Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paleo Pizza Soup!

New Year, New Blog!

Please follow this link to My Paleo CrockPot's new blog.  I promise, the tasty recipe you're after will be waiting for you there.

Happy crockpotting!  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Spicy Marinated Ribs

I started cooking all of our meat like crazy this morning, just in case we lost power for a few days. I would HATE to lose all of our meat if we have a power outage. But now the hurricane has weakened to a tropical storm, and now it looks like the worst danger is flooding, so living on top of a high hill AND on the sixth floor, we're not looking to be in trouble there.

But we're still stuck inside, so I'm (slow!!) cooking away.

These ribs had a great lemony-spicy kick to them. Will and I really enjoyed them as we stared out the window and placed bets on when the tree outside would snap in half. (It's still standing...)

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

- 1 jalapeno, minced
- juice of one lemon
- 1/8 t black pepper
- 1/4 t cumin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Slab 'o ribs, cut to fit in your crockpot (I used pork but you can use beef or lamb... whatever strikes your fancy)

The Process: (serves 2 adults with a bit of leftovers)

Mix the first six ingredients together.

Plop the ribs in the crock, and dump the mixture over them, covering as best as you can.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (I cooked mine on high for two hours, then on low for two more, just to make sure they were cooked before early afternoon when a possible power outage might have happened...)

Hope everyone is safe and dry and INDOORS! :-)

Homemade Chicken Stock

After you make your Roasted Chicken and pick the bones clean, you'll have a perfect carcass for chicken stock.

This is so easy. And not only are you saving money by making your own chicken stock, but I really believe in using the whole animal. I feel it's the most respectful thing to do - to not toss out the carcass when you could (so easily!) just make it into stock.

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot, full of bones and leftover chicken carcass
- herbs or veggies if you wish

- Water

The Process: (makes 8-10 cups of broth)

Rinse out the crockpot after making your Roasted Chicken, but no need to clean it thoroughly. Just toss the carcass back in the crock, and fill it 2/3 of the way full with water.

Note: If you want to throw some carrots, celery, onion or herbs in here, you can make a more flavorful stock. I opt to make mine plain so I can use it in all sort of different recipes.

Turn the crock on low and go to sleep. When you wake up 7-9 hours later, the entire kitchen will smell like chicken soup. Dig out the carcass and store in glass containers until you're ready to use it! (Be sure to freeze it if you're not planning on using it within a few days.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Paleo Coconut Chai Latte

We're prepping for a storm here tomorrow, though we're in the Boston area, so by the time Irene gets here it's looking to just be a bad storm, not anything like an actual hurricane. We are ready to go, from a food and water perspective, and now we're just huddled inside while the first batch of rain waltzes through.

And it's dark and drizzly so I put on a sweater and Will is wearing a flannel shirt and we felt like we needed something hot to sip.


I made this paleo-friendly Coconut Chai Latte recipe in my teeny tiny crockpot. (You could make it in a bigger one, but just keep an eye on it to make sure the milk doesn't burn.)

And it was delicious. I served it in our Simon Pierce glasses to feel extra fancy (and because my mugs were all dirty and I'm too lazy to fish them out of the dishwasher to wash them.)

The Tools: (serves 4)

- 2 qt. crockpot

- 4 cups coconut milk
- 4 black tea bags (mine were decaf for evening tea)
- 2 T agave nectar (controversially paleo... but I use it every now and then)
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1/2 t ginger
- 1/4 t cloves
- 2 t cinnamon

The Process:

Put everything in the crockpot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

You can periodically taste this, to be sure it's on the right track. Lots of times, crockpot cooking can be thwarted if you take the lid off too much, but in this case, I was a total rebel and tasted it several times.

When you're done, dig out the cardamom pods and CAREFULLY remove your tea bags. I say carefully because mine broke and I spent the next twenty minutes carefully straining the liquid through a loose leaf tea strainer.

Oh, well. There's a hurricane coming. It's not like I have anything else to do.

Drizzle a bit more agave in if you want it a touch sweeter.

Stay safe and dry, everyone!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Menu Plan Until the End of the Month

Sometimes I am a moron.  Like I've been making all kinds of homemade Larabar type things lately (aka Fudge Babies) - where you blend up dried fruit/nuts/coconut/cocoa in a food processor and then roll them into balls or press them into bars.  Except I've been using my blender, thinking, "I wonder if this would be better with a food processor".  Then after a few weeks of this, I realize that my blender, which was new last Christmas, came with a separate food processor pitcher and blade and were sitting in the back of my cabinet all along, yet to ever be used.  Well, the food processor attachment is now being used.  Lots.

