Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops & Baked Acorn Squash

Are you feeling a little Fall in the air? I've noticed the leaves are starting to change color and the evenings are a bit cooler! I can't believe that Summer is ending and Fall is rapidly approaching, but the signs are everywhere! Especially on the driveway in the form of fallen leaves! All we can do is embrace it, and welcome a new season full of different seasonal foods to enjoy! Having said that... how about a quick dinner with minimal thought? A simple dinner that powers a lot of flavor! Maybe a dinner that utilizes a tasty traditional Fall vegetable, the acorn squash! This was a great 'quick fix', hope you enjoy!

Recipe: (embarrassingly simple)... but packs a good flavor punch!
4 Pork chops, boneless
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

Acorn squash
sea salt
black pepper
1/4 C water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice acorn squash in half, and remove seeds (I left the skin on). Place face down on a baking dish with 1/4 C of water. Bake for about 30 minutes. Turn them over and season with sea salt and pepper. Bake an additional 5 minutes, face up.
Preheat barbecue grill to about medium heat. Rub some olive oil over pork chops and season with some sea salt and black pepper. Grill for about 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side). Time it so they're done around the same time as the acorn squash. I did check the internal temperature of the pork chops to make sure they reached 170 degrees, before taking them off the grill. Serve with a side salad or vegetable of your choice. Simple and tasty... hope you enjoy! :-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spicy Mediterranean Chicken

I'm still coming off the high from Saturday's Local Affiliate Challenge! What an amazing day of camaraderie, sportsmanship, community spirit and athleticism. It was not only a blast to participate in, but amazing, motivating and inspiring to watch! As Annie said in her opening... most of why we all CrossFit is the community of amazing people that share a common passion!
I left Saturday with so much pride in everybody's accomplishments! I left feeling motivated and inspired! ... and I left feeling exhausted! (Ok... I know I'm getting a little sappy.... but WOW, what a day!) THANK you CrossFit Santa Cruz Central!!!! You're the BEST! XOXO

2 chicken breasts, skinless boneless
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skinless
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C black olives, sliced
1 can organic diced tomatoes, low sodium
1/4 C organic chicken broth, low sodium
1 T olive oil
Seasonings for chicken:
cayenne pepper
black pepper

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion, celery and pepper for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small dish. Add more oil to skillet. Sprinkle seasonings over the chicken. Add to skillet and brown on both sides, searing spices to chicken. (May have to cook chicken in batches). After about 5-7 minutes, remove browned chicken to a plate. Add onion/celery mixture back to pan. Add black olives, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Mix well! Add chicken back to pan. Cover and cook for about 30 more minutes on medium heat.
We served this with steamed zucchini and a green salad! Hope you enjoy... we did! :-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baked Salmon Topped with a Mushroom Vegetable Sauce

I'm trying to think about food that would best prepare me for the affiliate challenge this weekend! I'm thinking about omega 3's, lean proteins, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, water (it's been HOT this week, gotta stay hydrated), Vitamin D and ... SLEEP!
I'm also thinking about how much fun it will be for our community!
I'm excited for everyone who is participating in the challenge and wish everyone the best of luck! Here's to a great time and great camaraderie!
In the meantime.... Eat well!!! :-)

6 oz Salmon filet
2 tsp. olive oil
1 T dried parsley
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch sea salt

2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 C shallots, finely chopped
1 leak, remove greens, cut length-wise, and slice thin
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
5 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season fish with seasonings (parsley, garlic, salt and pepper). Heat olive oil in a skillet. When hot, brown the salmon filet (searing the herbs to the fish). Do not cook long (just enough to sear on the seasonings), and add to a baking dish. In the same skillet, add a little more olive oil. Start by sautéing the shallots, then add the red bell peppers. Next add the mushrooms, and a little of the wine. Let the mushrooms cook down a bit, and cover with a lid. Add the leaks, black pepper and remaining wine. Mix well and pour over the fish. Bake for 10-12 minutes (until fish is done and sauce is bubbling). Serve with your desired side dishes (we chose baked sweet potatoes and sauteed kale.... a favorite in our house).
Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Zucchini with Mushrooms, and Avocado Salad

Sometimes it's all about the sides!!! I had NO ideas for dinner tonight as my attentions were elsewhere. It was the first day back to school (and the beginning of a new era as my kids just started middle school AND high school). Anyway... dinner was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted something easy! Simply grilled chicken fit the bill... albeit a little boring. But maybe I could spruce up the side dishes, and it could look more interesting? Falsely elude that I put a lot of effort into tonight's dinner? Yea... that was the trick! Hope you enjoy. :-)

Season 4 chicken breasts with:
sea salt, pepper, chili pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cumin
Grill to desired doneness!

