Monday, November 30, 2009

Pumpkin Fest!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed your time with family and friends! Last week was all about getting ready for Turkey Day, and as a consequence we had a lot of pumpkin around the house!!!

Pumpkin recipe #1. Pumpkin Soup! This was really pretty tasty and totally easy to make! we all agreed that some sliced chicken sausage would be excellent in it!!
6 C chicken stock (no added salt)
2 (16 oz) cans pumpkin puree
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 C low fat coconut milk
Some sea salt to taste (optional)
Heat chicken stock, ground pepper and pumpkin puree in a large pot. Sauté onion an garlic in 1 tsp olive oil until onions are tender and translucent. Add to pot and bring to a boil for about 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and fresh parsley (fresh chives would be good, too). Serve with sausage on the side (or sliced in the soup) and a side salad!

Recipe #2. Paleo Pumpkin Pie! Mmmmmmm good! I really enjoyed this! We got this recipe from our friend, Steve. So check out his link to the right for this recipe!

Recipe #3. Pumpkin Pork Chops! I had a bit of pumpkin puree leftover and was feeling a bit creative! This is what happened, and I have to tell you (even though is may sound funny), it was delicious! REALLY! ;-) We enjoyed this with some sliced, baked sweet potatoes and a side salad.
4 (3-4 oz) portions pork chops, trimmed of all visible fat, and slightly pounded
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C green onions
2 T Italian parsley, chopped
1 C chicken broth (no added salt)
3/4 C pumpkin puree
1/2 C low fat coconut milk
black pepper and sea salt to taste (optional)
1 T olive oil
about 1/4 C almond meal
1 tsp. black pepper
1 T dried parsley
1 T dried onion, minced
1 tsp. garlic powder

After pounding pork chops, lightly sprinkle with breading. Heat olive oil in non-stick pan and brown chops on both sides until golden brown. Remove to a baking pan. Deglaze the skillet with a little chicken broth. Saute onions and garlic until tender. Add all other ingredients to pan to make a sauce. When all in blended well, pour over pork chops, sprinkle with some fresh Italian parsley and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees. I'm telling you... they turned out tender and delicious! Neither the pumpkin or the coconut milk dominated with their flavors! Give it a try! Let me know what you think! Hope you enjoy...

*Paleo-Zone challengers be proud! You guys are SO awesome! Michele and I are compiling info... It's all so very impressive. Stay tuned! :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cinnamon Chicken

Tonight's recipe comes from one of our very successful Paleo-Zone challenger's, Larisa!!!
She has done amazing on the challenge and just looks absolutely fantastic! When I see her in the gym her smile says it ALL! She's performing great, she looks great, and she's eating great! Congratulations Larisa and thanks for the wonderful recipe... it was delicious!!!

4-skinless, boneless chicken breasts (slightly pounded and cut in half) to yield 8 pieces
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 C water
1 C chicken stock (no added salt)
1 6-oz can tomato paste (no added salt)
1 T fresh oregano, chopped (... I didn't have oregano, so I substituted flat leaf Italian parsley)

Bring water and sea salt to a boil and set aside. Mix cinnamon, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix over the chicken breasts.
Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium hight heat. Brown chicken for about 4-5 minutes on each side until it is well browned. I removed the chicken breast to a plate for the next step. Lower heat on skillet to medium and add the onions and minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, until onions have softened. Add wine. When the wine has evaporated, add the water, chicken stock, tomato paste and oregano (or parsley). Return chicken to the pan. The liquid should cover about 3/4 of the chicken pieces. Cover and simmer over low heat for about an hour. Serves 8 (Yay leftovers!). Zone blocks: 2.5-3 F, 3 P, 1 C
I served this with 1 C steamed broccoli and a side salad!

