Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Onions, & Sweet Potatoes

I love a good pork tenderloin, and I also love pork with apples and onions.  So, this recipe is perfect for me!  I came across the idea for this one on Pinterest, but the original recipe involved a pork roast.  Now I won't lie- I do prefer tenderloin, but I also couldn't find a roast at the commissary last week, so I went with a tenderloin.  The result was delicious!  Pork always goes great with apples and onions, but I loved the addition of sweet potatoes as well.  The spices also give it a little kick, which makes the flavor profile even more interesting. The other great part of this meal?  It's essentially a one-pot (pan)-wonder.  Which makes prep and clean up super easy.  This is a really great easy but fancy meal that is also healthy and delicious!  Winning all around.  Here is what I did:

Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Onions, & Sweet Potatoes
(serves 2-3)
  • 1-1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1-2 apples, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • salt and pepper (additional)
  • olive oil (additional) 
Preheat broiler to HIGH (or 500 degrees).  Rub pork with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place on a foil-covered baking sheet and broil for about 15 minutes, flipping once.  You want to get a nice color on the meat.

While the meat broils, prepare apples, sweet potatoes, and onions.  Toss in a bowl with oil (enough to coat) and paprika, cumin, and chili powder.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pork is out, arrange the apples/veggies on the pan around the tenderloin.  Turn oven to 450 degrees and roast for 20-30 minutes.  The apples and sweet potatoes should be tender and the meat should be about 150 or 160 degrees internally.  Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest about 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve sliced pork with apples, sweet potatoes, onions, and some of the juice spooned over top.  This meal should be enough on its own, but you can add a salad for even more veggies.  We enjoyed it as it is.  The flavors are terrific, it is super tender and juicy, and healthy!  Try this one out for sure, and enjoy!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Paleo Chicken Tortilla Soup

This was a chilly October week, complete with a couple inches of snow, to my dismay.  But that means it was a perfect week for another soup recipe!  One of my favorites is Chicken Tortilla Soup because it can be pretty hearty AND is super delicious.  I have previously made a really yummy recipe from my idol, Pioneer Woman, and I decided to make a Paleo version of that.  You can find other Paleo versions, but this was so tasty to begin with, I knew it would be great.  The biggest change was just omitting the black beans and of course using Paleo tortilla chips instead of your typical tortillas.  Other than that, the flavors were great and this turned out amazing!  Here is what I did:

Paleo Chicken Tortilla Soup
(serves 6-8)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1-1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 T olive oil (additional)
  • 1 c diced onion
  • 1/2 c diced bell pepper (colors of choice)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 c (32 oz) chicken stock/broth
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 c hot water
  • 1 recipe Paleo tortilla chips
  • Garnishes: diced avocado, cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.  Drizzle 1 T olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle some of the spice mix all over both sides.  Set aside the rest of the mix.  Place chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.  Once it is out of the oven, use two forks to shred chicken and set aside.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Stir to cook for a minute or so, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil (you may have to crank up the heat a bit), then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes (the longer the better). Be sure to check seasonings and adjust as needed (you may need to add more salt or chili powder).

Turn off heat just before serving.  Break up a handful of your Paleo tortilla chips and gently stir them in.  Ladle into bowls, then top with your garnishes!
I served this soup with the rest of the tortilla chips and guacamole and we had a little fiesta on a chilly night.  It was fabulous!

This makes a LOT, and since there were only 2 of us, I had a lot leftover.  You can keep it in the fridge for a few days, but I also poured about half the soup into freezer bags to freeze for a future meal.  It will freeze well for a few weeks, and now we have another delicious meal ready to heat and eat!  If you love traditional Chicken Tortilla Soup, you will definitely love this one.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash & Kale Pesto Pizza

I promise this will be my last squash post for a while.  Okay, I can't promise that, but I AM out of squash in my house for now, so the posts may slow down at least.  So, I found this recipe on Pinterest a long time ago, and I pinned it because I definitely wanted to try it out. I love squash and I love pizza!  However, I had to make some changes to make it Paleo-friendly, and I wanted to make it a bit meatier, since my husband will only eat foods that contain MEAT.  Sadly, making any pizza Paleo-friendly requires omitting the cheese, which was quite a bummer.  Luckily, I packed it so full of toppings that the cheese was hardly missed.  But if you DO eat dairy, I would highly recommend you add some cheese- mozzarella, gruyere, parmesan, whatever you like.  It would be amazing.  Okay, back to my recipe.  You can switch this up in many ways that you want, but we really enjoyed this version.  Even my husband who "hates pesto" gobbled this up before he realized it was pesto.  This is a keeper for sure!  Here is what I did:

