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Paleo Recipes and cooking tips.

Paleo Hot Wings (OMG they’re good)!

After purchasing half a cow a month ago, we’ve been eating a lot of grass-fed beef. A LOT of beef. Not a bad thing. It just gets a little monotonous eventually. So in my search to continue to eat as clean as possible while also providing food that my family will not shun, I came across the following recipe from Fed and Fit. I’m always leery of how some of these Paleo recipes will turn out, but I have to say, these were probably some of the best wings I’ve ever had. There isn’t a ton of sauce to cover up the meat, but its also not a dry rub seasoning either. I intend to eat these weekly!

Paleo Buffalo Wings

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Baked chicken wings:

  1. 2 lbs chicken wings

  2. 1 t sea salt

  3. 1 t cracked black pepper

Paleo Buffalo Sauce:

  1. 3 T coconut oil

  2. 3 T rice vinegar (or other form of white vinegar)

  3. ½ t cayenne pepper

  4. ½ t hot paprika

  5. 1 t garlic powder [didn’t have this on hand, so I used garlic salt]

  6. 1 t onion powder

  7. 1 medium sized lemon juiced

  8. 1 t sea salt [I left this out because I used garlic salt instead of garlic powder]

Directions:

Baked chicken wings:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  • Wash the chicken wings and pat dry.

  • Sprinkle evenly with sea salt and cracked pepper.

  • Bake at 400 for 45 minutes (time will vary – start watching after 40 minutes and bake until they start to look brown).

Paleo Buffalo Sauce:

  • In a medium sized saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat.

  • Add the cayenne, hot paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Stir until evenly combined.

  • Squeeze in the lemon and add the vinegar.

  • Take off heat and stir until evenly combined.

  • Set aside or pour into a sealable container for later use. [I put mine straight into a ziploc bag and coated the wings right away after coming out of the oven]

  • Store in the refrigerator. [I didn’t do this step]

  • Once the wings have cooled a little from the oven, put them in a gallon Ziploc bag and pour the buffalo sauce over. Seal the bag and shake for a good minute. This will evenly coat the wings. Pour into a bowl and serve!

Time: 1 hour

The great thing about this recipe is that the amount of time it takes for the wings to bake, gives you just enough time to cut up and bake/broil sweet potato fries or some other side!

Fixing the Paleo Pancake (just some recommendations)

the only three attempts that turned out well after many failures!

Okay, now a few of you have commented that you had some trouble getting the paleo pancake to come out right. The most commonly cited recipe was the one below:

1 egg

2 bananas

1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter

Mash the bananas and add the egg. Mix well and stir in the almond butter. Add more almond butter if you want a more pancake-like texture.

Here is what I found that might help you out in making these:

1. Don’t heat the pan too hot. The outsides will burn super fast if the pan is on medium heat or higher. I burned a few before I figured out that turning it down to about a med-low heat worked best.

2. Try less oil or butter (probably 1/2 tsp is all you need per batch) or they will get too moist.

3. The pancake may need to cook up to 4 minutes per side initially until your pan or griddle gets hot enough.

4. Flip fast and get a good wide spatula, also helps to grease the spatula.

Hope that helps. It took me a few attempts to figure these out, and I can’t guarantee everyone will have the same results, I think it varies highly depending on the stovetop you are using.

On another completely unrelated note, here is an article that Nathan L. found and forwarded to me:

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/new-eating-disorders-are-they-real

Here is the passage I want you to really read closely:

  • Orthorexics: Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.”

What does that remind you of? Well, I can tell you the first thing that came to mind was “Who has a beef with people that eat paleo and why in the world would limiting sugar, salt and processed foods be an eating disorder?”

But lets re-examine what this is saying. Yes, all those things are great. Starting out limiting processed foods and sugar is wonderful and has health benefits. Going even further and refusing to eat anything other than raw vegetables would be seriously nutrient-limiting. So I think there’s a safe level and then a point at which you become an obsessive, raw-food eating vegan who starts to waste away into scrawny emaciation. What I really want everyone who reads this to grasp is that there is no 100% pure, safe, non-contaminated food.