*Zone-Paleo challenge is ending! We have just a few finishing up with their benchmark workouts! You have this week to complete those! There are some phenomenal results in the gym! I can not TELL you how amazing this has been to witness! Can you say, "PR"? ... all over the place! Congratulations to you ALL who took this on! YOU are all winners! I can not wait to post all the success stories! ... stay tuned. :-)

OH and keep sending in your favorite paleo recipes... I love it!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Scott's Stir Fry

Scott cooked dinner tonight! As much as I love to cook... It is SO nice not to have to cook! I went to a 6pm CrossFit and came home to a great stir fry!
He sauteed garlic and shallots in some olive oil. He added the broccoli first, and then added chopped kale, sliced yellow and red peppers. Lastly he added the shrimp! It was very good... I loved the peppers!! I don't really know his exact measurements... He said he kind of just threw this together! But it IS paleo! :-)

*Paleo/Zone challenge is ending!!! This is so exciting... Please be at the gym this Sunday at 12:30 with your final stats AND ready to take your "after" picture. If you can remember... wear exactly what you wore for your initial picture!!! If you have a benchmark workout that you REALLY need to do... come in and ask one of the trainers to run that special wod for you!!! Your information sheets are in the gym (the food log box)... check your stats. This is an important piece of the challenge. Good luck & we'll see you on Sunday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Open" Meal Pasta

Tonight's dinner was a request from my kids... no, a "plea" from my kids! PASTA PLEASE. I've been wanting to try this pasta that Narine gave me... Quinoa pasta. It's naturally gluten free (made from corn & quinoa flour). Thank you, Narine!!! So... tonight was an "open" meal... which is when you stretch your liberties a little with the paleo guidelines on one particular meal. The pasta was GREAT (and still gluten free). Of course the biggest justification for this wonderful meal tonight was the fact that we did a 2K row in CrossFit today! Congratulations to everyone who rowed today, especially to everyone who PR'd this row! Don't we all deserve a little pasta?
Michele has also recommended Soba noodles... a Japanese buckwheat pasta that is also naturally gluten free and shucked instead of milled (making it a more paleo-wise pasta choice)... read the label carefully to make sure it states: 100% buckwheat. It is really OKAY, when you are eating paleo strictly, to enjoy an "open" meal from time-to-time! :-)
Zone wise, this was not extremely balanced. 1 C of pasta, 1/4 C sauce, and 1 chicken sausage = 3F, 2P, and 5 C... If you want a higher block meal, you could actually have two sausages to up the fat and protein and make it more balanced (that's what Scott did... making it 5-4-5).

Pasta Sauce Recipe:
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tsp olive oil
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (no added salt)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste (no added salt)
1 C red wine
1 T Italian seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
a little water (as needed)
Fresh basil, chopped (about 1/4-1/2 C)

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add tomato sauce, paste, and red wine. Bring to a low boil. Add seasonings and simmer, uncovered for about an hour (add water as needed for desired consistency). Add basil a little before serving. I browned sausages and added them to the sauce while it simmered.

Today was another great benchmark WOD for the Paleo/Zone challenge... and a true testament to just how well this works! There were MORE pr's on the whiteboard today... It's been wonderful to witness all your successes! Congratulations!! :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pot Roast with Wine & Tomatoes

Once again I am grateful to my crock pot! It is truly my Paleo lifesaver on busy days! I was feeling pretty accomplished... a PR on my clean & jerk AND dinner done... all by 11:00 am! This allowed me to spend the rest of my day running errands and running my kids around to their multiple Tuesday functions... without worrying about dinner!

I used about a 4 lb beef chuck shoulder roast
1 T olive oil
black pepper
course sea salt (optional)
1 onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes (no added salt)
1/2 C red wine

Sprinkle roast with ground black pepper and a little sea salt (if desired). Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and sear meat on all sides. When browned, add to crock pot. Add onions to skillet and saute until tender. Add red wine to skillet and quickly deglaze pan, and add to crock pot. Pour stewed tomatoes over roast and scatter with garlic cloves. Cover and slow cook on low for 5-6 hours.
I served this meal with sliced sweet potatoes (which I baked in the oven for 45 minutes at 375 degrees) and steamed artichokes. A 3oz portion of roast (with some sauce), about 1/2 sweet potato, and 1 artichoke is only about a 4 block meal! Hope you enjoy! :-)

I happened to notice a lot of PR's on the board today from those in the Zone/Paleo challenge!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mediterranean Chicken

I went away last weekend and took a few liberties with eating... okay, maybe a LOT of liberties... anyway you look at it, today was a particularly hard Monday at CrossFit. This WOD may have kicked my butt (thanks, Michele), but it felt SO great to get back on track today! Tonight I made a very comforting, as well as nutritious, Paleo meal! Hope you enjoy...

