Maple Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

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**Sorry for the lack of posting – things are much different in our house. My kids and I just finished our third week of homeschooling, so I have had to put the blog on the back burner :) I will post when I can! Thanks for stopping by :)**

Quick Post: One of my favorite combinations is chicken and sweet potato – I practically live off of this pairing! This is one of the most simple and cheap dinners I have tried since I changed my eating habits, and it’s just so good. I love how crispy the skin becomes and I eat it unashamedly! ;) Before I put the skillet in the oven, I browned up the skin in the pan on my stove – that’s optional, but I recommend it! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Maple Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes – adapted from Honey, Ghee and Me

  • 2-4 chicken pieces (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff- makes a huge difference)
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions -

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Begin by peeling sweet potatoes and chop them into one inch chunks. Chop the onions into a similar size and arrange the vegetables in the bottom of a baking dish. Pour in olive oil and maple syrup and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Toss to coat in the oil and maple syrup, and leave all the chicken and vegetables in one even layer. Top with thyme sprigs and bake for 1 hour uncovered, turning the chicken half way through cooking time.

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Slow Cooked Pork Roast

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This was so simple and flavorful, makes a big batch and it’s so versatile. We’re using this pork for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, but you could use some in one of my favorite macaroni dishes or these amazing taquitos. I don’t cook pork often enough, but after trying this recipe out, I’m sure add it to the rotation. If you follow the recipe link, you’ll see that there are a few different ways to season this up, but I chose the “plain” version so the leftovers would be easier to use. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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**Potato Bun Recipe Here and Creamed Corn Recipe Here**

Slow Cooked Pork Roast – adapted from The Kitchn

  • 4 to 6 pound boneless pork shoulder or butt (or 5 to 7 pounds bone-in), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions -

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a rack on the lower-third of the oven. Pat the pork dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Sear all sides of the meat, add the vegetables and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers, cover and place in the oven. Bake for 2 to 4 hours, checking after the first two hours for “fork-tenderness” – My 4 pound bone-in roast was fall-off the bone tender at 3.5 hours. Transfer the pork to a large container. When cool enough to handle, use two forks or your fingers to shred the meat into pieces. Remove any large pieces of fat or bones. For more moist and flavorful pulled pork, you can mix some of the cooking liquid back into the pork. Start with a little, mix, then add more until the pork is as wet or dry as you like. Alternatively, for barbecue pulled pork, you can mix in barbecue sauce. Pulled pork will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Paleo Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

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While sometimes I miss grains, I don’t miss the “bubble-gut” from eating them. Spaghetti squash can be a good replacement for pasta, especially if you cook it right. I have tried the “bake cut-side down”, (not my favorite – it becomes soft and mushy); and then bake “cut-side up” – my preferred method. I like a little bite to my finished “noodles”. Also, I recommend microwaving the whole squash for a few minutes before splitting in two. It softens the squash just enough to get my knife in without threat of losing fingers! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Meat Sauce – adapted from Food.com

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 -6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional or adjust to taste)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (can use two cans for a thicker richer sauce if desired)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole Roma tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 – 1  cup water (according to your desired consistency)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add sausage to the pot and break up Add onion, garlic, dried herbs and pepper flakes saute for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and shredded carrots to the pot, cook for a few minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add canned tomatoes and water and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 – 2 hours stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. You can add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce.

Paleo Orange Chicken

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Quick Post: This was pretty good, but next time I’ll add less arrowroot powder for thickening. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Paleo Orange Chicken – adapted from Paleo Cupboard

**shown with my modifications**

  •  1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  •  Sea salt
  •  Ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 cups steamed veggies, I used carrots and green beans

For the Sauce

  •  1 cup chicken stock or water
  •  1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  •  Zest of 1 large orange
  •  2 Tbsp. raw honey
  •  3 Tbsp. gluten-free soy or coconut aminos
  •  1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
  •  Dash red pepper flakes
  •  1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder

Directions -

1. Season chopped chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium size saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium high heat and bring just to a boil, stirring frequently. Allow sauce to thicken and then remove from heat and set aside.
3. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 -2 tablespoons of coconut oil and heat until it shimmers. Toss in the veggies and cook for about 2 minutes – remove them and set aside. Add the remaining coconut oil. Add the chicken pieces and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until nicely browned. Drain any excess fat from the pan and pour the sauce into the skillet. Add the veggies to the pan and stir to coat. Serve over roasted cauli-rice.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Ketchup

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Yum! The “fries” were sweet and a little spicy, soft but not mushy. I really liked dipping in homemade mayo over the ketchup, but over all I would say this was a successful experiment. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Oven-Baked Spiced Sweet Potato Fries – adapted from The Iron You