There is no way you are going to avoid all herbicides, pesticides and environmental toxins. Even pasture-fed cows eat grass that has been contaminated by by-products of manufacturing that accumulate in the atmosphere and rain back to Earth. Don’t take it to an extreme. Buying good, clean food grown or raised with environmentally sound practices is optimal. But if you don’t every time, its not the end of the world and there’s no reason to go eat raw turnips and bamboo shoots for months to ‘cleanse’ yourself. Just my 0.02. I’d be interested to hear what your thoughts on the subject are.

Pizza, sauce and getting around the salt issue

Kelly was so kind as to send me a pic of the paleo pizza she makes for her and Ryan in order to make it through the day without losing her mind (like we all so often need). She used a large Portabello mushroom for the ‘crust,’ warmed it up either in the over or for a few seconds in the microwave before adding sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh pepperoni (not of the packaged kind, remember the post on gourmet deli meats?). I think she got both the cheese and pepperoni at Carollo’s Italian deli in the River Market.

This is a great idea for those of you that really miss some of the grain-based foods that you used to eat a lot but have decided to give up for 30 days. For many of us that have been doing paleo consistently for awhile, we might experience what I call ‘cheat day letdown.’ Recently we had a cheat day and ate at the Dish here in Liberty, arguably one of the best pizza places in the metro area. Needless to say, it wasn’t everything I thought it would be. It was bland and overly salty, at the same time. I guess I have just gotten used to fresh flavors and very little salt in my food, let alone very little sugar (although, the spinach dip was still pretty amazing).

Back last fall, I posted a recipe for tomato sauce that you can make at home in about 10 minutes in a pan on the stove. Its more of a red sauce, not so much a marinara, like what you would use on pizza. In the U.S, if you go to any grocery store and look at food labels, you’ll likely notice that the main difference between a regular tomato or red sauce and pizza sauce is the salt content and sugar content. The traditional Italian marinara sauce is usually mostly tomatoes and herbs, while pizza sauce is more of an American bastardization of the marinara, to make it flavorful by adding lots of sodium and sugar. This will vary greatly, however, by brand these days.

The original tomato sauce recipe I posted will work just fine for your pizza and here it is:

Spaghetti or tomato sauce

1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped or minced
1/4 C chopped or diced green onions
3 Roma tomatoes (or garden tomatoes), sliced or diced
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Sauté 2 teaspoons of garlic in half of the olive oil. Add onions. Sauté until garlic is golden. Add tomatoes. Cook over medium heat and mash tomatoes with a potato masher or thick wooden spoon until they separate into sauce. Add remaining olive oil and garlic. Add salt. Simmer 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

If you want it a little thicker or tangier however, like a more traditional pizza sauce flavor, here is how you can alter it and still keep it paleo and it definitely won’t need a lot of salt!:

  • Add up to a whole can of tomato paste (the amount you add will depend on thick you want the sauce). The only ingredient on the label should be tomatoes. Tomato paste is really just really concentrated and slightly dehydrated tomatoes. Its probably best if you buy organic, but if you’re watching your budget, its not a huge deal to get a non-organic brand and save a little.
  • Add fresh or dried basil (fresh is always best, but again, we don’t all have fresh growing in our kitchen and dried gets you more for your money) ASK ME ABOUT FRESH BASIL PLANTS THAT I WILL HAVE FOR SALE AT THE GYM THIS WEEK!!!
  • Add a little more garlic or pepper, depending on your tastes.
  • You can also puree the whole thing in your blender if you want the really smooth texture of a pizza sauce.

Personally, I like the big chunky and interesting look of fresh tomato sauce and all the stuff I added to it. Let’s face it, paleo can get a little mundane sometimes and getting to see chunks of all the fresh stuff I just put in my sauce is cool. Yes, I’m a food nerd.

Here are some pics of my endeavor at this paleo pizza:

This is what I mean by scraping out the 'gills' of the underside of the mushroom

Before they were baked for 6 min...