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (trimmed, cut in half and pounded)
almond meal
dried parsley flakes
14 oz can quartered artichokes
14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2.25 can sliced black olives
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp olive oil
2-3 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix about 1/2 C almond meal with 2 T dried parsley. After pounding chicken breasts, sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with almond meal mixture. Heat olive oil in a skillet, and in batches, brown chicken breasts on both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Add to baking dish when finished. After all 8 chicken breasts are browned... add chicken broth to skillet and deglaze pan. Add all other ingredients to pan, and bring to a quick low boil, then pour over chicken. Sprinkle top with fresh Italian parsley and bake for about 30 minutes.

I served this with a side salad and some steamed broccoli! There are plenty of leftovers to enjoy for lunches!
I would definitely make this recipe again. It was tasty! However, I would add diced mushrooms, and sliced onions next time! :-)

*Our Paleo/Zone challenge is coming to an end!!!!! FINAL check-in and "after"-photo is scheduled for this Sunday... November 22nd at 12:30! If you can't make it Sunday, we do need a final photo and your performance stats by Tuesday, November 24th, so please make arrangements! IF you can't remember which benchmark stats you selected, we will have your information sheets in the gym (in the food log box) for you to refresh your memory! Michele will be happy to run some special wods for the challengers at her 10 am class if you need some additional performance data. Congratulations to you ALL for taking on this challenge! ...What an amazing accomplishment!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NOT Minestrone Soup

I was hoping for a minestrone-type soup... without the pasta or beans, of course! This was pretty tasty. A perfect meal for rooting on the San Francisco 49ers on a chilly Thursday night!

about 3 lbs lean ground pork
32 oz beef broth, no added salt
15 oz diced tomatoes, canned, no added salt
8 oz tomato sauce, no added salt
1 C red wine
1 1/2 C carrots, sliced
3 stalks, celery
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 C mushrooms
2-3 small zucchini, sliced
about 2 C spinach
1 bay leaf
ground pepper
Italian seasoning

Brown ground pork in a skillet and add to crock pot. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in skillet with 1 tsp olive oil, add to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients (EXCEPT zucchini and spinach) to crock pot. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Add additional liquid to the soup, if needed. About a half hour before serving, add zucchini and spinach to soup. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf... (it ended up in my bowl tonight). :-) Hope you enjoy! .... Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pork Loin With Roasted Brussels Sprouts

VERY rarely does my family have to put up with my craving for brussels sprouts! I love them... they hate them! I have desperately tried to find new ways to cook them... determined to find a recipe that will cure their distaste for the poor brussels sprout. Well, I certainly thought these were exceptionally yummy tonight, but my family would still prefer that brussels sprouts stay out of my shopping cart!!! Bah...
Tonight's protein was a pork loin... with a very simple rub.
pork loin (ours was a pretty small one... about 2 lbs)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper
onion powder
turmeric powder
olive oil
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim any visible fat from pork loin and rub with a little olive oil. Season with garlic, pepper, turmeric, and onion powder. Bake for about 30-45 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 175 degrees).

The brussels sprouts will also bake at 400 degrees! Trim brussels sprouts (about a pound) and cut in half. Slice one large shallot and mince about 2 cloves garlic. Toss them all in a little olive oil and put in a baking dish. Sprinkle with black pepper... and a little sea salt (if desired). Bake for about 25 minutes.
I know brussels sprouts don't hold the popularity prize for vegetables... but they are LOADED with nutritional benefits! They are rich in vitamins A and C... minerals like potassium and calcium! They are a "cruciferous" vegetable (cabbage family) which are full of fiber AND may protect against certain cancers!... give 'em a shot!
If you think you have a recipe that will make my family "brussels lovers" .... let me know!! :-)
Oh...I also served this meal with large green salad! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wine-Braised Boneless Short Ribs

Today was a little nippy! The only time I got my body temperature up at all today was doing front squats and rope climbs! This was a nice cozy meal... and warmed me right up! I used my crock pot again for this one! It's still on the kitchen counter... where it will probably stay until March! :-)

1 1/2 lbs boneless short ribs
ground pepper, garlic powder and onion powder
1 T olive oil
1/2 C red wine
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes (no added salt)
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 C black olives, medium
1 C mushrooms
2 T fresh rosemary

Heat olive oil in a pan. Sprinkle beef with black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Brown beef on all sides. Then add to crock pot. Add red wine to pan to deglaze and scrape up all remaining bits! Add that to crock pot! (I actually think baby carrots would be great in this dish, but I was out of them). Put all remaining ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Tonight was my first time cooking with an acorn squash! They are much easier to cut than spaghetti squash. Whew! Cut it in half, remove the seeds, and then cut into 1/8... skin and all!