Sauteed Zucchini & Mushrooms:
2 zucchini's, sliced
9oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 C chicken broth

Heat oil in skillet and saute onions. When onions start to caramelize, add mushrooms. Saute for about 3-5 more minutes. Add zucchini and broth. Cover and cook until zucchini is just tender (about 5-6 minutes). Season with a little fresh ground black pepper.

Avocado Salad:
1 avocado, cubed
1 C cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 T balsamic vinegar
Course sea salt and fresh round black pepper.
Combine all ingredients and serve! :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak with Grilled Egplant

Tonight I used 3 of the Coconut Secret products in one recipe! I really love this company! If you haven't tried any... I highly recommend. I have found their products at New Leaf Markets and Whole Foods. It's a tad pricy (I wouldn't plan on buying all their products in one shopping trip). I use the coconut aminos on a fairly regular basis as a great soy sauce alternative! Just a little of this stuff goes a long way! And check out their web site, too...they have a great story to tell! http://www.coconutsecret.com/

Tonight's marinade was really tasty. I really recommend a longish marinade time as it really worked on flavoring and tenderizing the meat! Hope you enjoy!

Marinade Ingredients:
*Allow at least 2 hours for meat to marinate (overnight is best)
3 cloves garlic, crushed & minced
1/4 C olive oil
2 T coconut vinegar (or apple cider)
1/4 C Coconut Aminos (soy sauce substitute)
2 T raw coconut nectar
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
* * * * * * *
1 1/2- 2 lbs. flank steak

Score meat across the grain with a knife. Add all marinade ingredients and flank steak in a zip lock freezer bag and let marinade for at least 2 hours or over night. Turn ingredients periodically in bag.

Remove steak from bag and season with some course sea salt and black pepper. Put on hot grill and grill for about 4-6 minutes on each side. When steak is cooked to your desired doneness, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Make sure to cover the meat with some foil to hold in all the moisture until you're ready to serve. Cut meat in thin slices across the grain and serve with your grilled eggplant! Yum!

For the eggplant, we just lightly coated the slices with some olive oil, sea salt, and ground pepper... and grilled! I think that's my absolute favorite way to eat eggplant! Simple and oh so good! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Black Olive & Basil Crusted Pork Chop

I was really in the mood for something "breading-like". My daughter had opened a can of black olives to snack on, which put in motion an idea for the whole dinner! Scott was quick to point out that the picture does not do it much justice... he said it tasted much better than it looks! Anyway... it certainly fulfilled my craving... and made good use of the opened can of black olives!
It was crispy, flavorful, and very satisfying. Hope you enjoy! :-)

4 pork chops
1/4 C black olives, finely chopped
1/4 C fresh basil, finely chopped
3/4 C almond meal
1 T dried parsley
1 T dried Italian seasoning
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sea salt (optional)
2 eggs
3 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim pork chops of all visible fat. I pounded pork chops to about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle pork chops with a little sea salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs. In another shallow bowl combine almond meal, parsley, Italian seasoning, olives, basil and salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet (med/hi temp). Dip pork chop in egg and dredge in almond meal mixture. It will be a little thick and clumpy... that's okay. Try to coat all areas as best you can. Add to skillet when oil is HOT. It is really important to make sure the oil is hot before adding the pork chops, so it will really sear the crusted olive/almond meal mixture to the chops. When they are nice and brown, transfer them to a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. That's the perfect amount of time to saute up a veggie side or make a salad! Enjoy! :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paleo Crab Cakes

Paleo appetizers are such a wonderful way to flaunt why choosing to eat paleolithic, is by no means, about flavor compromise or deprivation. It can indeed be about elegance, decadence and flavor enhancement! I took this dish to a "Paleo Appetizer Party", where there was an assortment of delicious Paleo treats to taste and devour! Yes, we ate well...
This is another recipe from Marks Daily Apple, which I followed verbatim (except I doubled the recipe and added a little ground mustard to the seasoning...but that's it!) It turned out very good, and if you're a crab cake lover, I know you'll be pleased! No one will miss the breading AT ALL!!! Enjoy! :-)

