Archive for the ‘Casseroles’ Category

I’m mainly doing this post to document my recipe so I don’t forget next time I want to make it…because it was fantastic!  I apologize in advance, as always, for my poor camera skills.  I couldn’t get any great photo’s so you will have to take my word that it was fun to make and kind of (in and ugly way) pretty.  Also, this looks complicated but it’s totally not.

So, I’ve been on Paleo for over a month now and I don’t feel like I have seen the weight loss that I had expected (especially not as quickly as I had hoped).  I feel great and I feel like I am getting stronger and stronger at my gym and I no longer have the lack of energy that I did in the beginning of Paleo (and come to think of it, before Paleo).

I’ve discovered some great recipes that have gotten me through this diet (thank you www.elanaspantry.com for the bread, the cupcakes, the muffins…) and I have a totally different view on how I ate before this.  I never realized how much of my diet revolved around bread, rice, grains, and most of all – SUGAR.  Now, even on my cheat days–yes I cheat sometimes–I don’t eat nearly as many carbs and sugars as I used to eat.

All this being said, I still haven’t eased cheese all the way out of my diet.  I’ve gotten rid of most of the other dairy but I LOVE cheese.  I also love Mexican, I mean I could eat it every day and not get tired of it.  So, I have had to come up with some new ways to do Mexican without the rice, beans, and shells/chips.  I think I found it with this recipe, which you could do without cheese, but I still add a little in because I just can’t help myself. Messy but tasty…

4 large poblano peppers

1 lb ground beef (93% fat-free)

1 onion, finely diced

1 zucchini, finely chopped

3 eggs

5 dried ancho chiles (those big shriveled red ones you get in the Mexican section at the store)

6 oz can tomato paste (make sure there is no added sugar – and you understand all ingredients on the label)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp oregano

Mexican cheese blend (optional)

For the peppers:

Turn broiler on high and line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the poblano peppers on the sheet and watch closely as the char on each side – flipping as each side chars (the skin should be blistery and black).  Mine took about 5-6 min per side.  Once all sides are charred, take peppers out and place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients in the dish.

I turn the oven straight onto 400 degrees F to get in ready for the rest.

For the “stuffing”:

Brown ground beef in a pan.  Add in onion and zucchini and cook until veggies are soft.  Drain off excess grease.  In a bowl, whisk the eggs and stir in the beef/onion/zucchini mixture.

For the enchilada sauce:

Stem and seed the dried ancho chiles (I find this easier to do before you cook them, but you can do it after but you have to be careful!).  Cover the ancho’s in water and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 15 min to soften.  Pour ancho’s into a colander and let cool a little.

In a food processor, add the ancho’s, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, paprika, and oregano.  Process into a paste. Add some water a little at a time until you get a slightly (very slightly) thinner consistency – it should be spreadable  but not too thick.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Take the poblano peppers out of the bowl and peel the outside charred skin off.  Remove the stem and open up the pepper.  Take your knife and smooth it along the open inside of the pepper to remove all seeds.  Place a single layer of poblano peppers at the bottom of a 9 in x 5 in loaf shaped pan (you could use a variety of other pans, I just like the way this one works).  It took about 2 poblanos to line the bottom for me.

If using a layer of cheese, I put a very thin on here, but you can do without.  Next, add about a 1/2 – 1 inch layer of the beef mixture.  On top of that, add a layer of the enchilada sauce.

Repeat each layer on more time and if you want, top with a little queso fresca or cheese of your choice.

Bake for about 30 min or until you see it start to bubble around the edges.

You could serve this with sour cream or with avocado on top and a nice green salad to start.


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This is the one recipe that always reminds me of growing up in Richmond.  My mom had a repertoire of dishes that were pretty common (tacos, spaghetti, ham and beans, etc) but there was this one dish that I have never seen anything like since.  In our household it is just called Chicken and Broccoli.  But that doesn’t do it justice.  It is a comfort food like no other.  Every time I smell marjoram or sherry, I am immediately transported back to my house in Richmond.

I’ll let you judge for yourself but for me, this dish always hits home.

Serves 5


1/4 cup butter

1 lb raw chicken (I typically use the strips of chicken, but you could use breasts or a pre-cooked chicken)

1.5 16 oz bags of broccoli

3 tbsp marjoram

2 tbsp flour

1 can chicken broth

1/2 cup sherry

1/4 cup cream (I use fat-free half and half)

1 package swiss cheese slices

(I always serve over wild rice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in saute pan on stove.

Place frozen broccoli in a microwaveable bowl, add a tbsp of water, and cover.  Cook in microwave for about 7 min to defrost.  Put the broccoli in a 9 x 13 in glass baking dish.

Add chicken and 2 tbsp marjoram to pan with butter and cook until there is no more pink in the chicken.  Cut the chicken into chunks.

With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from butter marjoram mixture and place on top of broccoli in baking dish.

In pan with butter and marjoram, add flour 1 tbsp at a time to make a roux.  Once the mixture is thick like batter, add the can of chicken broth a little at a time into the roux, stirring and pressing to get rid of any lumps.  Add the last tbsp of flour and 1/2 cup of sherry and cook for 1 minute.  Finish off with the cream.

Pour sauce mixture over  the chicken and broccoli in baking dish.  Top with slices of swiss cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly on top.

Serve over wild rice.

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