Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pork Apple Hash (Paleo, Zone)

It's fully into the fall season, which means that apples are finally getting cheaper! Growing up in Washington state, I am a huge apple lover. And what meat goes better with apples than pork? I remember growing up eating pork chops and apple sauce! So this hash is a take on that.

This meal is also Zoned, and it's a one pot dish which is hard to find when it comes to Paleo-Zone meals. This makes 24 blocks, so split it up accordingly!

1) 2 pounds of ground pork or sausage
2) 3 apples, cored and diced
3) 3 large onions, chopped (6 cups)
4) 1 large sweet potato, chopped (12 ounces)

1) Heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat, add your pork and cook until brown.   
2) While your pork is cooking, chop up your apples, onions and sweet potato into bite-sized pieces. Try to make them all the same size to aid with even cooking.
3) Once your pork is cooked, add in your chopped vegetables and fruit.
4) Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until everything is tender and cooked thoroughly.
5) Eat up! This makes a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Beef Shepard's Pie with Cauliflower Topping (Paleo)

Have you ever had traditional Shepard's Pie? It's so warm, filling and comforting on a cool night. When I began my Paleo lifestyle, I found a great recipe from Melissa Joulwan's Well Fed cookbook for Shepard's Pie that called for Lamb and about 20 ingredients. I made it with beef, because I didn't have any lamb on hand, and it was absolutely awesome! So warm and comforting.

So it's been getting cooler here in Texas and last weekend was particularly cold. I wanted to make some Shepard's Pie for my weekend cook-up, and had the brilliant idea of trying to make it 5 ingredients. This was going to be a tall task indeed, but I think I pulled it off pretty brilliantly!

This makes a huge meal, so you can certainly cut it in half! It made us 6-8 servings, half of which we freezed. After they were defrosted and reheated they still tasted amazing, so by all means, make this recipe as is and save half in the freezer!

In lieu of using coconut milk and other ingredients to make the cauliflower topping, I just used some of the fat that cooked off the beef as liquid to mash the cauliflower. It worked great! Just try to make sure you use grassfed meat so the cooked off oil is healthier.

1) 2 pounds of ground meat (I used beef, but lamb is more traditional if you like it)
2) 2 pounds of carrots, sliced
3) 3 onions, diced
4) 1-2 large heads of cauliflower or bags of cauliflower florets (I used two because I wanted a lot of topping!)
5) 2 tablespoons of spices of your choice (I used 2T of chili powder, but you could use cumin, Italian seasonings, garlic and onion powder, etc. Just something to give the dish some taste. I like chili powder!)

1) Brown your ground meat in the largest skillet you have, over medium-high heat until cooked.
2) Drain at least 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the oil into a cup to use for your mashed cauliflower. Leave the rest of the oil in the pan to help cook the vegetables.
3) Once you've drained the oil, add in your onions and carrots. Cook these for 25-30 minutes over medium-high heat until they are soft and cooked thoroughly.
4) While the carrots and onions are cooking with the meat, start on your cauliflower. Chop up your cauliflower heads to just leave the florets, then add to a large bowl. If using a bag, just add the bag's contents to a large bowl. Add about a tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 6-10 minutes, until soft.
5) Add the cooked cauliflower to your food processor. I used two bags of florets, so I had to make two batches in my food processor.
6) For each batch of cauliflower, do the following: add in half of your cauliflower for the batch to the food processor. Then add in your oil (if you divided this into two batches, only add half your oil). Puree until smooth, then add in the other half of your cauliflower and puree. I had to run my processor for about 5 minutes to get it really smooth.
7) Add the pureed cauliflower to a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper until you like how it tastes. I probably used a teaspoon of each to start with, but start small and add on.


8) Once your onions and carrots are cooked, add in your spices to the dish. Stir to incorporate, and then add your mixture to a large casserole dish or 9x13 pan.
9) Spread your mashed cauliflower on top of the meat mixture. Spread it into an even layer.
10) Cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until the top is brown and bubbly.

11) Once cooked, let rest for 10 minutes before you serve it up, because it's very hot!

Check out those layers!

Portioned and ready for the fridge and freezer!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Macadamia Chocolate Chip No-Bake Cookies

I've been rereading a lot of the cookbooks I have and getting ideas for meals and desserts. This one stemmed from a Paleo dessert book and was adjusted for the ingredients I had in my house, and our current craving!

1) 1 cup of macadmia nuts
2) 1 cup of shredded coconut
3) 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
4) 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (I recommend Enjoy Life---only 3 ingredients in their chips, and they're phenomenal!)
5) 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey ( I used maple syrup)

1) Add nuts, shredded coconut, coconut oil (and maple syrup or honey) to a food processor.
2) Blend until relatively smooth, 1-2 minutes.

3) Fold in your chocolate chips.
4) Use a scoop and scoop out balls of the dough and flatten into cookie shapes (or keep in balls if you're lazy like I am!).
5) You can eat them now, but they'll solidify if you put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and will be more cookie-like.
Enjoy! These were awesome!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Plum-flavored Eggplant Casserole (Paleo, Zone)

Plum-flavored? I used prunes, which are technically dried plums. Plus, who wants to eat a prune dish? Even though prunes are delicious. Plum sounds fancier. And I like fancy pants sounding dishes that are actually super easy and rustic.

This is yet another complete meal that I have tried to make Zone friendly, so there are some pretty specific measurements in the ingredients, but if you don't care about making it zone, then just approximate it! That'll make life simpler, indeed.

Eggplant was on sale at the grocery store, and it made me very happy! So I bought a crap ton of it, and vowed to figure out a way to make it into a tasty, Paleo-Zone meal. And I did it! The addition of prunes to the tomato sauce helps even out the proportions and up the carb count, so that it's equal. If you don't want as many carbs in your meal, or you're limiting fruit, or you don't like prunes (PLUMS!), or don't have any: omit them! Easy peasy.

1) 3 pounds of peeled, cubed eggplant (weighed after the fact) - this was about 4-5 large eggplants (I know this sounds like a lot, but it cooks WAY down)
2) 2 pounds of ground meat (I used beef, but turkey/pork/chicken would equally be tasty)
3) 4 cups of tomato sauce (2 cans of 15oz)
4) 3/4 cup of prunes, chopped after measuring (about 20 prunes)
5) 1/2 cup of almond flour

1) Brown your ground meat on medium heat.
Browning your meat
2) While the meat is browning, peel and dice your eggplant. Place in a colander or a large bowl, and sprinkle with a small amount of salt. This will help with some of the bitterness.
Chopped up eggplant
3) Once the meat has browned, strain it from the pan, leaving some oil in the pan to assist in cooking the eggplant. I strained my meat straight into my casserole dish to help cut down on dishes.
Drain your meat
4) Add in the eggplant to the pan with your reserved oil from the ground meat. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the eggplant has softened completely.
Add in the eggplant
5) While the eggplant is cooking, let's make our tomato sauce. In a food processor, add 1 can of tomato sauce and your prunes. Puree until smooth.
Sauce and prunes
Pureed tomato mixture
6) Once your eggplant has finished cooking, stir in your tomato mixture and add the 1 additional can of tomato sauce to the mixture. Then add in your ground beef, and stir to incorporate.
Softened eggplant
Eggplant plus tomato sauce/prunes
7) Transfer everything into a large 9x13 pan and spread evenly.
8) Sprinkle your almond flour on top of the casserole as evenly as possible.
Ready to bake!
9) Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until nice and bubbly.

And cooked!