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
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

 

Pulled Pork Irish Nachos

Know what happened to me yesterday?  I was doing homework and reached into my bag to grab my Orgo notes and *almost completed* homework assignment when I realized it wasn’t there.  Panic ensued.  THEN I realized I *may* have left it in the student lounge in my physics building so I drove all the way to campus.  Doors locked.  Not to be thwarted, I walked the entire perimeter of the building until I found a delivery entrance that was open.  Then navigated through the basement maze till I found a stairwell that was open.  Then made it to the lounge where I saw my notebook and homework sitting untouched on the table…through the glass of the locked door.  Cue tantrum.  Echos of my displeasure rang down the empty halls.  No janitors to be found.  The lock was resistant to being picked by a hairpin.  Or pens.  Or my car keys.

pulled pork nachos

So…I had to print a new copy of the assignment (due first thing Monday…I was not going to chance the lounge still being locked at 7am).  I’d already done it once, how bad could it be?  Yup…genius I am that bitch took me 3 hours.  Cue tantrum #2.

So Super Bowl!  Actually, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to use the actual name of the event without infringing copyright or something.  It’s true.  No, really.  Ever wonder why all the TV commercials just call it “The Big Game?”  The NFL is protective like that.

This it fortunately or unfortnately one of those years where I have no legitimate preference for either team–Seattle and Denver both have awesome programs, great coaching, great cities, and hot quarterbacks.  I guess I’ll pick Denver, though, since I actually lived there for a year.  Fair?  Good.  Let’s go eat football food.

For this recipe you will need Pulled Pork and Sugar Free BBQ sauce.

Pulled Pork Irish Nachos
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 lbs pulled pork (leftovers work well)
  • 1 recipe Sugar Free BBQ sauce
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 t sage
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • chopped onion and tomato, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice up your sweet potato with a mandolin or by hand. Make your rounds as thick or thin as you want but the thicker they are, the longer they need to cook.
  3. Lay out your rounds on a greased cookie tray. Brush the tops with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with about half the thyme and sage and garlic and as much salt as you’d like.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 mins, until browned. Carefully flip, then brush the other side with a little more oil and spread the second half of the seasoning.
  5. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a plate and top with a mound of hot pulled pork and some BBQ sauce. Enjoy!

 

 

Zesty Sauteed Collard Greens w/ Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes

Collards are the new kale.  What can I say?

collard greens tgipaleo.com

For those of you who may be skeptical, I admit collards don’t have the best reputation.  I mean, generally they come out straight up *boiled*…goopy, bland, and just plain nasty.  These are not like that.  Sauteeing them with all this simple goodness not only lets the flavor permeate and keep the texture right where it should be, but actually keeps too many of the oh-so-lovely nutrients in these deep green leaves from leaching out and getting thrown away.  Whoever thought it was ok to boil leafy greens…ew.  Just ew.

Zesty Sauteed Collard Greens w/ Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups collard greens, chopped
  • ⅓ c sun dried tomatoes, dried or in oil
  • ⅓ c olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. If you are using dried sundried tomatoes, soak in hot water for 10 mins or so to plump them up.
  2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat in a large pot or heavy pan with a lid.
  3. Sautee the garlic until nicely browned and fragrant.
  4. Add the collards, stirring to coat in the oil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Allow the greens to simmer for 5 minutes or so, until wilted.
  5. Add the remaining oil, sundried tomatoes, vinegar, and seasoning. Toss to coat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes more. Serve.

 

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…

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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.

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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.)

Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce

I don’t know what it is but I’ve had this wicked craving for barbecue for the last few weeks.  Which is totally weird because…at least I’m pretty sure…that’s summer food and we just got snowed on for the zillionth time the other day.  I had a 7am shift at the hospital, too…meaning I got to drive down St. Paul while it was still dark, negative degrees out, and before anything had been plowed or salted.  And, sorry Maryland drivers…but you’re not very good at driving even when it’s sunny and 75.  Not cool.

