August 31, 2014

Out for Mexican, Hacked

So, this may or may not be overboard - possibly obnoxious. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. Right?

A few friends and I went out for Mexican last night, which - as I'm sure you've encountered - is one of the most difficult menus to navigate being paleo. As I was walking out the door thinking about the basket of chips that was going to be staring me in the face for the entire time until our food came, the words "plantain chips" started flashing in my head. YES! I threw a bag (from Trader Joe's) in my purse and headed out.

Tip #29: Bring plantain chips wit you to join in on chips & salsa.
Source
This menu was suprisingly paleo-friendly. My order: Chicken Fajita Salad without sour cream and cheese which ended up being a plate of lettuce with guac, fajita chicken & fajita veggies (green peppers & onions). I actually won't dread Mexican anymore!!!

Here's another post I did in the spring on ordering paleo at Mexican places.

August 25, 2014

Honey Mustard Ham Quiche

There's this thing called Bid Day on university campuses that happens every year in August. It's basically a holiday for every sorority girl. Being an alumni that used to celebrate this holiday, I wanted to participate in the festivities and made a small brunch for my little sister and "G-Little" before they went to the house for Bid Day.


Honey Mustard Ham Quiche
Honey Graham Crust from Against All Grain - This is the crust I used. It is a GREAT crust recipe; although, it was slightly sweet for a savory quiche. My sister and I both agreed that it needs to have pie filling next time!

1 tbsp. olive oil 
1/4 cup asparagus, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup diced ham
6 eggs
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
sea salt & pepper, to taste

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sautee for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add asparagus and satuee for another 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add ham and reduce heat. Sautee for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Scramble eggs with ground mustard, salt and pepper.

Fill pie crust with ham, asparagus & onion in the bottom. If using cheese, add that here as well. Pour the eggs over the filling. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until the center is set. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

August 24, 2014

Italian Baked Chicken

Adding the salami to this simple meal was a last-minute decision that added so much flavor!

Italian Baked Chicken
Servings: 1

1 chicken breast
1/4 cup olive oil
ground mustard
rosemary
parsley
tarragon
garlic powder
4 slices salami

Preheat oven to 375. Tenderize the chicken breast with a fork. Place in a small casserole dish. Combine olive oil and seasonings in a small bowl. The seasonings don't need to be measured, but I would approximate about 1/8-1/4 tsp. of each. Pour the oil/seasoning mix over the chicken and let marinate for about 20-30 minutes. Flip the breast over and coat again with marinade. Put chicken (with surrounding oil and seasonings) in the oven and let bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on size. Top with salami slices - the more salami, the saltier it will be BUT the more flavor - and bake for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!

August 19, 2014

Chardonnay Scallops

I would apologize for two scallop recipes in a row, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. This summer was great for so many different reasons. I had an amazing internship which tremendously helped me professionally. But, also - and, arguably, more importantly - I learned so much about cooking and being in the kitchen. Last year - especially since starting paleo - I had begun to wean myself off of recipes but felt so lost staring at the seasoning shelves in the pantry. Now it's like a fun game of deciding what flavors will combine will together and what character I want the dish to have.

So I had one more serving of scallops left. Don't worry, there are more in the freezer for later. I went grocery shopping today, so it was a toss up between zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and kale. I know I had scallops and kale last night but it just sounded so good. Plus, they're ingredients that can be completely transformed into something so different which is exactly what I did. I had more time tonight so I put a little more thought into what I was doing. Ends up... I do know a thing or two and created an AWESOME dish. It even warranted pulling out one of the nice dishes to plate all prettily. Enjoy!

Chardonnay Scallops over Kale
Servings: 2

4 cups kale, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 lb. Bay scallops
3 cloves garlic, pressed
4 tbsp. olive oil
sage
parsley
onion powder
1/3 cup Chardonnay (or other dry white wine)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon zest, divided

Pan #1: Heat olive oil on medium-low heat. Add garlic cloves and sautee for about 1 minute. It should be soft but not brown. Add scallops. Sautee for about a minute, until they have at least been heated and stirred a few times. Sprinkle lightly with sage and onion powder. I would not use more than 1/4 teaspoon of each. Continue sauteeing for another 2 minutes. Add Chardonnay and lemon juice. Slightly increase heat. Sprinkle with parsley - again, no more than 1/4 tsp. Continue stirring occasionally. After another 2 minutes, lower heat and place lid over pan. Stir occasionally and continue to simmer until sauce has reduced and the kale in Pan #2 has softened.



