Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paleo Sesame Chicken

The other day I came across a recipe for Sesame Chicken that I had made in the past (non-Paleo), and I figured I could totally adjust it for the Paleo lifestyle.  This was already a healthier version than take-out (this dish is my favorite thing to get for take-out by the way), and it wasn't too hard to adjust.  This was a great meal and very successful- not to mention pretty easy.  Here is what I did:

Paleo Sesame Chicken
(serves about 3)
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 2 T tamari sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 T arrowroot powder
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 2″ chunks
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 c broccoli florets, steamed (on stove or microwave)
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, grated (for "rice")
In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, tamari sauce, and garlic.  In a large bowl, whisk together egg white and arrowroot powder until it makes a smooth batter.  Season the chicken chunks with salt and pepper, then toss them into the batter mixture and coat evenly.  This will help them get a "fried" texture.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken.  Cook for 3-4 minutes per side until the chunks are browned and cooked through.  Turn the heat down to low and add the prepared sauce and green onions.  Toss to combine.  Stir in the broccoli and combine well.

In a separate skillet, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the grated cauliflower and stir around about 3-4 minutes, or until heated through.  Scoop some "rice" onto the plate and serve the chicken over top.
This was really yummy and had a nice texture and tasty sauce.  My husband noted that the broccoli soaked up a lot of sauce and got really flavorful too, which was nice.  Overall, a great meal and an excellent alternative to unhealthy non-Paleo take-out!  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kale Chips

So, I know that kale has been the "hot" new health food item for a while now, but I am still getting into it.  I decided it was finally time to make some kale chips, since they seem to be all the rage.  There are probably a ton of recipes for kale chips out there, and I am sure they are all basically the same, because they are so easy.  The difference comes when you add different flavors or spices, and I decided to go with garlic.  I found that the prep was the most time consuming part, but other than that, they are a piece of cake to make.  Here is what I did:

Kale Chips
(makes 1-2 cups)
  • 1 head kale
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 t garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Cut up the head of kale by removing the ribs and chopping it into 1-1/2 inch pieces.  (This took the most time).  Use a salad spinner to thoroughly wash and dry the kale.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper and arrange the kale pieces on it.  Drizzle on the oil and sprinkle the salt and garlic all over.  Toss the kale so all the pieces are coated, then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, tossing at least once.  Allow to cool, and start snacking!
The only downside of this method is that it is a fair amount of work for not a ton of result.  Even starting with a whole head of kale, you end up with just 1-2 cups of chips, since kale shrinks down so much when cooked.  It is more economical than buying them pre-made, but will take time for sure.  But they are delicious and a great, healthy snack!  You should definitely try this out, and use any spices you want- though the garlic is great.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Paleo Swedish Meatballs

So, I came up with the idea for this meal a few days ago when I had a pound of ground beef and no other creative meal ideas.  I forgot how much we love Swedish meatballs!  I found a few recipe ideas and decided to use this one as my main inspiration.  The meatballs ended up being super yummy, and the gravy was surprisingly fantastic.  It is always a bit difficult to make a good sauce with Paleo ingredients, but the arrowroot powder was a perfect thickener.  All in all, this was a very enjoyable meal!  Here is what I did:

Paleo Swedish Meatballs
(serves 3-4)
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t parsley
  • 1 c beef or chicken broth
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Toss in the diced onion and saute for 5-10 minutes, until soft.  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with the cooked onions, almond flour, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley.  Form the mixture into little meatballs (mine were about 1 1/2 in diameter) and place them on a baking pan/sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. 

While the meatballs are baking, heat the same skillet back to medium heat.  Add the broth and arrowroot powder to the skillet and whisk together until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Once the meatballs are out of the oven, add them (and the meatball juice) to the sauce to coat them, then serve!

These are great with a veggie side, and would also be nice with some zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.  Try them out, and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Paleo Mexican Meatloaf

Another Pinterest-inspired meal. Are you getting tired of hearing that??  This is my life during the summer!  Anyway I saw this idea and was like, why have I never thought of this??  The idea of making meatloaf using different flavor profiles is just genius.  If you are making a ground beef-based meal anyway, why not make it in meatloaf form?  My mind is blown.  Anyway, the original recipe I based this on is already fairly "clean" and healthy, but I did adjust it a bit to be Paleo.  The one thing I will admit though, is that I did use some cheese.  I know!  Dairy is not cool! But I really wanted some, and I went easy!  But if you are better at Paleo than I am, just leave it out.  (Of course it tastes better WITH, but what can you do??).  Overall, this was really tasty and a nice change from typical Mexican meals.  Here is what I did:

Paleo Mexican Meatloaf
(serves 3-4)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c chunky salsa (make sure it is all natural)
  • 3-4 T taco seasoning
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • optional: 1/4 c grated cheddar cheese
  • toppings: chopped lettuce/spinach, tomatoes, olives, guacamole
Preheat oven to 350 degree.  In a large bowl, combine egg, ground beef, taco seasoning, almond flour and salsa until combined.  Press the mixture into a loaf/bread pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until cooked through.  If you are using cheese, sprinkle it on top before baking the last 5 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.  Serve topped with your favorite taco toppings, like lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and guacamole.