Oh, yeah.  AND I was going to get a roasted chicken from Costco this afternoon for dinner and completely left it off my list when I rewrote my list after brainstorming a bunch of stuff.  So of course I forgot to get it. I've been known to forget stuff even when it is ON my list and I am following it, so there is no hope if it doesn't even make it on the list! :)  So, I guess I will cook a chicken from the freezer (fortunately), and we'll have that tomorrow.

Since I didn't finish the menu plan for the week, I kinda had to today in order to make my shopping list before I went to the store this afternoon, so I just went ahead and did through the end of August.  If you don't count the $100 Costco membership that I had to renew this month or a mini-excursion of my husband's requiring lots of packaged food, then we are within budget.  If you do, then we aren't!

Love this Walnut Red Pepper Dip, kids included.  Had a non-paleo person ask me for the recipe, so you know that must mean it is good.

I'm getting some farm eggs this weekend, so we will have eggs (and fruit) for breakfast next week!  Lunches will be leftovers, deviled eggs, apples & almond butter, chicken Waldorf salad, carrots and dip, whatever can be found.  Here are the dinners.

Friday - Taco Salad
Saturday - Crock Pot Sticky Chicken, Broccoli
Sunday - Salmon Burgers and Peas
Monday - Grass-fed Apple-Beef Brats, Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Tuesday - Bible Study Dinner
Wednesday - Shrimp and Salad
Thursday - Hamburger Vegetable Soup, paleo style (great way to use up cabbage and chicken stock from my freezer)

I better get crackin' on supper tonight!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coconut Mango Salmon

This ROCKED. It was really refreshing.

I've mentioned before how much I love making fish in my crockpot. It's super fancy AND super lazy all at the same time, which is great for me because I like pretending to be a super mom and making recipes that sound complicated but not actually spending more than ten minutes making dinner.


This was great. The baby had almost an entire filet by herself (over the course of two meals) and Will and I loved it.


The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot
- Parchment packet

- 2 salmon filets, thawed
- 3/4 cup mango chunks (mine was frozen, either fresh or frozen would work)
- 1/4 cup cilantro (mine was leftover from gazpacho I made recently)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- juice of 1 lime

The Process:

Rinse of the salmon filets and set them aside.

Combine all of the other ingredients in a food processor or small bullet blender and blend until you have a paste. Taste it. I wanted to eat it all, because it was so wonderful.

Take 1/3 of the marinade and put it in a container in the fridge.

Put the other 2/3 of the marinade on the salmon, and slide it in the parchment packet.

(Note: if you need a step by step tutorial on how to best do this, please read this post and check out my handy-dandy pictures.)

Drop the parchment packet in the crockpot, and cook on low for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Serve with the rest of the marinade as a sauce.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Whole Foods Shopping Trip

The list:
1. cilantro (which I didn't get because I didn't feel like paying $2 for it)
2. sundried tomatoes
-those first two items I could have gotten somewhere else cheaper, but didn't want another stop-

3. roasted red peppers (I had a coupon)
4. full fat coconut milk (having trouble finding elsewhere)
5. Bragg's raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
6. unsweetened coconut (cheapest from the bulk bin)
7. organic popcorn (ended up being on sale for half price, also from the bulk bin)
8. ground beef family pack (not pictured)

So I know that popcorn isn't paleo, but it is gluten-free, and is inexpensive and one of my husbands favorite treats, especially when we watch a movie. So, that is why I buy it, for that little bit of time when we aren't paleo.

After learning that genentically modified food is one big science experiment that we are all unknowingly part of, and that GMO's are one likely cause for the sudden increase in food allergies in children over the last 15 years, AND that nearly ALL non-organic corn in genetically modified, I have decided to only buy organic popcorn in an attempt to avoid those GMO's. (Read The Unhealthy Truth if you want convincing.) We make our popcorn like this, using coconut oil, sea salt, and often some parmesan cheese on top!

Sunday, Monday Madness

Sunday night: Phew!  We are back from the weekend.  I need to shop.  There is "nothing" in the fridge.  I have no menu plan.  Back to the grindstone!  Any meal suggestions?