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 4 to 5 oz each)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt


Directions -

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Wash the sweet potatoes but don’t peel them, Cut each lengthwise in half. Cut again lengthwise into quarters, then once more into eighths and then once more in the same way, so you are left in the end with sixteen long wedges. Finally, cut each wedge in half crosswise.
Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a large Ziploc bag (or other freezer bag) and sprinkle with arrowroot powder. Close the bag and shake until the sweet potatoes are fully covered.
In a small bowl combine paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt.
Place the sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet that has been line with parchment paper and brushed lightly with some of the olive oil (or coconut oil). Spread sweet potatoes evenly leaving enough space between them for the air to circulate. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil (or coconut oil).
Sprinkle with some of the spice mixture.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Turning the sweet potatoes once with the help of a spatula (be careful not to burn yourself though). For crispier fries turn on the broiler the last 3 to 4 minutes.

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Paleo Ketchup – adapted from The Iron You

  • 6 oz  tomato paste
  • 3 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ small onion

Directions -

In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine tomato paste, honey, water, apple cider vinegar, salt, garlic and onion. Whisk until very smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every so often. The sauce will thicken and the flavors will bind.
Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let cool at room temperature. (*I used my stick blender to puree the ketchup*)
Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge.

 

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops

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I’m really enjoying the paleo way of cooking! I have been going strong for two months now, and have maintained (without regular exercise), my 15 pound weight loss – all without counting calories or fat. One of the greatest benefits of the change is that I haven’t had a migraine or headaches! Also, food just tastes better and I’m never hungry:)

I rarely cook pork, let alone chops, but I really wanted to try out this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. If I had cauliflower at the time, I would have made mock mashed potatoes. That would have gone perfectly with the chops because this dish makes a good amount of gravy. I was really pleased with the flavor, but next time I’ll probably add more apples to it.

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I used three huge pork chops for this that were each about one inch thick!

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It smelled amazing! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops – adapted from Nom Nom Paleo

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 TBSP arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 cups bone broth or chicken stock
  • 2 pounds of bone-in pork chops
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 TBSP ghee
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions – 

Fry the bacon in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the bacon is crisp, scoop it out and place it on a paper towel-lined dish.

In the same saucepan, add the arrowroot powder into the drippings to form a smooth roux. Keep whisking until browned, then pour the broth in and stir until incorporated. Increase the heat to med-high, and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook until thickened, then cover the pan and set it aside.

Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chops and cook on each side for a minute or until golden brown. Transfer chops to a plate. Toss the apples and onions in the same skillet, season with salt and cook, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until the apples and onions brown on the edges. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, then add the chops back into the skillet. Pour the reserved sauce over the chops and add the thyme sprigs. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the pork is fork tender.

Plate the chops, and top them with gravy and reserved bacon bits.

 

 

Carrot Cake for My Gram

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My kids and I recently came back from our trip to California. While I was there, I used an entire 5 pound bag of flour…yeah, I went a little overboard spoiling my parents and my Grandma during those two short weeks ;) I was glad to, and honored to cook with my 85 year old grandmother – the one who inspired me to cook in the first place. While it was a lot of time and effort to make so much for them, I was flattered to hear that my Gram actually learned from me!! and my Dad said my cinnamon rolls reminded him of his mother’s :)

Because Gram’s birthday happened the week after we flew in, I told her I would bake her a birthday cake. She couldn’t eat chocolate (huge bummer), but she loved carrot cake. Problem for this baker was that I have never made one, let alone eaten a piece in over 10 years!! Thankfully, a quick search at Pinterest led me to find this recipe that sounded tasty – kind of flimsy evidence to go on, but I went with it. I didn’t try any of it because of my Whole 30 craziness, but the family really enjoyed it and said it wasn’t too sweet and the frosting was perfect. That sounds like a win to me! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Carrot Cake – adapted from Sprinkle Some Sugar

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar (or dark)
  • 5 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (about 7-8 carrots)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Directions -

For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of two 9″ round baking pans with parchment paper and lightly grease and flour sides. Be sure to get every inch! Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clover all together and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together. Add in the eggs one at a time, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Pour in flour mixture and mix until just combined making sure everything is well mixed. Fold in the grated carrots by hand with a rubber spatula or spoon. Batter will be thick, this is okay. If you are adding pecans or raisins, do so now.
Distribute the batter evenly into both pans. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Start checking cake at 25 and check every 2 minutes after that. Once a toothpick comes out clean, cakes are done. Let them cool on wire rack or counter for 20 minutes. Flip pans over and cakes should pop right out onto wire rack or parchment or wax paper lined counter. Let them cool completely. While they are cooling, mix up the frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and light in color. Add in the vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time on low until combined. Whip frosting for another minute or so until smooth and creamy.
Once cakes are completely cooled, cut the domed tops off so they are completely flat and even. Place one cake on the bottom of a cake stand, facing up. Spread some frosting on top until completely covered. Add second cake, bottom up, and frost the rest of the cake. I found it much easier to do one thin layer of frosting, set it in the fridge and as it firmed up a bit, add another thick layer – the frosting looks much more even this way. This cake is even more moist and flavorful the second day once the flavors have all settled in with each other.
Store cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Paleo Taco Salad