Pan #2 (start after wine has been added to Pan #1): Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add kale. Sautee for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place a lid over the kale for about 3 minutes, until leaves have wilted. Remove lid and continue to stir/sautee for another minute or so, until the leaves are softened completely. The key here is to not have the leaves become too soft so they don't soak up the sauce in the plate. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and 1/2 of the lemon zest. Mix together.

Plating: Fill the plate/bowl with kale. Top with scallops and about 1/4 cup of sauce. Garnish with remaining lemon zest.

August 18, 2014

Florida Scallops

I am taking full advantage of the last few days of summer and relaxing as much as possible while I still can. Don't remind me that I'll be getting home from a day of classes class this time next week. Anyway, I went to the beach with a friend of mine this weekend and went scalloping with her family.

Talk about fresh!! I picked these suckers out of the ocean with my own two hands. Although, I have to say they're quite beautiful when they're in the water. The inside of their shells are lined with a beautiful metallic blue. Anyway, I did pretty well - bringing in 52 in one trip.
I didn't have much time for dinner tonight. But, that doesn't mean that dinner had to be crap. Here's what I did:

Quick Sauteed Scallops
~15 small scallops
3 tbsp. olive oil (less if using a non-stick pan)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme

Mix all of the spices together and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic cloves. Add the scallops and sprinkle with spices. Sautee until fully cooked, stirring frequently.

I paired mine with Sauteed Kale with Red Wine Vinegar and Sauteed Chicken seasoned with Paprika, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder.

August 12, 2014

Mr. Roboto's (Tallahassee)

Source
This menu was initially a challenge but ended up to be not so bad. It's hard at places like this when the menu is centered upon rice and soy. Sushi is basically out and so is the "Kitchen" menu which exclusively offers breaded options.

My Order: Hibachi Chicken with Salad & Veggies w/o Terriyaki Sauce - Yum! It came out as grilled chicken breast sprinkled with sesame seeds over lettuce with grilled vegetables on the side. You could do this with any of the Hibachi meat options - steak, chicken, shrimp.

Sauce Bar: Disappointing - I know - but forget about Yum Yum Sauce. I used 1/2 of a sauce cup of Ginger Dressing on my chicken and salad to add a little flavor. Other than that, nothing seems to be too safe.

August 10, 2014

Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spinach

I can definitely tell that I am back in my zone... I have a WholeFoods, Trader Joe's and Publix nearby and my kitchen with even more exciting toys. That means so many new exciting recipes! Last night I made "Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spinach" from "the Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook" by Oxmoor House.

In brief terms - without copying the recipe verbatim - crisp the bacon and remove. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Pan-sear the scallops in bacon drippings - Use a large skillet with high heat and about 2.5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Add chopped yellow onion and sliced garlic - I did 3 jumbo cloves and 1 yellow onion. Sautee. Add spinach until wilted.

To serve: Top spinach with scallops and sprinkle with chopped bacon.

I blanched asparagus on the side. For this...
Blanched Asparagus
Fill a large skillet with water. Bring the water to a boil. Add the asparagus. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper & garlic powder. Let boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

August 5, 2014

Turkey Bacon & Brussel Sprout Scramble

Thinking outside the box can lead to so many great dishes, especially being paleo. So many people discount, or even disregard, greens when it comes to breakfast ideas. We had some leftover roasted brussel sprouts from dinner the other night - Paleo Beef Roast with Mashed Cauliflower & Roasted Brussel Sprouts - so I added them to our breakfast. This recipe is written for two people, but it can be adjusted proportionally.

4 strips turkey bacon
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup roasted brussel sprouts (or more)

Cut the turkey bacon into small pieces using kitchen sheers. Fry in a skillet until it has started to release some grease and start to crisp. Add the brussel sprouts. Continue to fry, stirring almost constantly, until the bacon is thoroughly cooked and the brussel sprouts have softened. This will take longer if you're using raw brussel sprouts.
Add the eggs. Scramble everything together until the eggs are cooked through.
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August 4, 2014

Butters of all kinds...