It's Monday now.  I went to Aldi today.  Here are the meals for the first part of the week, at least.

Homemade Turkey Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash
Pumpkin Paleo Muffins
Coconut Milk Smoothies
Peach Clafouti (from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook)


Monday - Pizza Chili
Tuesday - Cashew Chicken (didn't do last week)
Wednesday - Chinese Chicken Salad - paleo version
Thursday - Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry
Weekend - TBD

Great Balls of Dates
Walnut Red Pepper Dip & Carrots
Sunny Deviled Eggs (didn't do last week)

These breakfasts all require some prep so I may be making them in the evenings.  Since I can't get any farm eggs right now (a lot of hens from our source couldn't take the heat this summer), we are taking a break from quick scrambled or fried eggs, because we just don't really like conventional eggs that much that way.  I guess my children are egg snobs now.  I hope to get some farm eggs from another source this weekend.

OK, so I know that store-bought OJ is not that natural, but it makes smoothies taste better, in my opinion, so I bought some today.  There are worse things for my kids, right?  I just throw a spoonful of the frozen stuff in the blender with the rest of the ingredients.  Today, my kids had a snack of orange julius smoothies: raw milk, frozen OJ concentrate, vanilla, crushed pineapple (I needed to use up), and ice.  I'd like to think that the fat in the whole milk slowed the absorption somewhat and helped keeping it from being a complete sugar rush.  Of course some coconut oil would have helped, too.

Coming soon: A photo of what I bought at Whole Foods last week.  I'll show you what I chose to buy there - because I can't get it anywhere else.  Because I'm a dork like that.

Have a great week, everyone!

P.S - This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday.

Super lazy (but tasty!) roast

We had a busy weekend, and I wanted a lazy Monday with the baby. reading books, playing peek-a-boo and generally giggling a lot.

This recipe took 10 minutes to throw in the crockpot, and it was delicious. Some sort of paleo roast generally hits our table every week or so. AND we have leftovers for a day or two.


The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

- 2 lb. (ish) roast of some sort (mine was a beef chuck roast)
- 1 1/2 cup beef broth
- onion, chopped
- several carrots, chopped
- 2 T Herbes de Provence

The Process:

Put the roast in the crockpot and rub the Herbes de Provence on it.

Cut up the onion and carrot and toss them in the crock over the roast.

Pour the beef broth over the top. Cook on low for 8 hours.

... and giggle and play all day while it cooks away.

Sweet 'N Spicy Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops

Yes, I went there. I wrapped pork with more pork.
And it was delicious.
You're welcome.
The Tools:
6 qt. crockpot
3 boneless, skinless pork chops
6 pieces of bacon
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 T red chili paste (or red chili flakes work, too)
1 20 oz. can pineapple (or one pineapple cut up, if you're one of those ambitious people who cuts up their own pineapple.)
The Process:
Wrap the bacon around the pork chops, and secure with toothpicks.
Put in an oven safe dish and broil for 15-20 minutes, just until the edges of the bacon get a little bit crispy.
While your bacon wrapped masterpieces are broiling away, mix together the mustard and red chili paste together. I normally try my sauces, and I did try this one... but it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. It's got some kick!
Once the bacon wrapped pork chops have just started to crisp, transfer them to your CrockPot.
Spread the mustard and chili sauce over the bacon wrapped pork chops evenly.
Drain the pineapple juice from the can of pineapples, then dump those on top of the pork chops.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or until the pork chops are cooked to your liking.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Simple Roasted Beets

I love beets. I love having a bunch of roasted beets sitting in a Pyrex in the fridge all weeks, and I can sprinkle them on my salads or eat them plain whenever I want. (I swear, the picture above is actually of beets. They're some heirloom variety that is sort of a golden color that I found at the farmer's market, and because I'm all about biodiversity in our food supply, I promptly bought my weird beets. They are quite tasty.)

But since we have a ban on cooking or roasting in aluminum foil, they need to be roasted chopped up.

And because I am a dunder-head when it comes to cooking and have a penchant for walking away from the oven while something is roasting and check my email, get a link to a cool website, read an article and then go find Will to tell him about what I read... all while I've forgotten something in the oven for an extra twenty minutes...

well, it's just easier to use the crockpot and make my paleo snacks.

