Sunday, January 30, 2011

Paleo Chicken (Non) Parmesano

What a great conditioning week we've had at CrossFit! And I'm sorry for the lack of posts (which is directly related to the awesome week at CrossFit)! It's not that I haven't been cooking Paleo Meals... (I have a couple good ones in reserve)... it's just that I have been exhausted. When I finish dinner and weigh my next evening task: 1. Blog or 2. go to bed.
Bed has been the winning option all week! :-)
Hope you all have had a restful yet productive week, and I hope you enjoy one of our all-time favorite Paleo dinners... chicken parmesano!
Buon Appetito.

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 1/4-1/12 inch)
1 C almond meal
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T garlic powder
pinch sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 eggs
2 T olive oil

2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
12 oz red wine
1/4 C water
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
a generous 2+ T fresh chopped rosemary
1 T Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
pinch sea salt

I like to make the sauce early in the day and let it simmer. As it thickens, I add a bit more water if needed. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim and pound chicken breast to desired thickness (I prefer these on the thinner side). Whisk eggs together in a shallow bowl. Combine almond meal, Italian seasoning, pepper and salt in another shallow bowl (mix well). Heat olive oil in a large skillet (you may have to brown the chicken in batches). Dredge chicken in egg and lightly coat with almond meal seasoning. Immediately brown in olive oil. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove to baking dish. Repeat with all chicken pieces. Pour sauce (about a ladle full per chicken piece). Bake, uncovered for 10 minutes. I had leftover sauce (which I put in a freezer-safe bag for another meal). :-)
Hope you enjoy!

Coconut Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Sauce

Weekends are so great for leisurely experimenting with breakfasts. I really love my nut butter pancakes, but I really wanted to try something different. I've heard a lot about coconut flour pancakes, so I thought I'd give them a try! They were fluffy and very filling! But, I have to say... my favorite part was the warm blueberry sauce! Hope you enjoy! :-)

Coconut Flour Pancake Recipe:
1/2 C coconut flour
1 T baking soda
1 pinch sea salt
1 C coconut milk
4 eggs
1 T vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat non-stick griddle to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients, and mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients. Batter will be sort of thick! Pour batter on griddle and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side (I was surprised how much longer they take to cook). While they are cooking, make the blueberry sauce.

Blueberry Sauce Recipe:
1 C blueberries (I used frozen)
1/2 C pineapple juice
1 tsp. arrowroot powder
1 T coconut crystals
1/4 C water

Heat blueberries and pineapple juice to a slow boil. In a separate dish, stir arrowroot powder, coconut crystals and water together until dissolved. Add mixture to blueberry sauce and stir until thickens, on low heat. Pour warm sauce over coconut pancakes and enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Spicy Coconut Pork Chops

I'm a coconut lover! I'm convinced you can use coconut to enhance just about any meal! Coconut is wonderful because it can be mild, potent, spicy and sweet! ... A versatile cooking ingredient I just love! It also has wonderful health benefits! It's a great source of energy. As a medium chain fatty acid, it's stored in the liver and ready to use for energy! It boosts metabolism. It's an intestinal healer! And... it helps fight off infections! Hope you enjoy... (my kids sure did)... and whenever they like a Paleo creation of mine, I consider it an utter success!

8 pork chops
2 T coconut oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 C coconut milk
2 T lime juice
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 C unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub a little olive oil over the pork chops. In a zip lock bag add all the seasonings. In a skillet, heat the coconut oil. Add pork chops to zip lock bag and shake to coat pork chops evenly (it may not look like enough seasoning, but it was just enough). Brown pork chops in coconut oil, and place on a baking dish. Add onions to skillet. Saute until tender, adding lime juice to deglaze pan. Add coconut milk to skillet and pour over pork chops. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with your choice of vegetable side. We enjoyed some steamed broccoli!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Flank Steak with Bacon Balsamic Sauce & Sauteed Kale

This was a totally Google inspired meal. I had very limited ingredients in my refrigerator as I'm in dyer need for a trip to the grocery store. I pretty much google searched available ingredients and chose my recipe accordingly! I found this great bacon balsamic glaze on the Food Network (Robin Miller) and the sauteed kale recipe from Bobby Flay (also Food Network). It was delicious! With very minimal ingredients I had a spectacular feast! Yum... hope you enjoy.

Flank Steak Recipe:
2 lbs. flank steak
fresh ground pepper
sea salt
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C beef broth
2 T parsley flakes
1 tsp. arrowroot powder

Preheat grill pan or grill. Season flank steak with pepper and sea salt. Grill steak for about 5 minutes on each side. While steak is cooking, add bacon to skillet over medium heat and cook until crisp. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for about 5 minutes, until liquid reduces. Mix arrowroot powder with beef broth and add to skillet. Add parsley flakes. Slowly bring to a boil and then reduce heat for about 2-4 minute, until sauce thickens. Pour over sliced flank steak and enjoy!