1 pound crab meat, combination of lump and claw (I actually used just claw meat from TJ's refrigerated section)
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated off the outside of a lemon)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup olive oil

Bundle the crab in a thin dishtowel and give it a few hard squeezes to release moisture. You’ll probably be able to get a couple tablespoons of liquid to drip out. Whisk the egg yolks. Add the shallot, celery, dill, lemon zest, hot sauce and paprika. Gently mix this into the crab. The mixture is not going to look like it will hold together, but don’t worry.To form the crab cakes all you need is a round cookie cutter about 2 inches wide. Using a tablespoon measurement, scoop 2 generous tablespoons of crab into the cookie cutter.Press the crab down very firmly with your fingers. Gently lift the cookie cutter.Using this method, you should be able to make at least a dozen crab cakes. Cover the cakes and refrigerate for one hour or more. This helps the ingredients bind together.

Preheat your oven to 375. On the stovetop, heat the olive oil in a pan. When the oil starts to sizzle, use a spatula to slide the crab cakes into the pan. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are browned and crispy. Don’t put too many in the pan at once.Use a spatula to scoop the cakes out the pan and onto a cookie sheet. Put in the oven for another six minutes to make sure they are warmed through the middle. Garnish with dill.The most important steps in this recipe are using the cookie cutter to shape the crab cakes and refrigerating them for at least an hour before cooking. Other than that, let your regional tastes take over. Add red pepper if you like or mustard. Play around with the seasonings.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Paleo Salmon Florentine

Wow... I highly recommend this meal! I was just using up some ingredients I had on hand and got totally lucky! The kids were away for the evening, so I only needed a meal for two! I happen to have two perfect salmon filets in the freezer for just such an occasion! ... the only bummer is that this didn't yield lunch leftovers for tomorrow (so, I cooked up some extra sausage and leftover veggies).
But WOW... I hope you try this! :-)

2 salmon filets
1 T olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
9 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I used both cremini and baby portobello's... leftover from the other night!)
9 oz. baby spinach, fresh
1/4 C coconut milk
3 T white wine
spices: about 1/4 tsp. each!
sea salt (optional)
pepper (fresh ground)
cayenne pepper
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a saute pan, heat olive oil, and saute onion... add garlic, and cook until translucent. Add sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Add a splash (about 3 T white wine), cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and tender. Now add spinach and cook until wilted. Pour coconut milk over everything and mix well. Pour all ingredients onto a baking dish. Place salmon filets over top of spinach mixture and sprinkle with spices. Bake for 15 minutes. (We also very simply steamed a side of zucchini). Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wild Mushroom Soup with Ground Pork

SOUP! Yes, soup. So what if it's August!? It's foggy, cold and drizzly! So yes, I think soup is a perfect meal this summer! ... And this was pretty darn tasty.
Great day in the gym, though! Handstand walks? Muscle ups? Cleans? Wow!!!

about 2 1/2 lbs. ground lean pork
5 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 oz. fresh baby portobello mushrooms
5 oz. fresh cremini mushrooms
1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 T thyme leaves
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts)
2 cups coconut milk
4 C chicken broth (organic, low sodium)
1/2 C fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
sea salt and black pepper (to taste)

Clean mushrooms and trim stems. I sliced the portobello and cremini mushrooms into about 1/4-inch thick pieces. I left the shiitakes whole.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic and onions. Add leeks. Cook for about 5 minutes. If pan gets dry, add a splash of chicken broth. Add 1/2 the thyme and black pepper. Stir well and then transfer to a stock/soup pot. Brown ground pork and season with more thyme, sea salt and pepper. Add to soup pot. Now add carrots and chicken stock. Cook at a medium temperature until the carrots are tender. Add the coconut milk and fresh chopped Italian parsley. Season with salt and pepper to your liking, serve and ENJOY! :-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Braised Short Ribs

This kind of seemed like a Fall dinner menu, but today kind of felt like a Fall day!?
Hasn't this been the strangest summer (weather-wise)? Tonight's dinner was warm an hearty, and I think It would be great in a crock pot (but I refuse to pull mine out yet).
Hope you enjoy! :-)

boneless beef short ribs, about 3 lbs (or 6 pieces)
sea salt & pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1/4 C tomato sauce, canned low sodium, organic
1/4 C red wine
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped

Season beef with some salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pot. When oil is hot, sear short ribs on all sides until really brown, about 5 minutes. Remove ribs and set aside. Add a little more oil to pot and saute garlic and onions. Add celery and carrots. Saute for about 3-5 minutes. Add wine and tomato sauce, scraping sides. Add thyme and bay leaf to sauce. Sauce will be a bit thick. Add short ribs back to pot and add water (just enough to cover about 3/4 ribs...about 1 C). Sprinkle with chopped parsley, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours (turn beef over about half way through cooking time).

