Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

This is the baked version - there is one picture of the fried version at the bottom!

It is a beautiful Friday (what Friday isn’t beautiful??) –  70 degrees F and sunny.  I have all the windows open and a cool breeze is blowing through.  It’s hard to see the glass half empty today, so I am using the postivity to propel me through a few Paleo recipes.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been back and forth lately on whether I will be able to sustain the Paleo diet.  I love the way it makes me feel but oh man, I miss bread and sugar sometimes (I would love to have a lunch every now and then that is a sandwich and then follow it up with a cupcake!).  But alas, I am going to charge ahead and keep trying to stay on this path as it is very nice to not have to take blood pressure medicine anymore.

On that note, I made two separate meals today that I think will help me get through.  First, fish sticks!  I based my recipe on an Elana’s pantry recipe, because in my mind she is the Queen of Gluten Free cooking, which translates to Paleo most of the time.

I should start by pointing out that these are not your standard fish sticks.  This version didn’t come out crispy like I had hoped, but they still really hit the spot for me.  I liked them so much I made them two days in a row.

This served one as I was just making them for lunch, so you can up the recipe as needed.

Fish Sticks

  • 4 oz white fish (I use flounder, but you could use cod, tilapia, or a number of other fish!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • If baking, 1 tbsp melted butter
  • If frying, 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (you could use half and half grapeseed/olive oil)
You can bake or fry these – if baking, preheat the oven to 450 F.  I did both methods and probably prefer baking for the ease, but the frying made them slightly crispier.  Also, line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with Pam.
  • If not baking, heat about 1/4 cup grapeseed oil in a pan over medium heat.  Be patient so you don’t burn the oil.
Start by whisking an egg in one bowl and stirring all the dry ingredients together on a large flat plate (you could use a bowl, but I found the plate to work nicely).  Slice the fish into strips (about an inch thick, maybe a little less).  Dip the fish into the egg to coat and then roll in the flour mixture until well coated.
If baking, place on the foil lined baking sheet, brush with a little melted butter and cook at 450 for about 15-20 minutes, flipping once to brown both sides.
If frying, once the oil is heated, place the fish sticks in the pan, leaving plenty of room to flip – don’t overcrowd, do a couple batches if necessary.  Fry on each side for about 2 minutes (I did all 4 sides).  Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb extra oil.

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Let me start by admitting two things:

1.  This isn’t much of a “recipe” blog tonight.  I really am just so excited about my first grill that I had to write about it.  I’m on a new grill high.

2.  This is my first time EVER owning and running a grill.  I know it’s a little odd that I have gone half my adult life without this well-known piece of equipment, but you have to remember I didn’t really eat that much meat for the majority of my life, so I thought a grill wasn’t necessary.  And if I am being completely honest, I was terrified I would it would be too complicated and I might possibly blow something up (like my house or my dog…I’m still worried that if Stuart is out with the grill he may somehow catch on fire, so I made him stay inside the whole time – which he did not like).

BUT given I am doing Paleo-ish eating these days, meat has become a little less scary (very little) and grilling has proven to be a necessity, so I broke down and bought a grill.  The grill was this little tabletop model that I had to assemble myself.  Well, it was easy enough to put together….but not so fast my friends…I couldn’t get the propane tank to screw in and it was so tall that the grill wouldn’t sit flat on the table.  And, given my fear of catching things on fire, it meant I would have to take the umbrella out of my table every time I wanted to use it so I wouldn’t fear it going up in flames.  I just knew I would never use this thing again, if I could even figure it out in the first place.

At my wit’s end, I headed over to Target at 7:30 pm to try to scavenge for a grill, but as I looked around, the thought of assembling one was daunting.  Then I had a thought…at Lowe’s there are lots of men who work there wandering around.  The thought going through my head, “Maybe I can get one of those handsome men to sell little old me a pre-assembled grill.”  I turned on my heels and headed off with a mission.

Needless to say, I got to Lowe’s and the one man in sight was helping someone else.  I paced, I sighed loudly, I put on my most confused but charming face, and then I resorted to staring.  10 minutes later and I hadn’t even gotten an, “I’ll be right with you, ma’am.”  Where’s the chivalry???  Last I checked we were in the South people.

Partially giving up, I started wandering the aisles around the grill section thinking maybe I could entertain myself for a little while.  That’s when I saw it.  My little Aussie Walk-About gas grill.  It was so cute, all assembled already and folded, on wheels, with a handle so I could pull it through the store.  Eureka!  It even fit in the backseat of my SUV (which was key because I remembered as I was wheeling through the parking lot with a huge grin on my face that my trunk was stuffed with tennis racquets, balls, bike helmet, camelbak water book bag, laptop bag and a variety of other things).

