and see what you think!

Paleo 5 Minute Chocolate Almond Butter Cake
(serves 1... OR 2)
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T raw honey
  • 1 T almond butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • dash salt
In a mug, mix all the ingredients until well combined.  Cook in the microwave on high heat for 2 minutes.  That's it!  Eat it up!

I may keep playing around with this same basic microwave cake recipe, so stay tuned for more recipes!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

So I guess I love cauliflower now, since I have been using it in all sorts of meals lately.  Well, I decided to finally just make it the good old fashioned way- roasted in the oven.  This is crazy easy, delicious, and of course, healthy!  You can't go wrong with that.  Here is what I did:

Oven Roasted Cauliflower
(serves 2-3)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 T olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.   Arrange cauliflower florets on a baking sheet/pan. Drizzle olive oil over top.  Sprinkle on some garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Use a spatula to mix it all around until it is all well coated. Place it in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  You may want to take the pan out halfway through to mix it all up again.

I served this with some herb-coated baked chicken, and it was delicious.  This would be a great side for almost any meal, and it will take almost no prep time!  Try it out for yourself!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bacon Bowl BLT's

Ohhhh, bacon. Who doesn't love bacon?  In our house, we definitely love it, and I am always looking for new ways to use it.  I wanted to make some kind of bacon bowls/cups for a while now, and I had seen different ideas online for making these.  Many people use muffin tins, or the bottoms of muffin tins, for shaping the bowls, but I wanted something a little bigger.  I wanted to make more of a salad bowl out of bacon (I know, those don't typically go together in our minds...), so I decided to go bigger.  This did not take too much time, but it did take some trial and error, and a LOT of bacon.  I realize that some of you may not be ready to eat 10 slices of bacon in one meal, and therefore, feel free to go smaller.  I just ended up eating only about half of my "bowl," but my hubby ate the whole thing and said he could've eaten more... of course.  So, take a look at my method, and try for yourself!  Here is what I did:

Bacon Bowl BLT's
(serves 2)
  • 20 slices of bacon (or less if you aren't crazy)
  • 1/2 head of lettuce, washed and chopped/torn
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • Italian dressing (or any Paleo-friendly dressing)
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped (OPTIONAL)
First, grab a baking sheet and line it with foil.  Take your bacon, and create a basket weave pattern with 5 strips vertical and 5 strips horizontal.  Tuck under the ends if you want.  Make 2 of these on your baking sheet, like this:

Place the baking sheet in a cold oven, then turn it on to 375 degrees.  Allow the bacon to bake for 15-20 minutes, until it is cooked, but not crispy.  You want it to still be a bit flimsy.  Remove the pan from the oven.  Next, you will shape them into bowls.  Grab a small/medium bowl (I used ramekins), turn it upside down, and cover it with a paper towel (or stack 2 for more absorption).  Place this onto a plate.  Using spatulas, carefully pick up one of the basket-weaved squares and drape it over the paper-towel covered upside-down bowl.  You want it to mold into the shape of the bowl!  Mine looked like this:

Place the plate with the bowl/bacon weave into the microwave for 3 minutes (you may want to start with 2 if your microwave is powerful).  You may also want to cover this with another paper towel to avoid splatter messes.  The microwave should finish cooking the bacon and make it hard and crispy, like this:

Repeat this with the second bowl, until they are both cooked and hardened.  Carefully flip the bowl over and off the paper-towels onto a clean plate.  Voila!  You have a bacon bowl! Fill it with your lettuce and top with the tomato and dressing. 

Doesn't that look delicious and super bacon-y?? This is a great version of a BLT for people not eating grains/bread, and even though it is a LOT of bacon, it's really delicious.  We also topped ours with chopped chicken, which made it a more complete meal, in my opinion.  And like I said, you don't have to eat the whole bowl in one sitting- I saved half of mine with some extra lettuce and tomato for another meal!  Or of course, you can try this with muffin tins and make them a bit smaller with less bacon. Try it out for yourselves and enjoy!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Smashed & Roasted Crispy Potatoes

Okay, so I know that a lot of people don't consider potatoes to be Paleo.  They are carb-heavy and starchy so if you are trying to lose weight on this diet, you should avoid them.  BUT, technically they follow the guidelines in that they are roots/tubers just like sweet potatoes, so I decided they are fine for us.  Plus, these potatoes are freakin' delicious.  I found the idea for these on Pinterest and then went to my trusty favorite, the Pioneer Woman for her recipe.  Now here's the deal-  I sort of messed these up and they did not look as beautiful as hers (I can never make them look as good as the pictures!).  I am pretty sure that I did not let them cook in the pot enough, so they were not soft enough to smash neatly, so they turned into a bit of a huge mess.  Instead of individual little smashed potatoes, I ended up with a baking tray full of smashed potato guts (see photos below).  Luckily, the lack of prettiness did not affect the taste or texture, and these were amazing.  My husband agreed- these were probably the best potatoes I have ever made.  The fact that they are essentially twice-cooked makes them super crispy and delicious.  I highly recommend these to anyone, including those who are not hard-core Paleo, just regular Paleo.  Here is what I did:

Smashed & Roasted Crispy Potatoes
(serves 3-4)
  • 12 whole small red or new potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of herbs, freshly chopped or dried (rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the potatoes (make sure they are fully covered) and cook them until they are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. 

At this point, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  On a baking sheet/tray, drizzle olive oil all over (the bottom should be fairly coated). Place cooked potatoes (make sure they are soft enough to smash!) on the cookie sheet.  With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes.  (This is where mine didn't turn out so well- if they are soft enough, they should smash easily, but if not, they may just all smash together in a big mess- oh well!).  Either brush the tops of each crushed potato with more olive oil, or if they are already all messy, just mix them around in the oil with a spatula.  Sprinkle potatoes with salt, pepper, and chopped herbs.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

This is what mine looked like right out of the oven.  Obviously, they are not pretty little individual potatoes, but they sure tasted good!  I served these with grilled steaks and balsamic mushrooms, and the meal was amazing.  This is one to try, and hopefully yours will turn out prettier than mine!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Paleo Lemon & Dill Chicken (with Cauliflower Rice)

This is another one of those Pinterest-inspired meals- I found it there and it looked really good!  It was almost totally Paleo already, just had to swap out the flour that this recipe used as a thickener for the sauce.  A few days back I bought some arrowroot powder, which can be used like corn starch or flour, so I figured it would work out well as a substitute for flour. It definitely worked, and this meal turned out delicious!  Here is what I did:

Paleo Lemon & Dill Chicken
(serves 2-4)
  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person)
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 2 t arrowroot powder
  • 2 T fresh dill, chopped (or 1 T dried dill)
  • 1 T lemon juice
Heat a large skillet over medium-high, and pour in about 1/2 T olive oil.  Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt & pepper. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Reduce the heat under the pan to medium and add another 1/2 T olive oil.  Add onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes until cooked.  In a measuring cup, combine chicken broth, lemon juice, and dill.  Pour the mixture into the pan and whisk/stir around for a few minutes, until bubbly.  Add the arrowroot powder and stir for a few more minutes until it thickens.  Return the chicken to the pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, at least 5 minutes. 

Before you serve, taste the sauce and season with additional salt & pepper if desired.  To serve, plate the chicken and pour some sauce over top.  Garnish each breast with extra dill.

I served this chicken with cauliflower rice and peas (officially NOT Paleo- oops!), but it would also be great with asparagus or green beans.  It was light and refreshing and is a nice spring/summertime meal (even though it was actually snowing in May when I made this...).  I hope you will try it out and enjoy!