3 T agave nectar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Coat squash with glaze and bake at 400 degrees, 15 minutes covered... and 25 more minutes, uncovered! I liked it! This skin is pretty thin on the acorn squash, but my husband thought it would have been better pealed! I'd definitely play around with it some more! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Hmmmm. I was trying to think of a clever name for this dish, but couldn't come up with anything!! This turned out really good, and I'm disappointed to simply give it the generic title of: "stuffed chicken breasts". It just doesn't do it justice!... So, if you can think of anything better, please let me know! I'll be making this again, and I feel it deserves some sort of recognition... at least a memorable name! Hope you enjoy...

2 large boneless chicken breasts, skinned and cut in half (to yield 4 - 3oz portions)
... pound chicken breasts pretty thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 C pecan pieces
1/4 C celery, thinly sliced
1/2 large apple, diced (I used a granny smith)
1/4 C dates, minced
1 C beef broth, low sodium (divided... 1/2 C for the stuffing, and 1/2 C for the sauce)
2 tsp olive oil
black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Mix in celery, apples, pecans, dates and beef broth. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until most liquid is absorbed. Stuff chicken with mixture (I guess I managed to fill each breast with about 2+ T of the mixture). Roll the chicken breast as best you can and secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle the tops of the chicken breasts with some paprika and black pepper. Bake, covered, for about 50 minutes.

While that is cooking.... make a sauce with the remainder stuffing mixture! I added another 1/2 cup beef broth to the mixture and simmered until thick and saucy! I topped the chicken breasts with a little of this sauce just before serving.

Have this with a vegetable side of your choice! I went with steamed zucchini again (just what I had in the frig tonight). A side salad would also be a nice addition! :-)

*Paleo/Zone Challenge is coming to an end! Remember to keep your stats updated for performance based improvements. On Sunday, November 22, we'll have our final meeting where we'll take the "after" photo, and gather all the additional data! Good luck....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Shrimp and Zucchini

I was cooking for myself tonight, and really wanted simple, quick and little mess! I love shrimp... (it really is my favorite). It's a pretty perfect Paleo food choice, too. I buy the raw, tail-on frozen shrimp from Costco. It's already peeled and deveined. So it's super easy to just pull out exactly how many shrimp I want, thaw it really quick in some water, and cook a simple personal-sized meal (of course it's easy to cook larger portions, too).
For a 3 block meal, I grabbed 9 shrimp.
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 T lemon grass herb blend (Gourmet Garden 4 oz tube, found in most produce departments)
curry powder
black pepper
3 small zucchini

Saute garlic in olive oil (at about med. high temp.) Add shrimp, cook until pink (cooks pretty quickly). Sprinkle with a little curry... not too much. Curry can be overpowering, for this dish I just wanted a hint. I sprinkled with black pepper, too. While I was cooking shrimp, I steamed the zucchini... not too long because I wanted it al dente. I added the zucchini with the shrimp, tossed together quickly, and served! That's it... 15 minutes and I was fed Paleo cuisine, full and happy! :-)
Enjoy and I hope you're having a great weekend!

**Zone-Paleo challenge meeting tomorrow... Sunday... 12:30. See you then!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meatloaf, Again??

Ok... this is similar to the meatloaf post in September, but with a twist! It's like a "max effort" meatloaf. It was really good (however I needed more spinach in my meatloaf tonight, so the recipe reflects what I think would be a better amount).
My friend Miriam introduced me to roasted Flax Seeds... and I'm hooked. They are a great compliment... to just about anything! They are rich in omega 3's and add a nice nutty flavor! Tonight I sprinkled them over the meatloaf, as well as the baked sweet potatoes! They are also wonderful toppings for salads! :-)
"Max effort" meatloaf ingredients:
2 lbs lean ground beef (93/7)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 C fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T flaxseed oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 hard boiled eggs
about 12 oz fresh spinach (or approx. 3 C)... error on the generous side as it shrinks down so much!
1 tsp olive oil
about 1 T roasted flaxseeds

Saute spinach in 1 tsp olive oil, and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (except roasted flaxseeds, and hard boiled eggs). Spread a little less than half the beef mixture in the bottom of a loaf pan. Place a layer of spinach over beef mixture, without touching sides of the loaf pan. Place the two hard boiled eggs in the center, and cover with more spinach... tucking in the eggs nicely and still not touching the sides of the pan. Now top with the remainder of beef mixture, and sprinkle with the roasted flaxseeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. This should yield about 6 4oz servings (3F, 4P)

While the meatloaf was cooking, I simultaneously was cooking 1 sweet potato, sliced. I sprayed a baking pan with olive oil spray, added sweet potato slices, sprinkled a little garlic powder, ground pepper, and some more roasted flaxseeds! This was ready about the same time as the meatloaf. I also added a green salad to balance out the carbs! Hope you enjoy... it was a fun twist on the usual!