My new baby and my old baby (trying to lick the hot grill)

It took me all of two minutes to get it unfolded and into table position and I was a grillin!  I mean, you have to see this thing to understand.  What did I make?

  • Burger from Fresh Market – cooked on medium-high for about 6 min on each side.  Topped it with mozzarella about with about two minutes left on the clock.
  • Half a Bell Pepper – when I put the burger on, I put the bell pepper (halved) face down on the grill (to char the top of it)
  • I put the Bell Pepper on top of the burger/mozzarella and topped with pasta sauce (good pasta sauce with no sugar added – make sure you know clearly what all the ingredients are)
  • On the other side of the grill, I tossed some asparagus with olive oil, S&P, and put in a veggie grill basket.  I only grilled this for about 5 minutes – I like it crispy!
I have a feeling this is just the beginning of my grilling journey.
By the way, for anyone that read this far, I may have dropped the burger and had to start over with a new one.  I also, in my frenzy of trying to save the burger, grabbed the veggie grill basket with my bare hands and burned my fingers decently.  Somehow, and I’m not quite sure how, that didn’t dampen my new grill spirits.

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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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Okay, so lots of small posts today from my one tasty lunch.  As I mentioned in a previous post, chicken salad is a good easy Paleo lunch.  You can pretty much add anything you want to it, but here is what I put in:

Shredded Chicken (I used a 4.99 Rotisserie Chicken that was on sale on Sunday – probably not the best way of approaching this, but I have to tell the truth)

3 Hard Boiled Eggs, peeled and diced

Shredded Carrots (1/4 – 1/2 cup)

1 celery stalk, diced

Pecans, chopped

Almonds, chopped

Paleo Mayo – 1/2 batch or about a 1/2 cup – adjust to your liking

I often add a variety of spices like parsley, sage, thyme, and dill – but I put most of those straight into my mayo this time so it was already mixed in!

Mix all of the ingredients above and serve on top of a slice of gluten-free bread.  I like to add a side of Parsnip “Fries”.

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I make chicken tortilla soup at least once a month, so I was definitely not prepared to give that up when I started Paleo, but I had to make a few tweaks to make it still enjoyable. Here is how I did it.

Chicken Tortilla-less Soup

32 oz reduced sodium chicken broth

2 lbs chicken breasts

1 can petite diced tomatoes (so this was cheating a little – you could use fresh tomatoes here)

1/2 can tomato paste

2 cloves garlic

1 onion, diced

2 green peppers, diced

1 zucchini, halved and sliced

2 chipotle peppers (I like it spicy, so this can be omitted if you don’t!)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

Avocado (for topping – not in the slow cooker)

Throw all ingredients together in the slow cooker.  I set it on low for 10 hrs, but you can do much less time – 6hrs on low would probably do it.  Top with a lot of diced avocado!

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I didn't like the first pic so here are some leftovers served with chargrilled tortillas!

Who would have thought?   Frankie Valli (who is still AMAZING at 76 years old) and The Four Seasons was one of my favorite shows of all time.  This could be because it felt more like going to see a musical than a concert, but I just adored the show.  The theatre where he played was gorgeous and half way through the show we look over at one of the balconies and see an older couple spontaneously slow dancing to one of his songs.  It was a touching, wish we could all have that kind of lasting love moments.

Frankie – apologies for my poor photography skills!

Anyways, with that show and a couple of other things that have been going on this week it has been busy!  I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping in weeks and there are basically just a few cans of beans and tomatoes lingering in my cupboard and not much else.  I looked in the freezer and found some frozen chicken breasts, so I knew exactly what I was going to make.  The recipe is from another one of my favorite food blogs, SkinnyTaste, it’s called Chicken Taco Chili.  The best thing about this site and the recipes is that they are healthy but so good.  The name doesn’t sound fancy but it always turns out so tasty.

You can put this in a taco, on rice, on a salad or eat it as chili.  Try this, you won’t be sorry.

Serves 10: about 200 calories per serving (1.25 cups each)

1.5 lb chicken breasts, uncooked

1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce

1 14.5 oz can pinto beans

1 14.5 oz can black beans

2 14.5 oz can Rotel (diced tomatoes with mild green chiles)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

10 oz frozen corn kernels – optional

1 packet taco seasoning, reduced sodium

Whatever toppings or serving choices you like – rice, lettuce, taco shells, chips, chargrilled tortillas (just throw a tortilla on a burner (electric) for five seconds on each side)

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker (with the exception of the toppings).  Cook over low heat for 8-10 hrs or high heat 5-6 hrs.

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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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