Butternut Squash & Kale Pesto Pizza
(serves 3-4)
  • 1 recipe Paleo pizza crust
  • 1/2 lb bulk sausage (optional)
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 butternut squash, diced
  • 1 c chopped kale (or spinach)
  • 1/4 c pesto sauce (make your own or check ingredients to ensure it is Paleo)
Heat a large skillet over medium on the stove.  If using sausage, cook until browned, then remove to a plate.  Replace the skillet back to heat, but lower it to medium-low.  Add 1 T olive oil, onion slices, and salt and cook slowly until caramelized.   These will take about 20-30 minutes to cook them down enough.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Prepare your pizza crust recipe and bake for 5-10 minutes, until it starts to brown.
Once the onions are caramelized, add the other T of olive oil, then add the squash to the pan.  Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through.  Season with more salt if desired.  Add the kale (or spinach), and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until it has wilted a bit.  Add the sausage back to the pan and stir it all together well.

Remove the crust from the oven and spoon the pesto over top.  Layer the sausage/vegetable mixture over top and spread it around evenly. Bake for about 5 more minutes, until everything has melded nicely together. (NOTE: If you are using cheese, sprinkle it on top at this point).

Remove from the oven and marvel at its beauty! Cut it up into slices and serve it up!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Acorn Squash Fries

These squash recipes are getting kind of out of control.  But here's the thing: it's Fall and there is so much squash around to use!  I really wasn't going to do so much with squash, but last weekend my husband and I went out to a pumpkin patch in hopes of picking out some pumpkins (which we did!).  But not only did the patch have great pumpkins, they also had a TON of fresh squash on the cheap.  I could not pass up the chance for fresh squash at great prices. Of course I had to get one of each- spaghetti, acorn, and butternut.  Secretly, I wish I had bought more (and I may have to go back).  These squash were the best I've ever had. Okay, enough about my love of squash.  I had an acorn squash, and I needed something great to make with it.  I decided to go with an idea I found via Pinterest and make fries!  Literally this is one of the easiest sides to make and you can use a lot of different veggies/starches to make a similar dish.  The acorn squash was a perfect choice and these were great!  Here is what I did:
Acorn Squash Fries
(serves 2-3)
  • 1 acorn squash
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic salt (or seasoning of choice)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel your acorn squash (I actually sliced mine into chunks first to make it easier), remove the innards, and slice the squash into fry-like pieces. Line them on a baking sheet (try not to overlap) and drizzle a bit of olive oil over top (enough to lightly coat them).  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic salt, and give them all a stir so every piece is evenly coated.

Bake in the oven for at least 30-45 minutes, flipping/stirring occasionally.  If you get impatient like I did and you want them crispier, after 30 minutes, switch the oven to broil and broil for only 3-4 minutes, then flip fries and broil for 3-4 minutes.  NOTE: If you broil, watch them VERY carefully because broilers can burn your food if you leave it too long!!

Once they are as crispy as you want, serve them up!

We ate these with some pork chops and salad, and they were a great side.  Super easy, and much healthier than your typical potato fries.  Try them out and enjoy!

Paleo Stuffed Acorn Squash

So apparently I am really into stuffed vegetables these days.  The other day I made Sausage-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms, and this time I went for Stuffed Acorn Squash.  A few days back when I was at the grocery store I picked up an acorn squash, not really knowing much about them.  I have used a ton of other squashes, especially lately, but the acorn squash has always intrigued me.  I found this recipe idea on Pinterest, and I knew I could make it Paleo! Turns out, acorn squash also works great with Fall flavors, especially sausage and mushrooms.  It is a bit sweeter than other squashes, and gets really tender and delicious when baked.  It was definitely perfect for stuffing, and I look forward to trying other recipes with this new (to me) squash!  Here is what I did:

Paleo Stuffed Acorn Squash
(serves 2)
  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 t ground sage, divided
  • 1/2 lb bulk mild sausage
  • 1/4 c onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c celery, chopped
  • 2 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 c apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg white, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet.  In a small dish, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon of sage. Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture all over each squash half.  Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until tender.