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Quick Post: This taco meat was okay the first day, but even better as the week went on :) I made a few modifications to the recipe, but I added the link to the original as always :) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Paleo Taco Salad – adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (*I used bison)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • tomato paste (*optional, I used a whole 6 ounce can*)
  • 1/2 cup of bone broth, or water

Directions -

In a small bowl mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the coconut oil has melted, add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink. Add the taco seasoning to the meat and mix well. (*I used all but about a tablespoon of the mixture*) Add the tomato paste and bone broth to the pan and continue cooking until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve immediately over chopped Romaine lettuce, and top with lots of veggies.

 

 

Whole 30 Chicken Fajitas and Cauli “Rice”

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Yum! This is a new favorite that just gets better the next day. I love the cauli-rice and it is a good substitute for rice and I know I’ll be making this again. It takes more work than regular rice, but the flavor is savory, nutty, fluffy and much more nutritious. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Fajitas – inspired by Simply Recipes

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, divided horizontally, then sliced into 1/2″ strips
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced lengthwise (root to tip) into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Directions -

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a glass or plastic container. Add the chicken, mix well, cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. (You can marinate them in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours, but remove them an hour before cooking so that they can come closer to room temp.)

Remove the chicken from the marinade. Heat a large cast iron frying pan on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan. As soon as the oil begins to shimmer, lay the chicken breast pieces in the pan. Depending on the size of the pan, and if you have had to cut the chicken breasts, you may have to work in batches. Let the chicken cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, until you have a good sear. Once seared well on one side, turn the pieces over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until well seared on the second side. Once seared on the second side, remove to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to rest for 5 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, cook the onions and peppers. Add another tablespoon of coconut to the frying pan. Heat on high. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers to the pan. Use a metal spatula to scrape up some of the browned bits from the chicken and stir to coat the onions and peppers with the oil and brown bits. Spread the onions and peppers in an even layer in the pan. Let them cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. You want them to sear with some blackening. Stir the vegetables and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

 

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice – adapted from The Clothes Make the Girl

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • salt to taste

Directions -

Preheat oven to 425, and prepare two baking sheets.

Using a food processor, place a portion of the florets in the bowl with the blade attachment and pulse until the mix resembles rice – about 10-15 pulses. Pour the “rice” in a medium bowl and continue with the other florets. Pour the  coconut oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, toss the mixture well and then spread half of the cauliflower onto each baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes and then rotate the pans and continue cooking until tender and beginning to get a few brown spots, about 10 more minutes.

 

 

Paleo Beef Stir Fry

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I made this for the whole family, but served theirs with rice, and for a Paleo friendly side, use cauliflower “rice”. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry – adapted from Deliciously Organic

For the Steak Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin, sliced thin against-the-grain
  • 1 tablespoon fermented tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry

For the Ginger and Garlic Mixture:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth (homemade preferred)
  • 3 tablespoons fermented tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon honey

For the Vegetables:

  • 3 -4 cups steamed veggies – I used carrots, green beans and broccoli

Directions -

Toss together the sirloin, tamari and sherry in a small bowl. Let sirloin marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature. Whisk the garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil in a small bowl. Whisk together sherry, chicken broth, tamari, sesame oil, garlic, arrowroot and honey in another small bowl.

Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to pan and swirl to coat. Place sirloin in one single layer in skillet and don’t stir (meat should sizzle – if it doesn’t the pan isn’t hot enough). Cook sirloin for about 1-2 minutes until bottom side is brown. Turn, using tongs, and cook until brown on the bottom, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer sirloin to a clean bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to now empty skillet and heat until just shimmering. Add broccoli, green beans, and carrots. Stir continuously for about 1 minute. Make a well in the center of the vegetables and add the ginger-and-garlic mixture. Stir ginger and garlic mixture in the middle of the pan for about 45 seconds and then combine with the rest of the vegetables. Add sirloin slices (and any accumulated juices) and garlic sauce to pan. Toss until sauce begins to thicken and ingredients are well coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Serve immediately.