We served this with some sliced baked yams and sauteed kale. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thai Influenced Pork Chops & Cabbage Stir Fry

This was a pretty good dinner and just enough spice for my liking. Not too fiery... but you could adjust to your own personal 'heat' threshold! Next time I would add some fresh chopped ginger along with the garlic! Yum. I've said this before, but I'll say it again... since we've been eating Paleo, we have been eating like kings & queens! Food has NEVER tasted SO good!
Hope you enjoy! :-)

Thai-"ish" Pork Chops:
4 pork chops, trimmed of all visible fat, and pounded slightly
1 T coconut oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 C coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute)
1/4 C Lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1/2 anaheim pepper, minced
1/4 C fresh chopped parsley

Cabbage Stir Fry:
1 head cabbage of your choice (I used Savoy)
shiitake mushrooms (about 2 handfuls)
2 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 anaheim pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/2+ tsp. hot thai chili paste
1 T coconut aminos
1 T water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in skillet. Combine spices (garlic powder, ginger, pepper, and cayenne) and rub on pork chops. When oil is hot, brown pork chops on both sides (about 3-5 minutes). Place in baking dish. In same skillet, add minced garlic and anaheim peppers and saute a bit. Combine aminos, lime juice and chili flakes. Add to garlic/pepper mixture, deglazing pan, and pour over pork chops. Top with some chopped fresh parsley, cover, and bake for about 15 minutes.

While that's cooking. Heat oil in skillet. Saute onion and peppers. Mix chili paste with aminos and water (adjust chili paste to your desired hotness level)! Add to pan along with cabbage. Toss well. Add shiitake mushrooms. Cover and cook on med/low for 10 minutes (should be ready about the time the pork chops are).

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Spicy Snapper

Tonight's dinner was SO yummy. I love snapper! Especially "spicy snappy snapper". It was delicious, sweet, spicy and medicinal even. It totally helped take my mind off my soreness for awhile. YES, I'm still sore from Monday's sprints. In fact, my pain has just managed to grow!.... I never realized what an all over workout sprints are?!?!

4 red snapper filets
ground cumin, garlic powder, ground chili pepper, cracked black pepper, and sea salt (optional)
-Season fish on both sides with spices, and set aside

2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 anaheim pepper, chopped
jalapeno pepper, minced (depending on your heat thresh-hold)... I only used half!
1/2 to 3/4 can diced tomatoes (organic, low sodium)
2 T lime juice
1/2 C fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Heat olive oil, and saute garlic, onion, and peppers. When vegetable are soft and start to caramelize, add lime juice. Reduce heat and add tomatoes. Mix well and simmer.

Place seasoned snapper filets in the broiler for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove from broiler, place in a baking dish and top with spicy vegetable sauce! Bake for about 10 minutes (350 degrees).... just long enough to cook up a veggie side ... We steamed some yellow squash that we tossed with a sauteed onion and some more fresh cilantro!

OH! Don't forget some creamy avocado slices on top! :-)

This was really tasty!!! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Spicy Chicken & Bacon Poppers

These were absolutely heavenly! Thank you Neile and Miriam for this wonderful appetizer! The only thing better than enjoying delicious food, is enjoying it with good friends! This is "food for share!"... Find an excuse to make this and have some friends over! This recipe is taken from Mark's Daily Apple, and I consider it a "must make"... Hope you enjoy! I guarantee you'll like it better than 100m sprints!!! :-))

Recipe: (Makes 6-8 poppers) .... I suggest doubling!
1 large chicken breast
6-8 pickled or pepperoncinis
3-4 strips of bacon

Cut chicken breast into 1″ cubes. Marinate the chicken with salt and pepper, jerk seasoning or your favorite seasoning and oil. Slice open a pepperoncini and put a piece of chicken inside. Wrap 1/3 –1/2 of a piece of bacon around the chicken and secure each popper individually with toothpicks or spear multiple poppers on a skewer.

Over medium heat, grill the poppers until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crisp, about 8-10 minutes a side.

For a detailed description of the recipe (and pictures)... check out the link below:



CrossFit Santa Cruz Central