For something that is immediately cut out of your diet when you go paleo, the word "butter" seems to sneak back quite frequently. Its original dairy form doesn't come around much, but there are so many other "butter" products that can be found in a paleo pantry.


Listed Left to Right:

Almond Butter - I'm slowly getting used to the taste of raw almond butter. We're not as close as sunflower butter and I are. But, it's great for baking!
Coconut Butter - I have not used this, but my mom has. I know it is used in a lot of baking recipes.
Sunflower Butter - This is one of my best pantry friends. If you're aimelessly roaming through the fridge and/or pantry looking for that something that will satisfy you for a few hours... this is it. A spoon full of sunflower butter will keep you full, give you a protein boost and tastes awesome. I used to be a peanut butter-aholic, and this has been my best replacement.
Apple Butter - My sister got this from WholeFoods because this Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe calls for it. Although it's made from concentrate, and I've become a non-concentrate brat, it's actually really good. Like, really good. When I was in Pennsylvania this summer, I saw a lot of this because it is produced by the Amish.
Ghee - This is clarified butter which is basically butter which has been boiled to remove the lactose solids. Use it to flavor dishes that you would ordinarily flavor with butter, e.g., mashed cauliflower to replace mashed potatoes.
Sweet Potato Butter - I ordered this from Nuts.com, and it is so so yummy! There's got to be a way to home-make this. I just haven't looked into it. If you find a recipe, let me know! I used it on home-made paleo biscuits with eggs which was so yummy!
Cashew Butter - I haven't tried cashew butter, but I hear it's great. My mom said she read somewhere that cashews are one of the best types of nuts too.

Not pictured:
Pecan Butter - Another nut butter... This one reminds me of apple pie the moment it touches my tongue!
Walnut Butter - Another nut butter!
Macadamia Butter - Expensive but luxurious!

What other butters do you have in your paleo pantry?

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August 3, 2014

Paleo Beef Roast

My family has come to find that when I'm home the table will be being set for dinner around 6:30/7:00 every night with a healthy, home-cooked meal every night. Usually, the required groceries are minimal. This beautiful hunk of meat was in the freezer so I pulled it out and bought the following from the grocery store:

2 heads cauliflower
1 bag brussel sprouts
1 yellow onion
8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 can beef broth

Basically any piece of beef which can be roasted in the oven will work for this recipe.

A few hours later... there it was. A beautiful dinner on the table! I have to say, I was a little apprehensive as to how this piece of meat would fare, but it was wonderful!
I served it with Mashed Cauliflower (Recipe Book) which I mashed with 4 tbsp. ghee and 1 tbsp. thyme and Roasted Brussel Sprouts which I quartered (advice from my mom - still not sure how I felt about it) and roasted with olive oil and fresh garlic (advice from my mom which I really liked!).

Paleo Beef Roast
1/2 tsp. white or black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 yellow onion, sliced
8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 can beef broth

Place the roast in a roasting pan. Pour beef broth over the meat. Combine all seasonings in a bowl to create the rub. Rub the meat with seasoning mixture to coat the outside. Surround the roast with the onion and mushrooms. Roast at 300 until a meat thermometer reads between 155 and 165, depending on your preference. Baste the meat occasionally and, if you'd like, move some onions and mushrooms to the top of the meat once they have tenderized.

To serve, slice against the grain and top with onions and mushrooms.
Optional Gravy: Baste the liquid out of the roasting pan and put into a small sauce pan, leaving the onions and mushrooms. Bring to a low boil over medium heat. Combine 1 tsp. Arrowroot powder with 1 tbsp. water and slowly combine with the broth, stirring constantly until it congeals into a gravy.

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August 2, 2014

Blueberry Scones

Alas, another blueberry recipe! These blueberries weren't part of the original 20 pounds - which were actually used - but were awaiting being used in my mom's refrigerator upon my arrival.

Blueberry Scones

2.5 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 tbsp. honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup blueberries - fresh or frozen

Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold in the blueberries. Oil a baking sheet with coconut oil. (I use a paper towel.) Form 1/4 cup batter into a triangle for each scone. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

This batch made 9 scones. 
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