This is easy. Really, really easy. And you can modify it if you want to: add some garlic or some herbs to spice things up, or enjoy them plain like I do.

The Tools:

- 2 qt. crockpot

- Bunch of beets
- 1/3 cup water

The Process:

Are you wearing a nice outfit? Go change into crummy clothing or put on an apron.

Good. Now you can chop beets.

Peel and chop up the beets. Put them in the crock. Dump the water over them.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Paleo Crockpot Mild Indian Curry Recipe

So awhile back I was perusing my Googled crockpot search results for crockpot curries, and I happened upon this gem at Stephanie O'Dea's website, apparently developed by the crew at Rachael Ray.

I modified it a bit to make it paleo, and I did a few things different (more meat, no eggplant (we just don't like eggplant), more garlic, curry powder, and an extra sweet potato or two for some extra carbs since we don't serve it over rice) BUT it is still basically Rachael's recipe.

I serve this over steamed cauliflower.

AND IT IS DELICIOUS. (It's also one of my go-to recipes for company, since it's so simple and tasty.)

I only have a picture of the scrapings of the crock because it's so good, I forgot to take a picture of my bowl before I ate it.

The baby will even eat parts of this! AND it's even more flavorful the second day, so be sure to make enough for leftovers. This is a brilliant recipe because you can really use whatever veggies you have on hand: sweet potatoes, eggplant, any combination of bell peppers, any kind of onion, etc. Mix it up until you find what works best for you.

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

- 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (mine were frozen solid)
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 1 T agave nectar (or honey, if you're not using agave)
- 1 T red chili paste (I usually use a bit more than that, but start slow and add more if you need to later)
- 1 T tamari wheat-free soy sauce (okay, again, it's not really paleo, but I still use it every now and then and you could probably leave it out and it would be just fine)
- 1 T curry powder
- 1 t fish sauce
- 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 inch knob of ginger, diced
- 1 onion
- 1 green pepper (or other color pepper; it doesn't really matter)
- 2-3 sweet potatoes, depending on how carby you want to be

The Process:

Mix the coconut milk, fish sauce, tamari, curry powder, garlic, ginger, agave and red chili paste together in the crock. Put the chicken in the sauce, flipping it to get it covered. Dump your veggies on top, but there's really not any need to mix them in the sauce as well. Just let them steam away.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Mine bubbled away for 7 1/2 hours before I turned it on warm for an additional hour.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Paleo Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe

We've been having a lot of garlic and savory-type foods lately, so I wanted something a little different today. Even though it's August, the air was cool this morning on our walk to Will's office, and I thought of fall.

And apples. And sweet potatoes.

This is a great side dish, and the baby loves it so I make it quite often. (And since we don't feed her crackers or grains, she needs the carbs.)

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot

- 4 large-ish sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 1/8 t nutmeg
- 1/8 t cloves
- 2 T honey (and more for drizzling, if you so desire)

The Process:

Plop the sweet potato chunks in the crock. Mix together the remaining ingredients (sans the drizzling honey) and taste. Add more of anything if you think you want it.

Then dump the applesauce mixture over the sweet potatoes, mix them up a bit, and let it cook on low for 3 hours.

Overcooking won't hurt the dish, but you will eventually end up with sweet potato mush if you let it go too long.

Add some honey at the end for a touch of extra sweetness. (I used unsweetened applesauce, so I found that another drop of honey really "made" this dish.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Primal Banana Muffins

I like this paleo pumpkin muffin recipe.
I adapted the recipe to make these banana muffins a few weeks back.
1½ cups almond flour
3/4 cup  pureed banana
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 to 2 tsp  ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw honey (optional)
2 tsp almond butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Coat 6 muffin tins with coconut oil (or use paper muffin cups and add 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil to batter).*
  3. Mix all ingredients and pour evenly into muffin pan.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.
* I use a silicone muffin pan so I omit this step and also shorten the baking time by 5-7 minutes.
Serve warm with butter!
I typically make a double batch of muffins.  I figure if I am going to the work, I should at least make enough for my family.

We tried these apple muffins recipe this morning.  I think that all 3 of these recipes turn out very similar in texture, just slightly different flavors (pumpkin/banana/apple)... so take your pick! :)

*****************************UPDATE, 2/10/12******************************

My new choice way of making banana muffins is following this muffin recipe, with the following changes:

Use banana puree in place of the pumpkin and maple syrup.  Omit the nutmeg and cloves.  Keep the rest of the ingredients the same.  Chocolate chips are still optional - I haven't tried it with them.