While the squash is roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat on the stove.  Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until meat is cooked through. Remove meat to a bowl and place the pan back on the burner.  Keep the grease in the pan, and if needed, add another splash of olive oil.  Add the onion, celery, and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the apples and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the cooked veggies to the sausage in the bowl. Add the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of sage and the almond flour.  Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the egg white and stir until well combined.
When the squash halves are finished roasting, evenly pile the sausage stuffing into the two halves. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until browned.
These are great and filling enough to serve as your whole dinner.  Be sure to dig out all the tender squash, but don't eat the outer shell!  (Or I guess you could, I've never tried...). Even though all-told this meal takes about an hour to make, it is super easy, looks fancy, and tastes amazing. Try it and enjoy!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

Can you tell that I am obsessed with everything pumpkin?  So my mission in the Fall is- what ELSE can I make a pumpkin version of??  Last weekend I decided to try pumpkin pancakes- Paleo-style.  Turns out, these are pretty simple and really not much different than other Paleo pancake recipes I have made.  I used this recipe as my starting point, though I am pretty sure there were easier options out there (like 3-4 ingredient recipes).  Regardless, it looked really good and it turned out delicious!  Another wonderful Fall meal!  Here is what I did:

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
(serves 2)
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 T almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 T coconut flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1-2 t coconut oil
In a large bowl mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, syrup, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda, salt, almond flour, cinnamon, and ginger.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well until all combined.  Allow batter to sit for about 3 minutes. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add some coconut oil to the pan to grease it up.  Pour/scoop silver-dollar sized pancakes onto the skillet.  If your batter is thick (mine was), you may have to spread/flatten them out a bit with your spatula.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  You may need to add more coconut oil between batches.
Serve with maple syrup or honey, and try not to eat them all yourself!  Enjoy!

Paleo Sausage-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

This is another recipe I found through Pinterest and it looked interesting enough that I had to try it!  The original recipe was Paleo to start, but I decided to make some adjustments, mainly based on what I had around the house. I have been craving sausage and mushrooms a lot lately (probably because I associate them with the Fall!), so this looked perfect.  Plus, stuffed mushrooms are one of those things that sound and look really fancy, but are actually super simple.  And, Portabellas are so meaty and filling that they make for a really hearty meal.  So overall, this was a great dinner. Here is what I did:

Paleo Sausage-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
(serves 2)
  • 2 large Portabella mushroom caps
  • 1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 c kale, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 t dried basil (or use fresh)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
Heat oven to 400.  Heat a skillet over medium heat on the stove.  Cook the sausage and garlic until cooked through.  Add the kale, tomato, basil, salt, and pepper and cook until all the kale is cooked down.  Remove from heat.

Remove stems from mushroom caps, and rub the caps in olive oil.  Place the caps open-side up on a baking pan/sheet.  Fill each cap with half of the sausage mixture- try to fit it all in there, or else cook it on the side.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and browned.

Serve these up alone, or as a (hearty) side to something else.  One stuffed cap each was enough of a meal for my husband and I.  I'm sure you will love this simple and delicious Fall-inspired meal!  Enjoy!

Paleo Butternut Squash Soup

This week it really felt like Fall.  Finally!  Unfortunately, in the Wild West we have a very short Fall season.  Basically, it goes from hot to snowing in about 2-3 weeks.  Which is a big bummer for me, because I love the Fall, especially all the foods that are perfect during this time of year.  I decided to live up the nice weather and make some delicious hearty soup this week. But what kind to make??  So many choices out there, but I had to go with a nice butternut squash soup.  I have been really into squash these days, and like pumpkin, butternut squash is a great Fall food.  I found this recipe through Pinterest, and it intrigued me.  Tons of hearty veggies go into it, making the soup all-natural and packed with nutrients!  This makes a lot, and is really filling, so it can go a long way.  Serve it for a crowd or freeze some away for another day.  If you love homemade hearty soups, you'll love this one!  Here is what I did:

Paleo Butternut Squash Soup
(serves about 6)
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 whole carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 T olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 4-6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 2 c chicken broth (I used homemade!
  • 1 c coconut milk (the canned kind)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • 1/2 T nutmeg
  •  1/2 T sage
Preheat oven to 350.  On a baking pan, toss the squash and carrots in the olive oil.  Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender. 

Heat a large stock pot over medium and add the chopped bacon.  Cook until crisp, then remove to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.  Add the onion and apple to the bacon fat in the pot, and saute over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.  Once the squash and carrots are cooked, add them to the stock pot and stir around.  Add the chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Once the mixture has boiled, remove the pot from the heat.

Use your immersion blender stick to blend the mixture until it becomes totally smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, get one, or else pour it into your blender to blend.  Return the pot to the heat and bring to a simmer.  Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sage and stir well (add enough to your taste preference).

Serve in soup bowls garnished with the crispy bacon.

If you want extra protein, you can add another cooked meat of your choice.  I threw in some cooked chicken, but sausage would also be tasty.  Or, enjoy it alone- any way you eat it will be delicious!  Keep any extra for leftovers, or freeze it for later.  This is a wonderful Fall meal that you will definitely love!  Enjoy!