Sauteed Kale:

About 1 lb kale, coarsely chopped
1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 c beef broth

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute garlic and shallots until soft (careful not to burn). Add broth and kale and toss really well. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until liquid evaporates. Add balsamic vinegar. Toss well and serve!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Paleo Coq au Vin

This was delicious meal. It was totally inspired by a dish my friend made this weekend! A delicious chicken stew... or Coq Au Vin if you want to sound French, fancy and gourmet. Traditionally Coq au vin is braised chicken with red wine, garlic, onions and mushrooms. I used a white wine, garlic, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes! Okay, not your traditional coq au vin, but extremely tasty none-the-less... and I felt like a fancy French chef! :-)
You could use any pieces of chicken you like. I have a lot of chicken thighs in my freezer (because that's my husband's favorite), so that's what I used. A cut up whole chicken would be good or chicken breasts, but leave the skin on in this recipe. Hope you enjoy!


8 pieces chicken thighs
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 C white wine
1 T arrowroot powder
seasonings (use generously):
dried thyme, dried oregano, black pepper, poultry seasoning
~finish with a pinch of sea salt!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken breasts all over with seasonings. Really stuff seasonings under the chicken skin! Heat olive oil in a dutch oven. Brown chicken thighs... about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken thigh temporarily to a plate. Now add onion, celery and garlic to dutch oven. Saute for a few minutes and then stir in carrots. Add back chicken thighs. Place sweet potatoes over and around the chicken pieces and sprinkle with the green onions. Mix wine with arrowroot powder until dissolved. Pour over chicken, cover dutch oven with lid and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Voila... a French-inspired feast!
Bon Appetit! :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter Salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

We've had some beautiful January days lately. Maybe that's what inspired me to put a little sunshine in my salad! I've also been feeling a little uncreative with my main meals, so an interesting salad felt like the right place to invest some imaginative thought. Hope you enjoy... and I hope you're enjoying these winter sunny days!

1/2 head ice berg lettuce
1/2 head red leaf lettuce
1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly
2 oranges, pealed and sliced thin
1/4 C cranberries

4 T olive oil
1 T coconut vinegar
1 T orange juice
1 T honey
2 tsp. poppy seeds
pinch sea salt
dash black pepper

Wash and tear lettuce pieces. Top with sliced fennel and orange slices. Sprinkle with the dried cranberries. Combine vinaigrette ingredients and mix together vigorously. Pour over salad and serve! It's crisp, fresh and fun. A great compliment to just about any meal! :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Herb Crusted Chicken Thighs

Speaking of thighs... mine are toast! Anyone else feeling those 45 cleans today?
This was an easy, comforting dinner, full of flavor, and made my kids happy... which was just what I needed tonight. Finger lickin' Paleo friendly faux-fried chicken thighs! A great meal for a tired cook and a hungry family! Hope you enjoy.

8 chicken thighs, with bone (with skin or without)
2 T olive oil
2 T dijon mustard
1/2 C almond meal
2 T dried parsley flakes
1 T dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp black pepper
pinch sea salt
dash cayenne pepper
dash paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Combine olive oil and mustard in a shallow dish and set aside. In another shallow dish combine almond meal and remaining spices. After 15 minutes remove chicken thighs from oven. Turn temperature to broil and put baking rack about 6 inches from heat. Brush one side of the chicken thighs with mustard/olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with almond meal/spice mixture and broil until nicely browned (about 5 minutes). Turn chicken thighs over, brush remaining mustard/olive oil mixture over chicken thighs, season with more almond meal spices and broil again...until golden brown. Should be crispy & flavorful! Enjoy with your choice of vegetable side.

My kids LOVED this! Hope you will, too!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paleo Shepherd's Pie

When I was bargain shopping last week I came across a great deal on ground lamb. I had no idea what I was going to make with it, but I knew I had to get it! Scott insisted on shepherd's pie... but I was a little reluctant because my last shepherd's pie attempt left a lot to be desired! This time I pseudo followed a recipe from Mark's Daily Apple, and I am VERY happy to report that tonight's shepherd's pie was a delicious success! My Irish roots are jumping up and down with the Paleo success of this recipe! Enjoy!