I also like this banana bread.


Homemade Roasted Red Peppers, Made and Pureed

Well, so I was so annoyed when I couldn't find the first 3 items on my shopping list today and my kids were acting up so I left Hy-Vee without buying anything.  I've never done that before.  It didn't really have anything to do with Hy-Vee, I normally enjoy shopping there.  I just realized that I was going to have to make a stop at either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods later in the week, and so I didn't want to waste any more time, because I definitely still needed to shop at Aldi today.  So I just left, and didn't take any red peppers home with me.  I had some sliced red peppers frozen in the freezer, so here's what I did:

1. thaw
2. roast under the broiler, skin sides up, until partially blackened
3. put in a Ziploc while warm, to sweat
4. peel skins off
5. puree in mini food processor with hand blender attachment

I didn't get the quantity I wanted due to my limited supply in the freezer, but the roasting method seemed to work just fine.

In case you are wondering, the three mystery items that I didn't find at Hy-Vee and didn't take the time to ask about due to my impatience with my children (shame on me), were full fat coconut milk, a specific brand (El Pato) enchilada sauce, and unsweetened coconut.  I think I'm going to have to go to Whole Foods for some coconut milk (I can't find the red can Thai kitchen or whatever brand anywhere anymore) and the unsweetened coconut.  I decided I will make my own enchilada sauce with diced tomatoes and green chilis and tomato paste and water and spices.

Slow-Simmered Meat Sauce

I like to make my own meat sauce, but find I never have time to do so on the day that I actually want to use it.

So I just do it ahead of time, often on a yucky rainy day like we had today. (Considering I'll spend the rest of the day reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? a few dozen times, I feel productive when I at least make sauce...) This makes a pretty good amount of sauce, so you shouldn't need to do it very often.

Re-use some of your glass jars and use it for the next few days over spaghetti squash or in a paleo-friendly lasagna.

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

- 1 lb. ground beef or bison
- 1 onion
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 1/2 cup mushrooms
- 3 cans (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
- 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 T oregano flakes
- 1/2 t cayenne pepper (or less, if you like your sauce milder - this amount makes a sauce with a little kick, but not a ton of heat)

The Process:

Brown the ground beef, drain the excess fat and plop it in the crockpot.

In the same skillet, saute the onion for 3-4 minutes until it's mostly translucent. Add the garlic, green bell pepper and mushroom and turn the heat to low. Let it simmer until the vegetables have softened, then dump them all in the crockpot.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot, stir well and let it simmer away for 5-8 hours on low.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thai Lime Coconut Chicken Soup!

I really miss Thai food. Of all things I gave up when I went Paleo, Thai food was definitely one of the hardest to let go.

But you don't have to! I stumbled across this recipe earlier this summer, and decided to paleo-ify it. It was a fairly easy recipe to modify, and I probably make this soup once a week. Will likes it, I LOVE it, and there's always enough leftover for a few lunches during the week. The baby eats the chicken from the soup happily, so I don't have to make her her own special protein for dinner.

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- Juice from 4 limes (or approximately 6 T lime juice from those convenient little bottles...)
- 3 T fish sauce
- 1 T chili paste (or chili flakes work, too - again, use as much or as little as you like and remember YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD MORE LATER but you can't take it out)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 1/2 inch ginger, peeled and freshly grated (or just under 1 T of ground ginger)
- 3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
- 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
- 5-6 small sweet bell peppers (or 1 large red bell pepper), chopped
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (more or less if you prefer - this makes a pretty hearty soup, so if you prefer a leaner soup, maybe only use a pound)

Optional: Seafood!  I used one of those frozen seafood medley packs from Trader Joe's. Other seafood would work as well.

The Process:

Dump the first seven ingredients together in the crockpot. Mix them together. Voila! You have your soup base.

Chop up the rest of the ingredients and add them. We like our veggies to be bigger chunks in the soup, but to each his own; chop them up as you like. Cut up the chicken and cook it on LOW for 4-5 hours, or until the chicken is fully cooked.  If you are using seafood, make sure it is thawed and crank that crockpot up to HIGH and toss the seafood in for the last thirty minutes until it's opaque and cooked through, but not too tough.

