Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coconut Curry Chicken

I've never tried any version of coconut curry chicken before but have been trying to find new healthy meals for my family and I don't want to get in the habit of making the same dinner night after night.  So tonight I made this.  I'm not a big fan on Indian food but I really liked this.  I left the spice out of the kids but gave mine and my husband's some real heat that had me sweating by the time I was finished.  It was delicious and I definetly will be making this again.  It was a really quick and easy dinner to throw together too which is always nice.  I found this recipe at Fast Paleo though I did modify it a bit.  My family ate theirs over rice but I ate mine just as is.  Next time I'm going to try to make some cauliflower rice and see how that tastes. 

Coconut Curry Chicken 

1 lb. chicken breasts or chicken tenders, cubed
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Curry Powder
1 tbsp. Turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 cup baby spinach, rough chopped 
Salt to taste

In a saucepan over medium high heat add the olive oil and chicken and sear chicken until golden brown.  Add in the onions and garlic and turn the temperature down to a medium heat.  Allow to cook for a few minutes.  Add in the curry powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt and stir to coat everything.  Now add in the coconut milk and chicken broth and allow to simmer covered for about 15 minutes.  Remove lid and allow to simmer another 5 minutes so the sauce can thicken.  Sprinkle in about 2 tbsp. of coconut flour to help thicken the sauce if needed.  Toss in chopped (or torn) spinach leaves and give a stir for about a minute to allow them to wilt.  Serve. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

No Oat Oatmeal

So I miss oatmeal.  I use to eat it quite often for breakfast but since switching to Paleo I don't get to eat it anymore since no grains allowed, including no oats.  So when I saw this recipe at 
PaleoPlan.com I knew that I had to try it. I was really shocked at how good it was.  I wasn't expecting it to be so creamy and delicious.  I didn't pulse the nuts to death so there was a nice texture left to them.  The banana made it the perfect sweetness without having to add any extra sweetness at all.  It's a bit high on the calorie side (being about 400 calories a serving and this makes 2 servings worth so if you eat the entire thing you've just eaten about 800 calories!) Though it has nothing but good for you things added into it.  You can really use any nuts you like in this dish, you don't have to use the ones I call for. 

No Oat Oatmeal 

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pecans
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp. almond butter
1 banana, mashed
3 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if desired)
1 handful of fresh berries (optional)
Add walnuts, pecans, flax seed and spices to a food processor and pulse mixture to a course grain (make sure to stop before it is ground into a powder). Set aside. On a medium heat stir together eggs and almond milk until the consistency starts to thickens and becomes a loose custard. Using a wooden spoon you will start to notice chunks of "custard" scraping off the bottom of the pan, keep stirring.  It'll thicken pretty quick once this starts to happen.  I like to then switch to a whisk to remove the lumps in the custard then once smooth adding ingredients.  Thoroughly blend the mashed banana and almond butter together and add it to the custard, mixing well. Stir in the course nut mixture. At this point remove from heat and stir until your desired consistency is reached.  Top with berries.  Thin out with almond milk if needed. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Garlic Roasted Chicken Thighs

I love, love, love garlic.  I love so much garlic in a dish that it seeps out of my pores.  This dish is so ridiculously easy to throw together that I make it once a week and my family adores it.  I like to take the left over roasted garlic from the pan and smear it on top of my chicken like a spread.  Yum!

Garlic Roasted Chicken

4-5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
8-10 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet (I use cast-iron) get your pan on a medium heat.  Throw in the oil and the rough chopped garlic cloves (no need to mince since it'll be cooking in the oven for a long time).  Allow the garlic to cook a few minutes in the oil just to give the oil a nice garlic flavor.  Then with a slotted spoon remove the garlic and set aside but leave the oil.  Salt and pepper your chicken top and bottom generously.  Turn the pan to a medium-high heat and place chicken skin side down in the skillet rotating as necessary to get a nice golden brown on the skin.  Once the skin is nicely browned flipped all chicken over and sprinkle garlic around the pan.  I like to lift up the chicken and make sure the garlic is under, over and around all the chicken.  Place into the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is Chicken Tortilla soup with no tortillas!  This soup is absolutely delicious and is definitely one of my new favorites!  This recipe is from PaleOMG.  My husband doesn't like chunky vegetables so my soup is a smooth soup whereas the original recipe is delightfully chunky.  The avocado mixed in when serving is so ridiculously creamy and amazing but then again I'm avocado obsessed these days and could just spend all day every day eating avocados.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2.5lbs worth)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Soup Base:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
1 (14oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
32 oz fluid chicken stock (I used low sodium, no sugar added)
juice of 2 limes
chopped cilantro, to garnish
crushed plantain chips, to garnish
sliced avocado, to garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place chicken on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour on some olive oil and then sprinkle with cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts). Once your chicken is done baking, use two fork to shred the chicken. While your chicken is baking, get your soup ready. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat then add your minced garlic. Add onions, red bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and poblano pepper. Mix around to help coat. Once your onions begin to become translucent, pour in your green chiles and diced fire roasted tomatoes, along with the rest of your spices. Mix together. Then add your shredded chicken and chicken stock to the pot. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. When your soup has simmered, add in your lime juice and a bit more salt and pepper.
Add your soup to a bowl along with avocado, cilantro, and plantain chips.  YUM!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

So I'm getting ready to start this super strict Paleo & WOD challenge with my Crossfit group.  I can only buy vanilla and original Almond milk here in Japan and they both are sweetened with sugar or something that is basically sugar.  I needed Almond milk for my morning coffee with no sugar.  So I sweetened it with dates.  You know I've never had a date before until last week.  They just sound awful.  I tell you what I absolutely LOVE them.  I like to stuff them with an almond and eat them but that's another story.  Anyways, this is the Almond milk I make now for my coffee and it's really easy to do.  I found this recipe at Everyday Paleo .  Just know this is a two day process so start the day before you want your milk.  This keeps for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.  Also, homemade almond milk tends to seperate when added to hot beverages like coffee or tea.  To prevent this you need to add it to a pot after you make it and simmer it on a low heat for about 15 minutes then pour into your storage container. 

Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds
3 cups of water
4 dates
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 nut milk bag (you can use cheese clothe and a strainer if you can’t find a nut milk bag)

Soak one cup of raw almonds in water for 12-24 hours. 

After 12-24 hours strain the almonds you had soaking and add them into your blender along with 2-3 cups of fresh water (the less water you add the more creamy the almond milk will be), dates, and vanilla extract. Blend for a minute or two. Once it is completely blended and mixed pour your almond milk through the nut milk bag (or cheese clothe and strainer) into a bowl. Squeeze as much of the liquid from the nut milk bag as possible. Once all the milk has drained through the bag you can either toss the remaining almond pulp or lay it on a cookie sheet covered in foil and dry it out in the oven at 175 till it is all dried out and you will have your own homemade almond meal.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Paleo Almond Flour Biscuits

Say what?  Yup, that's right, grain-free biscuits.  These are Paleo friendly biscuits!  I was quite skeptical at first because, well I'm from South Carolina.  This Southern girl can make a rockin' biscuit!  I've  been making biscuits for years.  I thought this would be dense and terrible.  Surprisingly, it was really tasty!  I'd make this again for sure.  It is light and fluffy.  A bit crumbly but I mean come on, it's grain-free!  A definite must try for anyone doing Paleo or steering clear of dairy and/or grains.  

Oh and this is the last post I'm going to put the word Paleo in the title.  I think I've made enough Paleo recipes lately to stop saying it in the title and just label it and mention it here.  Until otherwise noted, I'm a Paleo girl and hope to stay that way. 

The original recipe is from Food Renegade

Grain-Free Biscuits
Yield: 4 breakfast sandwiches

1 cup almond flour
4 egg whites
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a mixer (or with a fork) combine the coconut oil and almond flour until you have little broken up, pea-sized bits of butter distributed into the flour.  Depending on the temperature, your coconut oil may just melt in and mix without it being pea sized.  Add the egg whites, salt, and baking powder. Mix to combine. If the batter doesn’t seem stiff enough to retain its shape while baking, add more almond flour a little at a time until it does. (Based on the comments below, this step is essential. Different almond flours are more absorbent than others.) The original recipe calls for 1 cup of almond flour so I suggest starting with that.  I used more like 1 1/2 cups when I made the recipe.  Scoop the batter into 4 even portions and place onto a greased or silicone-lined baking sheet. The dough should be scoopable by spoon but not an actual hands on type of dough.  Bake at 350F for about 20-22 minutes, until slightly golden.

(**Note - These biscuits are roughly 280 calories a piece)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Herbed Pork Tenderloin - Paleo

So I was going to make chicken for dinner.  I ran to the store to grab some and they were out.  I wasn't in the mood for red meat so I grabbed a pork tenderloin and had no thoughts on what I was going to do with it.  It was 4:00 and I was standing in the kitchen trying to figure out what to do with this meat since I had so little time to make something.  I whipped this up, let it rest for 30 minutes and cooked it.  It was AMAZING!  My entire family loved it, and asked that I make it again for them.  It was super simple and really pretty quick and best part was it fit my new diet guidelines.

Herbed Pork Tenderloin

1 3lb. pork tenderloin, sliced thinly

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon peel (dried)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, it'll be a bit thicker than a paste but not as runny as most marinades. Pour over pork in a ziplock bag and massage into meat until all is covered.  Set aside for about 30 minutes.  

1 tbsp. olive oil 
1 cup chicken stock
3 cloves minced garlic

Add remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to a medium-high heat pan.  Toss in the pork and get all pieces nice and brown.  Once cooked just about all the way through turn heat down to a medium temperature and toss all the minced garlic into the pan with the pork and allow to sautee until just golden.  Salt your pork to taste. Remove  pork from pan with a slitted spoon allowing most of the garlic to remain in the pan to be a part of the sauce but you don't need to actually brush it off the pork.  Set pork aside.  Add in the 1 cup of chicken stock to the pan.  Allow to cook with the garlic a minute and it also will get all the herbed marinade spices left in the pan into the sauce.   Serve sauce like gravy for the pork.

*Note - Because of my current diet I have eliminated all grains from my diet and so I am not thickening my sauce with butter or flour.  You are welcome to use flour to make a proper gravy if you wish.    

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Spicy Italian Sausage - Paleo

-Hmmm, not sure what is wrong with the color background on here, will have to fix that later!

So I can't eat regular sausage anymore because of my new diet.  It has added sugar and nitrates which are a big no-no.  So since I can't live without sausage I decided to make my own.  My husband and I looked at a ton of recipes and found bits and pieces from different ones we decided to use to come up with our own sausage recipe.  I use lean pork with vinegar and spices and it is absolutely divine.  I could eat this all day and all night.  I will honestly never buy sausage again.  I make this in big batches and freeze them in logs like the ones you buy in the store.  That way I always have sausage on hand.  Since I'm unsure of the fat content in the ground pork at my grocery store I buy a pork tenderloin and grind it myself then I know it is a lean meat.  I bet this would be really good with ground turkey as well.   

Spicy Italian Sausage 

1lb lean ground pork
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1-tbsp. fennel seed
1/8-tsp. crushed chili peppers
1-tbsp. paprika

Combine all ingredients and allow to rest at least 30 minutes before cooking.  Or roll into logs in plastic wrap and freeze for later use.