1 lb. ground lamb
1 onion, chopped
2 C carrots, sliced
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 C beef broth
1 T arrowroot powder
1 T dried thyme
1 T olive oil

1 head cauliflower, broken in chunks
2 T coconut oil
1/2 black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On the stove top, steam cauliflower chunks until just tender. Put in a food processor and add coconut oil. Blend until creamy, season with ground pepper and set aside. Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute onions until tender. Add ground lamb and cook until crumbly and brown. Add carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix beef broth and arrowroot powder together. Slowly add the mixture to lamb and carrots. Season with the salt and pepper and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Pour into a 9-inch pie pan. Spread cauliflower over the top and bake for about 30-35 minutes (remove when top starts to brown, and sides are bubbly).
This turned out delicious! This recipe was adapted from a shepherd's pie recipe on Mark's Daily Apple. I changed things up slightly and omitted a few ingredients I didn't have. You could add green beans and peas along with the carrots if you like! I also read where parsnips make a great alternative option for the cauliflower. I might try that next time! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shiitake Mushroom Baked Chicken over Spinach

Ahhh... This was earthy comfort on a place. Shiitake mushrooms are my favorite! If you're a mushroom fan, I highly suggest you try this! If not... well, I highly suggest you become a mushroom fan!

My husband and daughter went to the Fungus Festival in Santa Cruz this weekend, which sparked our appreciation and our appetites! Hope you enjoy!

4 large chicken breasts
2 1/2 C fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 C white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2 C coconut milk
2 T coconut oil
Seasonings (1/2 tsp. each):
celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, and poultry seasoning.

fresh spinach, 1 bunch (or pre-washed bag)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pound chicken breasts to about 3/4 inch thick. Combine seasonings and sprinkle both sides of chicken until well covered. Heat coconut oil in a skillet and brown chicken breasts (about 4 minutes on each side). Remove chicken to a baking dish. Add shiitake mushroom to skillet and slowly add wine, deglazing the pan, and scraping up delicious bits. Cook until most the liquid is absorbed and shiitake mushrooms are tender. Lastly , add coconut milk. Mix well and pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered for about 20-25 minutes. While the chicken is baking, saute the spinach: Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add garlic and saute until tender (careful not to burn) add spinach. Cook, tossing spinach until wilted and well coated with garlic and olive oil. Center spinach on a diner plate, top with chicken & mushrooms (spoon additional mushrooms and sauce as desired). Hope you enjoy this earthy comfort Paleo meal!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Boneless Short Ribs

I know I am not the only Paleo enthusiast on a budget! Right? One of my pet peeves is when I hear people say... "I can't afford to eat Paleo". Or... on the other side of the coin, those that only eat grass-fed beef and shop at Whole Foods for every meal! Believe me... I would, if I could! How perfect do we have to be? Are there Paleo Perfects and imperfects? I don't believe so! Paleo is not a reenactment of the caveman culture, nor is it a symbol or our economic status. It's a way of life!!! ...A path to vitality, health, wellness, strength and a disease free life! Everyone can afford to eat Paleo! I'm a working mother and wife and I shop everywhere for a deal! I love Costco for their meats (they have excellent quality and excellent prices), Safeway (it's right down the street and I get great deal with my club card), Nob Hill (I personally love their produce), Whole Foods (when I have a little extra cash in my pocket), Staff of Life (they have the BEST price for Carlson's Fish oil), Shoppers Corner (a local favorite, with GREAT butchers), New Leaf Markets (my coconut happy place) and even the Santa Cruz Wharf fish markets (when I can... what a treat).

Tonight's dinner was a cheap package of boneless short ribs from Safeway... $3.80 fed the entire family! My hunter gatherer skills honed in on a deal and I took it! Hope you enjoy. :-)

boneless short ribs, package of 6
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
2 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 T fresh ground black pepper
pinch sea salt
1 T olive oil
1/2 C red wine
1 T arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper together. Sprinkle seasoning over short ribs, and let sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Brown ribs, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove ribs from pan. Mix the arrowroot powder with the red wine and then add to skillet... deglaze skillet, scraping up all the tasty bits! Add the short ribs back to pan, Cover and place in oven for about 30-45 minutes. Serve with your choice of side. Be sure to pour the extra wine sauce/juices over the ribs when serving. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pumpkin Paleo Pecan Pancakes

Happy New Year!
Last day of vacation... I simply had to give these a try! I still had a little leftover pumpkin from our Christmas pumpkin pie, and I thought using it for pancakes might be tasty. I used my same nut butter recipe - substituting the applesauce or banana portion for the pumpkin puree! I did add a couple tablespoons of honey to compensate for some loss of sweetness. They turned out yummy! ...So if you ever find yourself stuck with a little leftover pumpkin puree... this is a great solution! "Pumpkin Paleo Pecan Pancakes!" - (try saying that 3 times together). Hope you enjoy!

1/2 C pumpkin puree, organic, unsweetened
1/2 C almond butter
1/4 C chopped pecans, toasted
2 eggs
2 T honey
1 T vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

Preheat a nonstick griddle to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour onto hot griddle (desired pancake size). Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes (you'll see the pancakes start to bubble and cook on the edges when they're ready to flip). Flip and cook a couple more minutes. Top with your favorite all-fruit preserve or enjoy them just the way they are! This recipe makes about 4, 4-inch pancakes! A nice finale to a wonderful holiday! Happy New Year!!!

CrossFit Santa Cruz Central