Here is what I put on them: sauce (see below for how I modified the recipe), fresh pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh green onion diced. Bake at 350F for 6 min.

For the sauce, I took the above recipe and added a whole can of tomato paste, a light sprinkle of sea salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon in the entire pan) and pepper. It was delicious! Wayne stood at the counter while the pizzas were cooking just dipping pepperoni into the sauce because he could not stop eating it.

And the final product…

Here they are!

So not to make this post even longer, but I have to say that I was not as huge a fan of these as I wanted to be. Mushrooms and I have a love/hate relationship. I really want to like them, honestly. But they get so slimy when they’re cooked that I just cannot like them wholeheartedly. They lent a really nice flavor to this and if you like mushrooms, you will really love this mini pizza. I was brave and ate all but a couple bites of the second one of mine, which Wayne was more than happy to polish off for me.

In all, great project. I would make these for him again and probably force one down, but I was left a little hungry by the lack of substance in the dish. If you’re interested in what mushrooms have to offer nutritionally, from a macronutrient standpoint (carbs, protein or fat) its very little, which is likely why I was starving about an hour later. Here are some notable micronutrient qualities that portobella mushrooms possess:

In 1 mushroom top:

306 mg Potassium

15.6 mcg Selenium (DRI for most adults is 55 mcg/day)

3.775 mg Niacin (DRI for most adults is 14-16 mg/day)

So, in all, not a loss. I will still keep looking for something higher in fat and protein that will not have a slimy texture or overpower the tomato sauce, which was amazing, by the way, in case you missed it before 😉

Buffalo Roast turned out great!

So I decided to actually use one of the paleo cookbooks I bought because I was going to make a buffalo roast today and wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to season it. This was an EXTREMELY easy and quick meal to make. It literally took me 15 minutes or less to prep it and get it thrown together in the crock-pot and leave it alone. I went with this really super easy recipe from the Primal Blueprint cookbook:

I had to smash the roast in on the sides so it would fit in my slow cooker, clearly I need a bigger one!

1 4-lb roast

1 teaspoon crushed rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 whole onions, sliced

1 cup water, beef or chicken broth

6 cloves garlic, minced

Mix the spices together in a bowl and rub onto the roast. Brown the roast on both sides in a large pan on the stove, then place in a slow cooker, cover with garlic, onions, and broth. Set the slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours and let it become awesome. Remove from slow cooker, slice and enjoy! One tip, don’t use the sweet onions. It sounded like a good idea at the time when I was buying them, but I really think it would have tasted better with white onions.

There is also an optional sauce/gravy that you can make to go with it, but I didn’t do that. It looked delicious, just didn’t have the extra time and the roast was SUPER tender and juicy so it didn’t really need it.

still steaming…

If you want to know how to make the sweet potatoes really quick and with very little prep, all I did was wash and rinse them, peel them, slice them VERY thin (probably 1/8″ or so) and then spread melted butter over then. Place them in the oven on Broil for about 15-20 minutes, flipping them over at least once in the middle. They will be so soft and savory when you pull them out!

For all you dog lovers, get one of these. Official scrap-eaten-before-it-hits-the-ground monitor.

Broccoli: Making it exciting…

Vegetables. How do you prepare them, various ways, and keep them interesting? Let alone do it at 8:30 at night, after you’ve run classes all night at the gym, and still need to cook dinner for yourself and/or family members? What if your kids don’t like all that ‘fancy’ stuff on vegetables?

Here’s what I did tonight:

Broccoli “salad”

3 heads of broccoli (not the big huge ones from the grocery store, but regular sized stalks that will yield about 2 1/2-3 1/2 cups of florets raw)

1 ball fresh mozzarella, diced

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 tbsp fresh diced basil

1/2 cup pecans

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1. Steam your broccoli for about 5-10 min, depending on how crunchy you like it.