This Week's Menu Plan, Among Other Things

Well, I've been wanting shrimp for awhile, but around here, it is hard to find some that is not from Thailand, so we didn't  have a shrimp meal last week :(

I went to Aldi on Thursday and got 6 nectarines, 6 peaches, 2 lbs. of red grapes, and 4.5 lbs. of bananas all for $6 and change.  Not bad.

We went out to eat as a family once over the weekend since we had some gift cards to use :)

Here's the plan for this week-

Eggs and Fruit/Smoothies
Paleo Apple Muffins

Tuna and Avocado Salad

Dinner ideas:
Monday: Pollo Con Salsa Roja*
Tuesday: Garden Fresh Meatballs*, Salad
Wednesday: Sundried Tomato Chicken Bake, Green Beans
Thursday: Meaty Pumpkin Souffle*
Weekend: with family

Taking to Potluck:
Sunny Deviled Eggs*

Find more menus of all sorts at organizing junkie...

*Recipes from the cookbook Everyday Paleo

I am on the lookout for paleo cold lunch ideas for my kids that include healthy fats (to keep them sane) without any nuts or nut products... because that is what I will be having to pack once a week for my kiddos.  (No nut products is the school rule.) I'm thinking lots of avocados, which my kids love :)  And of course meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, etc.  And maybe some of these, as a treat?

Another side note: Last week for my son's b-day, I decided to take it easy and buy a Trader Joe's flour less chocolate cake.  He loves chocolate as much as me.  It was a splurge at $7 for one smallish cake but it was good, kind of like the consistency of a homemade brownie.  I made Laura's healthy homemade ice cream recipe with raw cream, milk, farm eggs, and maple syrup (I made 1/4 of the recipe she makes).  It, too, was good.  And I bought a few of Trader Joe's frozen pizzas.  That, I will never do again.  We are NOT picky eaters, but they were awful, dry and tasteless.  Truly a waste of money.  I wished I had gotten a Costco take 'n' bake pepperoni pizza instead.  Even with all the crap in it, it would have at least tasted good.  Oh well, lesson learned!

Last week, I also unfortunately chose to get too little sleep and consequently paid the price.  I was exhausted, got a cold, uncharacteristically relied on caffeine and starches, and was a emotional, grumpy mess.  I took the latter half of the week off from working out in order to sleep in a little and just chill out and recover.  I feel much better now and am reminded of how much those choices affect me... And now we are back in the paleo saddle!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Zucchini and Carrrot Stuffed Chicken Breast

I sort of went nuts today at the farmer's market. The produce is really coming in now in Massachusetts, and the market reflects that. There's still some good lettuce left, but we're also getting these amazing tomatoes and eggplant. The nice lady that sells local honey was there, so I picked up a little bottle.

So when I came home, I took all of my produce and spread it across the counter.

And then I decided what to make for dinner.

I've been intrigued by the idea of doing stuffed chicken in the crockpot for awhile now, but actually haven't ever done it until tonight.

The Ingredients/Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot (larger might work, but this is what I used)
- toothpicks

- 2 plump chicken breasts, thawed
- approximately 1 cup shredded carrots
- approximately 1 cup shredded zucchini
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced - add a few more in there if you like your chicken extra savory
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 t crumbled dried sage (or ground sage, or ground poultry seasoning - whatever floats your boat will work here)

The Process:

Mix the last six ingredients together in a small bowl to make the stuffing mixture. If you're shredding your own carrot and zucchini, please do so with caution. If you have an older child, this would be a great job for them to do.

Slice the chicken breasts down the middle, creating a nice little chicken packet for your stuffing mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the chicken; stuff it as full as you possibly can. Secure the ends of the chicken with toothpicks.

Plop your stuffed masterpieces in your crockpot.

Cook on low for about 4 hours, or until chicken is fully cooked.

The Judgement:

I was having too much fun chasing the baby around this afternoon, and kind of let time get away from me. The chicken was still very tasty! But it was also a little dry, as I left it in there for five hours.

Not horribly so, but just enough that we noticed it. I was a little bummed, because the flavors were wonderful otherwise!

We still gobbled it up. I had planned on serving the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, but I accidentally ate it all tonight instead.

I will definitely make this again... I'll just be sure to set the timer next time!

Homemade Roasted Red Peppers

I had never used roasted red peppers in a recipe until last week.  Now I am hooked.  They just add another dimension of flavor!