This was a really fun way to do Mexican food, and I would definitely recommend you try it out!  And remember, if you want it to taste great and stay Paleo, leave out the cheese.  If you want it to taste AWESOME but cheat a little bit, add the cheese.  But as always, enjoy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sweet Potato Crispy Crunchies

Like many of my recipes, I think I found the idea for this one on Pinterest.  I spend so much time on Pinterest though, who can even remember what is what??  I'm starting to think that I need the school year to start soon so I don't waste so much of my life on Pinterest anymore!  Anyway, I love this because they are super versatile.  You know those fried onion straws that you can top steaks and salads with at steakhouses?  These actually taste a lot like those, but obviously MUCH healthier.  Oh, and they are super easy to make.  Here is what I did:

Sweet Potato Crispy Crunchies
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • optional: any other spices you want

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Use a julienne peeler (my favorite new tool) to slice up the potato into matchstick-like slices.  If you don't have this tool, go buy one, OR you can just cut the potato with a knife.  Just be sure to get super thin little slices. Place slices to a bowl and add in the olive oil and salt. Stir it all around until coated, then spread the slices onto a baking sheet/roasting pan.  Try to spread them out as evenly as possible.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes, but be sure to take them out and stir/toss them around every 10 minutes or so.  By about 30 minutes they should start to get crispy.  Remove them from the oven and allow them to sit for a few minutes (they will continue to cook). Take out any black charred pieces.

They should look like those yummy fried onion straws, but will taste sweeter and of course are healthier.  They are best when you use them right away,  but you can store leftovers in a sealed bag/container in the fridge.  I used these as a topper for tilapia, and I have topped spinach salad with them as well.  My husband has accused me of being obsessed with sweet potatoes, since I have been using these a lot lately, but they are a great addition to so many meals!  Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Paleo Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I love gnocchi.  I discovered it a few years ago, and I became obsessed.  It is just so delicious and chewy and wonderful.  Unfortunately, they are traditionally made from regular white potatoes, which are generally unacceptable in the Paleo diet.  So, I decided to try to create them out of sweet potatoes, since those are much more Paleo-friendly.  I found a few ideas online and used this recipe as the basis for my creation, with some changes. This was fairly time consuming (about 45 minutes start to finish), but I was very happy with the result.  It wasn't too difficult, and if you love gnocchi like I do, you should definitely try it.  Here is what I did:

Paleo Sweet Potato Gnocchi
(serves 3-4)
  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes (2 cups mashed)
  • 1 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 1/4 c almond meal
  • 3 T arrowroot powder

Poke holes in the sweet potato(es) with a fork and cook in the microwave on HIGH for about 5-6 minutes, or until softened.  Once cool to the touch, cut in half and use a spoon to scoop out the insides.  You want about 2 cups of the insides.
In a bowl, or stand mixer (which makes it easier), combine potato insides, salt, pepper, and almond meal.  Mix until well combined.  Add in the arrowroot powder and mix well until it starts to create a dough-like consistency.  You want it to be fairly thick and kind of like play-dough. 

Spread out a pastry mat or make a nice clean surface.  Take some arrowroot powder and coat the surface.  It is also a good idea to put some on your fingers.  Take a scoopful of the dough and roll it out on the surface to make a long snake-like roll.  Repeat this with the rest of the dough until you have a bunch of little snakes.  During this process, you will likely need to keep adding more arrowroot powder to the surface and your fingers since it will probably start to get sticky.
Use a knife to cut little 1-2 inch long bits from each roll.  I also like to take a fork to make the little indentations on each gnocchi piece, just so they look professional of course.  Meanwhile, get a large pot of water boiling on the stove.  Once it is boiling, cook the gnocchi in batches.  I tossed in about 6-8 gnocchi at a time and let them cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate/surface. 
Once they are out of the boiling water, they will hopefully look like this (or even better!):
To serve these gnocchi, I cooked some bulk sausage and sauteed garlic and mushrooms in olive oil. I mixed it all together and tossed in the gnocchi, which I will admit, made a bit of a mess.  The gnocchi got a little sticky and gooey when I stirred them around with the other ingredients, but they did stay in tact fairly well.  I would advise that you do not stir them around in your meal, but try to plate them first with the other components on top or on the side.  Regardless, the meal tasted great!
If you love gnocchi, try this out for sure.  You can pair this with red sauce as a typical pasta dish, make an alfredo type meal, or do an olive oil sauteed dish like I did.  The sky is the limit!  Enjoy!

Prosciutto Melon Summer Salad

So, I am classifying this meal as a lunch, even though technically I had it for dinner.  I mean, it could go either way.  I was inspired by the idea of making those melon bites wrapped in prosciutto slices, except I felt like that was more of a dinner-party appetizer thing.  And I am at home alone (well, with the dog).  No party here!  But I may as well make a delicious meal for myself!  This took about 5 minutes to put together and was really delicious.  It's one of those sweet & savory meals that I love, not to mention really healthy!  It contains a couple super foods, and is light and summery.  Try it for lunch OR dinner.  Here is what I did:

Prosciutto Melon Summer Salad
(serves 1)
  • 1-2 c baby spinach
  • 1 c cantaloupe chunks
  • 1-2 prosciutto slices, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper
Fill a plate/bowl with the spinach and top with cantaloupe, prosciutto, and avocado.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil over top and season with sea salt & pepper (tip: go easy on the salt, as the prosciutto may be pretty salty itself).  Serve it up!

If you want to serve this to more people than just yourself, obviously you can double/multiply the amounts, but this was great for my meal.  Enjoy!