*Reminder: Paleo/Zone Challenge meeting this Sunday at 12:30. Bring in a favorite recipe for the Eat This site!! :-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Peppered Tri Tip

Tri tip is my husband's favorite!! So, I was pretty popular tonight! :-) I am also lucky enough to have some fresh rosemary growing in my yard.... Tri tip & rosemary, what a beautiful combination! I also recommend saving some carbs for a glass of red wine to pair this meal with! ... In my opinion... it is a must! :-) Not to mention it may help take your mind off your shoulders! ...OHS's, ring dips and presses, Oh My!!

2-3 lb tri tip - trimmed of all visible fat
2 T fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
2-3 tsp ground black pepper

After trimming the fat, especially that big fatty layer on the back side, rub the tri tip with a little olive oil and the rosemary, garlic, and pepper (If you can, let it sit like that for about 15 minutes). In a cast iron pan heat olive oil on med/hi heat and brown tri tip on all sides (searing all the spices). Place in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (until internal temp is 145-150 degrees)... do not over cook! I start checking the temperature after about 10 minutes (depends on the size of the tri tip).

While I was cooking the tri tip, I cooked one sweet potato, sliced, at the same temperature. I sprayed a little olive oil cooking spray in a pan and put in the sliced sweet potatoes. I then seasoned with garlic powder and some more fresh rosemary! Whola... This was also served with some steamed yellow squash... AND there was still room for 1 glass of cabernet sauvignon! This was a 4 block Paleo meal (3 oz portion of tri tip!) Very peppery, delicious and filling!

*Paleo/Zone Challengers! I'm always looking for good recipes to try! I was thinking it would be fun for you to bring in a favorite recipe... maybe one you would like to zone or find a Paleo version for! Bring it in this Sunday, and I'll do my best to get it on Eat This!! :-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken Florentine

This was an experiment gone.... GOOD! Whew. We had a Costco supply of spinach, and I was ready to sink my teeth into some chicken... Chicken florentine!!! But.... how can that possibly be paleo? I was fully prepared to blog a failed attempt. However, this was great. We all really really liked it (and that's saying a lot with this picky household)!! Hope you like it, too. :-)

4 large skinless boneless chicken breasts (slightly pounded and cut in half)... so, it will yield 8, 3-4 oz portions! (leftovers=good!)

Flour mixture (for dredging):
1/2 C almond meal
3+ T dried parsley flakes
2 tsp paprika
1 T dried minced onion
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp ground pepper

1 C white wine
1 C LF coconut milk
2-3 T olive oil
2 T fresh chopped italian parsley
1 Shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic
Spinach, fresh (about 16 oz)

Combine dredging ingredients in a shallow bowl. After (slightly) pounding chicken, dredge each piece in flour mixture (shake off any extra). This actually worked out to be a PERFECT amount of flour... I used every last bit! Heat about 1 T olive oil in a pan and brown chicken breasts (about 5 min. on each side). Remove from pan and put on a plate. In the same pan, add a little more oil and add shallots and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add white wine and deglaze pan, scraping every bit. Add coconut milk and the fresh parsley. Bring to a boil and simmer until sauce thickens and reduces a little. Add chicken back to pan. Cover with lid and cook on low for another 10ish minutes.

Now in a separate pan, heat 1-2 tsp. olive oil. Saute a little more garlic and add spinach. When done, put spinach on a plate and top with chicken piece, and sauce! I also served this with a side salad. Hope you enjoy... we sure did! :-) Paleo creations are so much FUN. Especially when they turn out!! This is about a 4 block, Paleo meal.

*Paleo/Zone challengers! We will be having an optional check-in and information meeting this Sunday at 12:30. Come by and tell us how it's going?? Only 3 weeks left in the challenge! :-)

CrossFit Santa Cruz Central