Cheesy Chicken Skillet (minus cheese…)

So, remember my Cheezey Spaghetti?  Well, if Pinterest is to be trusted, the new big thing in dairy free “cheese”-making is butternut squash.  Its got that hint of sweetness but takes on a really nice savory quality without being overpowering, which made it the perfect substitute for the cashews in my original “cheeze” recipe.  Hell, it’s even got the perfect color, right?

paleo cheesy chicken skillet 2

Good lord…these pictures are gross.  That’s what I get for using a crap camera.  And for eating at 9 at night.

This recipe really reminds me of those casseroles of old my mom used to make with Velveeta…*sigh*.  Epic.  What we’ve ended up with here is a pretty rich plate of goodness that is probably one of the most nutrient dense meals you can put together in 30 minutes that isn’t, like, plain chicken and vegetables.  And, obviously, without velveeta.  Whole30?  21DSD?  GAPS?  Autoimmune?  Yep, gotcha.  Don’t like chicken?  My next little experiment is going to be with some ground beef…I’m thinking a kind of cheeseburger casserole kind of thing?  Enchiladas?  Vegan option?  I’m dying, you guys.  Possibilities.  Endless.

Cheesy Chicken Skillet (minus cheese...)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 thick slice bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 lbs chicken, cut into chunks
  • 3 c butternut squash puree (I used one medium squash, baked, cooled, and mashed but canned is fine too)
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • 1 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 T dry mustard
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 4 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a heavy skillet, fry up the bacon over medium high till browned.
  2. Add the garlic and leeks and sautee for about 2 minutes, then add the chicken, browning on all sides.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, mix together the remaining ingredients (this is the "cheese" sauce).
  4. Pour the "cheese" over chicken, stirring to coat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.


Pad Thai

My winter break was almost seven weeks long.  Seriously.  I have never…in my LIFE…had this much time off to do absolutely nothing.  Maybe it would be OK if I was like all of my classmates and took a trip somewhere?  Or if I was capable of sleeping 14 hours a day?  Except no.

The house is cleaner than it’s been or will be for decades.  I’ve put in a bazillion hours of MCAT prep.  I volunteered at the hospital.  The pups have gotten more walking in the last 6 weeks than they had all last year.  Ate a few too many of those chocolate covered acai berries (the ones from Costco…dangerous).  Too much…*way* too much…has been spent at Target.  I don’t know what else to do, you guys.

Class starts next week and it’s the home stretch…4 more months of pre-med and then…well, I’ll let you know.  Maybe.  Lots of *life plans* in the works and I’m honestly not necessarily sure how it’s going to pan out.  Not gonna jinx it.  Nope nope.  I can tell you, though, that we will be…moving…again.  Since I left college I have moved through 3 different states, 1 year-long deployment to Iraq, 5 different homes.  Six if you count my CHU in Iraq but I really don’t think that counts.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone unless you have some weird desire to live in a big tin box and sleep on a plastic mattress that smells like mothballs.  Blech.

Paleo Pad Thai

Enough of that…how about I make you dinner?  Following my weird BBQ fetish, I’ve been doing a lot of Asian cooking lately.  And by that I mean I’ve been putting fish sauce and coconut aminos in *everything.*  I recommend it.

This dish can be made meatless or with chicken, shrimp, beef, pork…or all of the above.  We like options, don’t we?

Pad Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • ⅓ c apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ c coconut aminos or tamari
  • 1½ T hot chili paste
  • ¼ c fish sauce (omit if you want this to be vegan)
  • 3 T palm sugar
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 c snow peas
  • 3 green onions (scallions), sliced
  • ½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Slivered almonds and lime wedges to garnish
  1. Put the spaghetti squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 mins. When finished, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Using a fork, remove the squash strands into a bowl and set aside.
  3. While the squash is cooking, whisk together the vinegar, coconut aminos, chili paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar in a small dish. Set aside.
  4. In a high rimmed pan or pot, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat.
  5. Add the garlic, sauteing until lightly browned, then add the onions.
  6. When the onions are translucent, reduce the heat to medium and add the spaghetti squash and snow peas. Toss to coat in the oil and garlic.
  7. Add the sauce, stirring to coat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. When you are ready to serve, add the scallions and cilantro, mixing well.
  9. Serve garnished with slivered almonds and lime wedges.


BBQ Pulled Chicken Platter

Did you notice a trend in the last few days?  My January barbecue obsession comes to a close with a plate full of July picnic fare…


Sugar-free BBQ Sauce

Butternut Baked “Beans” <—-Seriously, cannot stop eating this stuff.

No-Mayo Avocado Slaw

And finally, a super quick and easy formula for some meaty goodness to top it all off.  You could even do the whole BBQ Sundae in a jar.  You know, with the pickle spear on top?  Too cute.


I just used leftover cooked chicken breasts to throw this together, but you can also toss some cutlets (or a whole bird) in the slow cooker for the day and it’ll be ready to go!

BBQ Pulled Chicken

2 lbs cooked chicken (leftovers work really well!)

1/2 recipe Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce

**Shred the cooked chicken.  Pour on the sauce and mix away.  Serve.

(Too easy.  I love it.)

Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage, & Vegetable Soup

So I made some baked apples this morning for breakfast and then realized I could use the same pan to roast up a bunch of chicken for this week’s lunches.  No, I didn’t wash it in between (who does that?) so there was still a little coconut oil, apple goop, and allspice left behind.  No big deal or anything, but this is the best damned chicken ever.  EVER.

Speaking of chicken…Ross and I are in a roast chicken phase.  Like, at least once a week for the last couple months.  Whole chickens are super cost effective, even if they’re free range and organic…which they should be because unhappy, drug-induced chickens are no bueno for a lot of reasons.  But we all knew that.  Anyway, lots of roast chicken means lots of opportunities to make some fresh chicken stock without an ass-ton of added sodium and Goodness knows whatever else goes into the canned stuff.  So go roast a chicken and make stock out of its carcass.  You know you want to.


And of course, Fall is upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic and so it Soup Season.  How convenient!  Stock = Soup.  I do love a good bowl of soup when the weather gets cooler, and I love soup, too, because it’s so low maintenance.  Chop, toss, boil, eat.  Boom.  This is my latest concoction and it turned out swimmingly.  Full of veggies and enough heat to warm you up!


Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage, & Vegetable Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 64 oz chicken stock, preferably home made :-)
  • 4 c kale, chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 pkg frozen sliced leeks (or other frozen veggies)
  • 1 pkg frozen pearl onions (or other frozen veggies)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 3 Jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 2 lbs chicken sausage, cooked
  1. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large stock pot.
  2. Add all of the ingredients, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours. The longer the better!
  5. (This can also be done in a crock pot.)


Chipotle Chicken Chili

Welp, class is in full swing again, which I have to admit is kind of refreshing.  After 4 years of working non-stop I kind of forgot what a real “summer break” felt like.  I’m not exactly good with free time on my hands…Netflix has nothing to hide from me anymore.  Nothing.

Oh!  I did manage to get away from the house for a week in there and spend a solid week in Oregon with my folks.  My dad has this obsession with road-tripping so they rented a car and we drove from Portland out to Crater Lake and Bend back to Roseburg and made our way up the coast to end at a family reunion in Corvallis.  Amazing.  Except when I got home–post-vacation depression is bad for me.  Seriously, I need like a week to recover from a long weekend away…seriously.

With classes going again, the slow cooker is running almost daily again.  I really hope it survives the semester…otherwise it’ll be canned tuna and avocados and…I dunno, maybe some apples or something.  I’m hopeless.


This recipe rocks because, not only is it a toss-n-go into the crock pot (lots of rough chopping and tossing, oh yes) but it’s an excellent way to use up leftover chicken.  Leftover chicken is an issue here since I make a big tray every week to make my lunch salads and haven’t managed to figure out that no, I will not eat 6 pounds worth of chicken breasts in a week.  I just won’t.  Maybe next week, though.

Chipotle Chicken Chili
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 lbs cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T coconut aminos
  • 1 T chipotle powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • ½ t cayenne pepper
  1. Place all ingredients is a large stock pot or slow cooker.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 3-4 hours. This can most certainly be made ahead of time and re-heated!
  3. If using a slow cooker, cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.



Pesto, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Hash

Score one for three…THREE…ingredient recipes.  Especially ones where you just toss and bake.


Well…not counting the pesto, but that’s super easy and I made a HUGE batch a little while ago after my awesome mother gave me a giant bouquet of fresh basil.  I miss living in the country sometimes…we always had an awesome vegetable and herb garden but somehow with all the kids out of the house, Mom is pretty much running a farm these days.  Having me living close by gives her a convenient way to pawn off the surplus, and I’m not complaining one bit!

Pesto, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Hash
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb Chicken Sausage Links, sliced
  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes, cubed
  • Pesto:
  • 2 c Fresh Basil
  • ⅓ c Pine Nuts
  • 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
  • ½ t Sea Salt
  • ¾ c Olive Oil (can be more or less to achieve desired thickness)
  1. Combine the sausage and sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt until fine.
  3. Add the olive oil a little at a time (if you’ve got a food processor with one of those openings in the top, drizzle it in while the power is on as you would for mayonnaise) and pulse until you have reached your desired consistency.
  4. Add the pesto to the sausage and sweet potatoes and mix well.
  5. Transfer to a roasting pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are a little brown and the dish is super-fragrant.
  7. Enjoy!


Peach Chipotle Roast Chicken

I’ve been eating too many of these lately.  It’s OK, I bike to school now.  Gotta keep up my strength, right?

Speaking of strength…I honestly can’t remember if I posted it here or on my Meathead Site, but I’m not going to weigh myself again until I back squat 200#.  I made some good headway this past weekend and don’t have too much to go.  Then again, I have to remind myself that gains are asymptotal and come more and more slowly with time and progress.  Like that I use all my new-found mathematical knowledge in real life?  OH!  I also started watching Breaking Bad again…I’m hoping it’ll make me better at chemistry.

peach chipotle chicken

Toss this recipe in with my other “I have zero time to cook anymore but don’t want to act like it” recipes.  I know I’m a student again but I’ll stop washing my clothes or showering before I quit making time to make my meals enjoyable.  Just who I am, dudes.  Admittedly, I eat a LOT of leftovers…but then again making enough to feed 10 people on Monday means Ross and I are good to go for the whole diddly darn week.  Get me?

All I had to do for this chicken was take a little inspiration from this recipe and this recipe and toss some over-ripe peaches into a blender with some other stuff, pour it over a dish of raw chicken thighs (any cut will do), and toss it all in the fridge to marinate while I was in class.  Then I got home, and let it bake while I binged on reality TV studied diligently.  Boom.

Peach Chipotle Roast Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 3 Ripe Peaches, cut up into chunks
  • ½ c Water
  • ½ c Dried Chipotle Chilis
  • 2 t Salt
  • 2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs (or Legs, or Breasts, or even a Whole Damn Bird)
  1. Toss the peaches, water, chilis, salt, and vinegar in a blender.
  2. Pulse until well blended.
  3. Toss your chicken into a bowl and pour all of the marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
  4. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish and cover with the marinade.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.


Maple Lime Chicken

Super easy meals are awesome.  Especially this one…it’s THREE ingredients, people.  Well, four if you count salt.  But some people don’t salt their food nearly as much as I do…and “three ingredients” just has a nice ring to it.  So much less intimidating.  Especially on a Tuesday night when you get home late from school and the gym and still have calc homework and you’re just beat.  Seriously…I prepped these while I was in the shower and baked them while I finished homework/watched Arrested Development.

maple chicken

I know like, everyone has already finished the new season…please don’t spoil it for me.  We only got the Roku working a few days ago so I’m SO far behind.  Pathetic, just pathetic.  Know what else is pathetic?  Realizing my undergraduate education…AND my master’s degree are worthless.  Utterly.  I’ve been sitting in math class for the last 2 weeks with the dumbest looks on my face.  Seriously, no clue what’s going on.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re an Art, Philosophy, and Literature major and decide to be a doctor.  Totally makes sense, right?  …Right…?

Maple Lime Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
  • 2 lbs Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Limes
  • ¼ c Maple Syrup
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Juice the limes and pour over the chicken in a bowl with some salt. Cover and allow to marinate for 30 mins at room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place the chicken in a baking dish.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.
  5. Remove and brush each thigh generously with maple syrup.
  6. Return to the oven and bake 10 minutes more.
  7. Brush with additional maple syrup and serve.


30-Minute Chicken Fingers


I actually did these in like, 25 minutes.  No big deal.  I was hungry, whatever.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had any “fast food.”  I don’t like gutting myself with commercially fried crap.  God, I’m such a snob.  But seriously.  I grew up on McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets and Coke and French Fries done up in rancid peanut oil…I think my body is still purging 22 years of crap from its delicate little system.  Did you know there’s more than 20 ingredients in a Chicken Nugget?  That’s bananas.  Mom, I love you…but really?!  It’s OK.  These ones here have like, FIVE ingredients.  Well, more than that if you count “salt and pepper to taste”–whatever…maybe you don’t even use salt and pepper!!–oh, and dipping sauces and stuff.  I went all European with grainy mustard and mayo–but you could go all retro and do honey or BBQ sauce, too.

30-Minute Chicken Fingers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 2 c Almond Meal (or other ground nuts...macadamias would be heavenly!)
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • ¼ t Nutmeg
  • ½ t Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. C'mon...let's race! Can you beat 25 minutes?!
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Pat your chicken dry with paper towels.
  4. Place the beaten eggs in a bowl next to the chicken.
  5. In another bowl or dish, mix up the almond meal and seasonings.
  6. Slice the chicken into strips about ½ inch wide.
  7. One by one, dip the chicken strips into the beaten egg, then into the almond meal mixture. Shake off the excess and arrange strips on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.


Buffalo Chicken Burgers

You know what’s super cool about this recipe? I ground my own chicken for it…in my very own meat grinder!! How cool is that?


Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to be all cool like me and grind your own chicken. Store bought is fine. If you must.

If you haven’t tried the Tessemae’s line of dressings and marinades yet, you’re missing out. Even Whole9 has endorsed it and there are so many awesome favors. Wing sauce, though, is my absolute favorite…on these burgers, on wings, on steak, on eggs…so good. It’s probably going to be one of my only nice memories left in a couple months when I’m unemployed. Yeah, I’m being a little negative about the whole getting out of the Army thing. Finding a job is HARD. The totally pretentious part of me just wants to be like, “But I’m a VETERAN!! HIRE MEEEEEEE!” Yeah…well, I mean…might be worth a shot, right? Or maybe living below an underpass really isn’t that bad?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Buffalo Chicken Burgers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 2 lbs Ground Chicken
  • 2 Grated Carrots
  • 2 Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ c Tessemae's Wing Sauce
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the chicken, carrots, onions, eggs, and ¼ c wing sauce until just combined (Don't overmix or burgers will be tough).
  2. Shape into 8 Burger patties and arrange on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and brush with the remainder of the wing sauce.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes longer.