2. Place all other ingredients in a big bowl.

3. Remove broccoli from pan and cut off florets, add the stalks diced too, if you want those. Set aside the broccoli that your kids will eat, if they’re not into adding things to veggies and dressings.

4. Add remaining broccoli to the bowl of other ingredients and toss well. Voila!

5. Any broccoli you set aside for your kids can just be topped with butter, or add your favorite seasoning to it, as simple as salt and pepper.

This literally took less than 10 min to throw together off the top of my head, while we were waiting for steaks to cook tonight, and Wayne even said it was delicious, which is high praise!

Some suggestions I can give for how to make veggies not just more appealing, but more appetizing are to add things you may have just lying around the kitchen or in the pantry. Fresh herbs or spices, green onions diced up, oil and vinegar mixtures, nuts, or maybe just some ground black pepper. These vegetables are the sides that will fill you up, replace the empty carbs in your life and provide you with vital nutrients. Yes, sometimes they will not be extremely appealing, just get through it and eat, then move on. Other times, we have friends over or want to impress the spouse with our gourmet skills and we need to step it up a notch. Play around with sauces you can make out of pureed veggies, butter, olive oil, coconut oil and spices and see what you come up with.

Italian the paleo way…

This morning, Kelly and I went down to the city market to see what kinds of veggies and fruits we could get, plus I needed to try to get a chicken (apparently chickens have ‘seasons’ and they are not available to buy until late May). So, after settling for some bacon and chorizo from the farm, loads of fresh veggies and some fruit, we headed over to Carollo’s Italian Grocery so I could get some fresh mozzarella.

If you haven’t had fresh mozzarella, you are missing out. It’s nothing like that dry bland stuff you buy in bags at the grocery store. Its soft, creamy and moist, stored in its own juices and lends the most amazing subtle flavor to any dish. While there, I decided to pick up some soppressata. Mark’s Daily Apple recently had a post about gourmet ‘deli’ and cured meats, if you want to check it out. For those of you not up on your specialty cured meats, you should try this stuff. I can’t vouch for it anywhere else, as I only buy it at Carollo’s and there are several different varieties and methods to make it. Its a cured pressed salami variety, not 100% paleo in itself, but if you’re going to eat ‘deli’ meats, this stuff is probably about as close to true, whole meat as you can get in that category. It does have some salt added in the manufacturing process, but its otherwise not loaded with junk. The richness and spice will send your tastebuds on a roller coaster of awesomeness and you’ll be addicted from the first bite, but then you’ll be ruined and never able to buy deli meat anywhere else.

I had not thawed any meat for dinner tonight and almost gave into ordering some kind of pizza, but resisted the urge and whipped up a super fast, simple and delicious dinner instead. Here’s what I did for dinner tonight with my soppressata and mozzarella:

4-5 slices soppressata, cut up

4-5 slices of fresh mozzarella (1/4″ thick), diced

3 roma tomatoes, diced

2 green onion shoots, sliced

2 tbsp italian parsley, diced (basil would probably actually be even more awesome, but I had run out and my plants haven’t started sprouting yet)

olive oil and white wine vinegar mix, 1 tbsp

Mix it all together and drizzle the oil/vinegar mixture over the top. Eat it. There you go. All these fresh ingredients just cannot be beat by your typical large grocery chain fare.

Paleo banana chocolate mini muffins

Tonight I brought in a trial batch of mini muffins I have been experimenting around with. Several of you asked what the particular recipe was so here it is:

1 cup potato flour

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 1/2 bananas, mashed

1/2 cup coconut milk (I think you could probably use regular milk instead, but you will need to cook them a little longer if you do that)

1 egg, beaten

1 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Spoon into mini muffin pan to top of muffin cups. Bake 15-17 min. Outside will be crispy, inside will still be a little gooey. I prefer to refrigerate mine for about 30-60 minutes initially to set the middle.

***I plan to re-do this recipe by substituting 1/2 cup of the potato flour with protein powder and seeing how that changes the flavor and consistency. I still think they could be a little sweeter, but overall, this would make for a good breakfast food in lieu of a nut and fruit bar.

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