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So anyway, the thing about the sauce.  It’s totally a cop-out to waste a whole post on a sauce.  I’m fully aware.  But for realsies I love this sauce.  It also happens to be sugar-free, which is always a good thing, but is kinda important since we’re on the 21DSD at the moment.  Notice I didn’t add an optional tablespoon of honey or molasses though…and that’s because this stuff is crazy good without it.  On anything…and I mean anything, like steaks, eggs or even on veggies or as a dipping sauce for (Paleo) chicken nuggets.  Spoiler alert…I made a little something with this stuff I’m going to share tomorrow that Ross and I have been inhaling all day.  Lovely mental image, I’m sure, but I think you’ll be OK with it ;-)

Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce
Author: 
Prep time: 
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Ingredients
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 oz (1 can) tomato paste
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c water
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • ½ t dried mustard
  • ½ c coconut aminos
  • 1 T prepared Dijon mustard
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is transluscent.
  3. Quickly but carefully, whisk in the tomato paste and the vinegar until smooth.
  4. Then whisk in the water and coconut aminos.
  5. Add the spices. Continue to stir to keep out any lumps.
  6. When the sauce comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium low.
  7. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge.

 

No-Mayo Avocado Slaw (Paleo, Raw, Vegan)

I made some health-related New Years Resolutions this year.  Hey, even on a Paleo diet it’s easy to fall into a rut when you get a little too cozy with all the junk food that seems like a good idea just because it’s “Paleo.”  Live and learn.

The theme of the dietary stuff is to get more veggies.  It’s pretty simple, and if ANY diet can agree on anything it’s that we could always get more veggies.  So my biggest resolution is to include something green at every meal…I’m also committing to at least one meatless meal a week.  Too easy.

Ross and I are also doing a 21DSD this month.  Which means I’m going to be really cranky for the next week, then totally high on life.  I love Diane’s program…more than anything it’s a great wakeup call.  Unlike a generic Paleo challenge or even a Whole30, it hits you hard by cutting out anything that contains sugar…to include fruit sugar…and get your system back on track.  I feel like other challenges–while great and highly effective for folks new and/or skeptical of the whole Paleo thing–offer a little too much room for error since you’re allowed fruit and starch.  And I also like that the sugar detox is only 21 days…that extra week makes a difference ;-)

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So here’s a quick side I threw together.  I made an ass-ton, since I’ve had this weird craving for summery food even though it’s 7 degrees outside.  It’s great for any meal of the day, too…try it with eggs in the morning, on a salad for lunch, and just as-is for dinner and I’ve met my green veggie goal for the day.  Another bonus?  I didn’t have to make home-made mayo.  I love it SO much but it’s more work than I have energy for at the moment.  And that’s probably because I’m balls deep in my sugar detox hangover.  Yeesh.

No-Mayo Avocado Slaw (Paleo, Raw, Vegan)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ c rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¼ c full fat coconut milk
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 4 c shredded cabbage
  • 2-3 c packaged broccoli slaw
Instructions
  1. Place the avocado flesh in a food processor with the garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.
  2. Pulse until mashed up.
  3. Add the vinegar and coconut milk a little at a time, pulsing until smooth.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage and broccoli slaw with the avocado mixture. Stir to coat.
  5. Serve immediately or store in the fridge. Makes 6-7 cups.

 

Spicy Asian BBQ Meatballs

I saw this recipe for Thai Burgers the other day on MDA and haven’t stopped thinking about them all week.  No, really…I’m on break at last and the prospect of cooking and eating real food for 6 weeks has made me positively euphoric.

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And so the day comes…yesterday…after the first wave of holiday festivities are over and I’m ready to make a nice dinner at home for the two of us.  Oh, so I’m finally going to make these burgers.  Except.  I have…nothing.  Well, except ground beef.

With an Asian theme still on the brain and pretty much nothing but leftover veggies to work with I turned out a batch of meatballs instead.  Just…too good.  Maybe not as pretty as the burgers, but I’ll take it.

Spicy Asian BBQ Meatballs
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Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ground beef or pork
  • 3 T fish sauce
  • 3 T chili paste
  • 2 T coconut aminos
  • ¼ c coconut milk
  • ½ t ground ginger
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • ¼ c chopped green onion (or any onion for that matter)
  • ¼ c chopped mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. With your hands, mix the ingredients until blended but DO NOT overmix or else the meatballs will be tough.
  3. Shape the mixture into meatballs (golf-ball size for me), and arrange in a greased baking dish.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.

 

Ridiculously Easy Balsamic Grilled Pork Chops

My camera has been MIA for a few weeks…and then last night my phone decided to walk off, too.  Cue the iPad photos.

photo 1 (2)

So this one was kind of a last minute thing, as my cooking endeavors so often are these days.  We’ve got finals next week and to say I’m just strung out would be a major compliment.  My daily routine for the last 10 days has pretty much been “wake up drink coffee go to library drink coffee study all day drink coffee come home collapse into catatonic heap on the couch and fall asleep watching reruns of Parks and Rec.”  Winning.