Since fresh red bell peppers are 77 cents at Hy-Vee this week, I am going to attempt making my own.  I'll let you know how they turn out!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Spicy Tangy Salmon

Did you know that you can cook FISH in your crockpot?

I learned of this several months ago through my everyday crockpot Googling, and was beyond giddy. I think I talked about it nonstop for two days, which apparently wears on your spouse's nerves.

I learned a lesson here, obviously.

ANYways, on to fish in the crockpot! This dish is spicy, tangy and the fish itself is tender and flaky all at the same time. It takes only a few minutes to prep, and only a few hours to cook.

The Ingredients/Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot (oval works best for fish, but if you need to chop your fish up and use a different size, no biggie)
- 1 Parchment Paper Bag

- 2 salmon filets, thawed if previously frozen
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 1/2 T Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1/2" knob of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper (but keep it out in case you want more)

The Process:

Gently rise off your salmon filets in the sink, then set them aside.

Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and mix vigorously together. Taste it. If you think it needs more cayenne pepper, ADD IT SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY. I ended up with just a bit more than 1/2 teaspoon, but I'm a bit of a spicy food nut.

Using some sort of pastry brush or rubber spatula, carefully (or sloppily - it doesn't really matter) spread the mixture over the salmon, getting every last little crevice. I don't bother getting the side with the skin, as that's the side the salmon will cook on, but you can if you want. This step would actually be perfect for a small child if you're trying to involve kids in the cooking process. Our one year old is still a bit too small to help.

Slide both of the salmon filets in a parchment bag and place with the skin side down in your crockpot. (Or someone else's crockpot would work, too. But I do not condone crockpot stealing.)

IF you are like me and your salmon is too big to fit in the crockpot side-by-side, you can fold the parchment packet on itself, like the picture below.

It should neatly fit in your crockpot now.

Cook on low for 2-3 hours, or until the fish is flaky but not dried out. Serve with whatever paleo-friendly food strikes your fancy.

The Judgement:

The fish was cooked perfectly after 2 hours and 15 minutes, and it was delicious!

Will asked me to lay off the cayenne if I make this particular dish again; it was a touch spicy for him. But we both gobbled it up, and I am looking forward to the leftovers sitting in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch.

And the bonus? Cleaning up a crockpot after you make fish in parchment bags is a breeze!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Reflections and This Week's Menu Plan

So, last week - "the week of pretty much all new dinner recipes" - was fun.

The keepers:

Wild Salmon Salad - just because it is a new and EASY way to use canned salmon. (I buy the wild caught kind for $1.99 at Aldi).  I realize the recipe online doesn't  say to use canned, but that's what the variation in the Everyday Paleo cookbook calls for.  Not a fav meal for the kids, but that's ok, maybe it will grow on them.  My littlest just always picks the stuff he likes out of salads anyways, and doesn't eat the lettuce.

Marvelous Meatballs - I love that this makes plenty for our family of 4 to get 2 meals out of it.  And that it is a crock-pot meal.  The sauce is nothing I'll rave about, but it tastes decent with no sugar in it, which is a first for me, so that is awesome to find.  Will definitely make again.

Spice Rub Crock Pot Chicken - at lot like the Sticky Chicken I have previously made, but not quite as spicy.  I used the carcass and made some extra stock to use for some Chicken Soup this week, so we'll see how that goes - I haven't tested the flavor yet.  The chicken meat was great, so I expect the stock to be as well.

Here are some things on the menu for this coming week...

Berry Crumble
Dare we eat our ground turkey that is supposedly not on the recall list?  I already cooked it and made sausage out of it and it is in the freezer.... Should I toss it?

Chicken, Almonds, Grapes
Wild Salmon Salad
Leftovers from the evening before

Monday - Nitrate-Free Beef Hot Dogs and Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday - Cashew Chicken
Wednesday - There's a birthday boy!!  Pizza, cake, and homemade ice cream!
Thursday - Meatloaf, Peas, Salad
Friday - Chicken No-Tortilla Soup, Avocados, Salad
Saturday - Grilled Shrimp, Salad, Sweet Potatoes
Sunday - TBD

Fun treats, "for the kids".... :)
Fudge Babies
Dark Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Bites

For a host of other menus, see the Organizing Junkie... any other paleo pals on the list?