This is a great dinner on those days you don’t really want to cook but maybe, just maybe, want to have something that resembles “real food.”  I’ve been eating waaaaaaaay too many baked potatoes…with pickles straight from the jar…and spoonfuls of almond butter…yeah.  Sometimes it’s nice just to eat off a plate, you know?

Ridiculously Easy Balsamic Grilled Pork Chops
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Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large, bone-in pork chops
  • ½ c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (or ½ t garlic powder)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Place pork chops in a dish.
  2. Pour vinegar on the chops and add oil and seasoning.
  3. flip a couple times to coat.
  4. Cover and marinate at least an hour (I left it in the fridge all day while I was at school).
  5. Heat a grill pan (or heavy skillet) over medium high heat with a little olive oil.
  6. Cook on each side for about 4-6 minutes, until juices run clear.
  7. Steam some veggies on the side. Consume with utensils. Fell all grown up.

 

Roasty Toasty Fall Veggies..with Bacon

Confession…I’m a wee bit obsessed with the British royal family.  Well, not so much the family themselves but really just the clothes that Kate and Pippa Middleton wear.  More Pippa these days.  Ever since Kashete became a mommy (which is awesome, don’t get me wrong!) I feel a disconnect between us…I’m still a fresh-faced newlywed and you…she’s a real live grown-up now.  Which means we automatically have nothing in common.  Except that I’m absolutely obsessed with those giant wedges she was wearing at the kids’ volleyball game.  I ordered a pair of these but they came in way too small (damn you, European size chart!!) and now I can’t find ANYTHING similar in my size (shocker…the whole world wants those shoes…and I have giant feet).  And worse, every time I put in a search for “wedges” or “wedge heels”…for some awful reason I keep getting stuff like this.  If you actually wear these…not hating or anything but…I hate them and think they’re friggin ridiculous.  Sneakers are cool.  Heels and wedges are cool.  Sneaker-Wedge-Heels are NOT OK.

Oooooh so let’s stop talking about my fashion icons and talk about food for a sec.  This dish…welp…this dish has made an appearance almost daily and has been sustaining me all semester.  Very little prep.  Makes great leftovers.  Bacon.  It’s a total lifesaver.

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I wasn’t going to share originally because, I mean, it’s sorta kinda maybe boring looking?  Except that I’m obsessed–try new veggies, duck fat instead of bacon…I dunno.  For more civilized folk it would even make a phenomenal side dish.  Especially with Thanksgiving coming up in less than a week!  Eek!

Fall Veggies Roasted in Bacon Fat
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 strips bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • ½ large butternut squash, diced
  • 1 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 t dried rosemary
  • 1 t salt
  • pinch black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Preheat the pven to 375 degrees.
  3. Add bacon and brown till crisp and has a good amount of drippings.
  4. While the bacon is cooking, toss all your veggies into a large roasting pan…make sure it’s big enough for everything to spread out in an even layer.
  5. Pour the bacon and drippings all over the veggies.
  6. Add the seasonings and mix everything to distribute evenly.
  7. Roast the veggies for 1 hour.
  8. Serve on its own or as a main dish!

 

Detox Salad

As soon as I saw this recipe pop up in my Facebook feed, I hopped on the bandwagon.  I mean, who DOESN’T need something wholesome to eat in between Halloween candy binges?  (Oh, Reese’s Pumpkins…you are my nemises…)  Buuuuuut when I went shopping my TJ’s didn’t have any beets or sunflower seeds (seriously, WTF?), so I kinda just grabbed anything and everything I thought would taste good together.

detox salad

Here’s my own riff on this salad, and it’s pretty damn good.  Filling, so healthy it hurts, and a great way to change up my daily Big Ass Salad.  I’ve had this every single day for lunch this week with some chicken and it’s so much more fun than spinach and tomato.  Plus, you know, it’s got superfoods in it.  Kale and cabbage and apple cider vinegar, OH MY!

Detox Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
**This recipe can be scaled. I made a HUGE batch to last the week.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 4-6 cups shredded kale
  • ½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ c RAW almond butter
  • 2 T fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Toss the cabbage, carrots, kale, and cilantro in a big salad bowl. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, almond butter, ginger, and vinegar.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge.