Quick Dinners: Kale and Garlic Saute

Sometimes I’m just too lazy to cook. I’m up early in the morning, work a long day, do a bit of cleaning, catch up with the never-ending task of laundry/folding/dusting/wiping walls/ironing, tend to my little garden… and by the time I know it, it’s late in the day and I’m tired. And cooking? Heck. No.

Sound familiar? I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s like this. Sometimes life just gets in the way of making a healthy meal. In my old days, when I was the pasta queen (seriously – I had one shelf in my cupboard dedicated to pasta), I would open a box of Barilla and a jar of Classico. 20 minutes and a bit of fresh shaved parmesan later, voila! Dinner was served. Now that I know that food was what was killing me, it’s no longer an option. Eggs are a good go-to. But… I sometimes tire from having eggs too much in my diet – I eat a few (ahem. 3.) a day for breakfast.

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Now, this recipe is by no means a beautiful thing. Nor is it mind-blowing. It’s simply my “what I eat when I don’t want to cook but I don’t have leftovers to eat” meal. And after a bit of prodding from my boyfriend to put this up on the blog, here it is. He said it’s creative, I told him it’s out of necessity – end of the pay period meals are always interesting in my house. (Dave Ramsey, you should be proud!)

Anyway, enough of that. Here’s what I do when I’d rather not be cooking or whatever.

Kale and Garlic Saute

  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed, spine removed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 heads garlic, minced
  • ½ lb mild Italian pork sausage (cooked) or 1 cup minced ham
  • 1 cup soaked, sprouted, and cooked organic brown rice (If you have a hard time with sprouted rice, use 1 cup cauliflower “rice”)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 2 tbsp lard or grass-fed butter
  1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, melt the lard or butter.
  2. Add kale and garlic and cook until kale is wilted.
  3. Add cooked sausage or ham and rice and stir to incorporate.
  4. Mix in spices and cook until warmed through.

    For dinner: Serve with steamed veggies and some sauerkraut.
    For breakfast: Serve with eggs and some sauerkraut.

Simple Vegetable Soup

I feel almost bad posting this recipe. It’s just so easy. And I always get rave reviews so with tomorrow being the Friday Soup Supper at my church – it’s more or less a tradition during Lent, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. (And if people don’t like healthy food, I won’t complain – I’ll be set with leftovers for quite a few days!) But back to the rules of Friday Soup Suppers:

  • No meat products, whatsoever.
  • No meat products, whatsoever.
  • No meat products, whatsoever…. minus fish and shellfish.
  • It must be soup.

Following? K. Good. The rules are simple… thankfully. I wanted to sneak in some bacon fat… but didn’t want to risk it. And, I really wanted something I could eat for a change. (It’s not usual that I get to eat at a church gathering.) So, rather than buy something pre-made from the store as was suggested (ew! Why would I do that to people?!?!?), I decided to toss some veggies together with a few spices and call it good.

Literally.

That’s all I did.

Oh, and I tossed in some red pepper flakes? Why? Because I can. And I like to keep people on their toes.

Note: I HATE cutting up veggies for soup. A few years ago, I bought a veggie cuber thingy. I use it so so so much in the summer when I’m making cucumber and tomato salads or have a bunch of onions to quickly cut or… am making veggie soup. It’s somewhat of a pain to clean as the blades are super sharp. (I’ve been known to kill my finger a few times on it.) But after a while, I’ve learned a technique that works for me. Anyway, it’s not one of my favorite gadgets but for stuff like this, I highly recommend it (especially if you have a BB&B 20% coupon).

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Simple Vegetable Soup

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 organic zucchini, cubed
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped 
  • 3 carrots, cubed
  • 2 28-oz organic crushed tomatoes in BPA-free cans
  • 4 qt water
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning (salt and MSG-free, I use the Oregon Spice Blend, bought at Bob’s Red Mill Store in Milwaukie, the blend in the bulk organic spice section at Fred Meyer’s/Kroger’s or the organic blend from Costco)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  1. In a medium sized stock pot, saute onions in EVOO over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Add garlic and continue to saute for another minute.
  3. Toss in carrots and cauliflower and sautee until tender. Add zucchini and stir. Let sit for another three to four minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes (and all of their juice!) and water. Stir and add spices.
  5. Simmer over medium-low for half an hour, or until veggies are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

South of the Border Zucchini Pancakes

These guys. So tasty. I had plain zucchini pancakes recently and wanted to give them a little flavor kick. (I’m obsessed with savory for breakfast, what can I say?) So these babies were born. I originally served them with fresh pico de gallo, sliced avocados with pink salt and hot sauce. Always gotta have the hot sauce. After I’m done with my 21 day sugar detox, I’ll serve them with a bit of crème fraîche (French fermented cream that tastes a lot like American sour cream – you can buy it relatively cheaply at Trader Joe’s) or some whole milk cojita cheese. Latin American Sauerkraut would also taste fantastic with these. Enjoy!

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A little note: conventional zucchini is a GMO crop (when at the grocery store, conventional crops start with a 4xxx, organic a 9xxx). Make sure you buy organic zucchini or buy conventional ONLY at Trader Joe’s as they do not carry any GMO products in their produce department. Their open statement on their commitment to non-GMO is only another reason why I love T.J.’s with all my beating heart.

South of the Border Zucchini Pancakes

  • 4 organic zucchini, shredded
  • 4 organic soy-free eggs, beaten
  • ¼ pound bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  1. In a medium frying pan, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Reserve the fat in the pan.
  2. While bacon is cooking and using a cheese grater, shred the zucchini. Add all of the other ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Once the bacon is done, add to the mixture.
  3. Over medium heat, and using the bacon grease in the pan, ladle about a 1/3 cup (pancakes should be about 3" wide) of the mixture. Cook each side until lightly browned, only flipping once.
  4. Serve immediately.

    Note: nightshades are not allowed for some on an anti-inflammation diet. If you do not tolerate cumin, red chili powder or cayenne pepper, simply omit.

Chicken Marbella

By far my favorite chicken recipe of all time, this used to be my go-to when I had people coming over for dinner. The meal required a bit of planning ahead because I would let it marinade for 24 hours, rather than the instructed overnight. I recently experimented with making it paleo-friendly and the first attempt came out much too sweet. I’ve since cut back on the maple syrup and did a few made a few more tweaks.

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I used to serve it with white rice (I know, I know, I had no idea then) and will every once in a while serve it with brown rice of which I’ve soaked for 24 hours and then rinsed thoroughly (it ferments it of sorts). More often than not, I’ll pulse cauliflower until it’s the consistency of rice in my food processor and then steam it in a skillet with chicken fat or I’ll serve it over roasted cauliflower. It’s fantastic! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Chicken Marbella
(based on the recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook)

  • 1 organic, free range fryer chicken, quartered (save the back and freeze it for soup) with the skin still on
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1 ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup pitted prunes
  • 1/3 cup pitted green Greek olives
  • 2 tbsp capers, plus 1 tbsp caper juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp organic grade B maple syrup
  • ¼ cup white wine or chicken stock (if you can’t tolerate wine)
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
  1. The night before: In a bowl, mix the chicken, garlic, oregano, S&P, red wine vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. The next day: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer chicken to a dutch oven and lay out chicken in a single layer, pour marinade juice around the chicken pieces.
  3. Pour maple syrup and white wine atop and place in the oven.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, basting frequently, until juices run clear in the chicken, when cut.
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken, capers, prunes and olives to a plate. Pour juices into a sauceboat… or just do what I did and serve it all in one massive heap atop a bed of steamed cauliflower “rice”. Sprinkle the Italian parsley on top prior to serving.

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Accidental Paleo Teriyaki Chicken

Ever have one of those nights where you set out to make something and end up with something completely different?

Yea. Those nights. Welcome to my world.

I had some time to kill yesterday and stopped by Bob’s Red Mill to see which spice I didn’t already have and possibly couldn’t live without. Now. I’m not usually one to buy blends. I typically like to make my own – I can control the extras they put in a lot better that way. But I was curious about the Chinese Five Spice – so I bought a small amount of it and figured I’d doctor something up later… with the chicken that I pulled out of the freezer that morning and put in the fridge and that didn’t defrost. Whoops.

After that comedy of errors, I finally managed to defrost it (cold water baths are my friend) and dinner was made (although I was trying to make a different dish altogether) and I’m so very happy for my “mistake!” So, here’s Day 4 of my Whole30 Challenge dinner. Enjoy!

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Paleo Teriyaki Chicken

  • 8 organic Chicken Thighs, trimmed
  • ½ Onion, diced
  • 1 ½ tsp Clarified Chicken Fat (or evoo)
  • Organic Broccolini
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Aminos (can be purchased at a local Whole Foods)
  • ¼ cup organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (evoo)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Blend
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh grated Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
  1. In a skillet, over medium heat, heat chicken fat and add diced onions. Saute until translucent.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the aminos, evoo, garlic, spice blend, ginger and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Spread out onions so they evenly coat the pan and lay the chicken thighs on top. Pour the marinade over top and cover with a lid.
  4. Let the chicken steam until done, only turning once to ensure even coating of the marinade.
  5. About two minutes before serving, place the broccolini on top and put the lid back on. (This will steam blanch the broccolini.)
  6. Serve hot and spoon the juices on top when serving. Leftovers can be in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Halibut Fillet with Italian Veggies

Today marks the first day of the Whole30 Challenge. I’m super excited – eating paleo isn’t all that difficult for me… but I’ve been cheating and have been less compliant with the whole sugar thing (sugar is a toxin to the body). A 30 day detox is going to be wonderful!

To mark day 1, here’s something I made a few days back and am eating today for leftovers. It’s delicious. I love fish. I love halibut. I love Italian (organic) veggies. I love combing the two. My mouth is a veritable explosion of delicious goodness right now… but maybe that’s the side of homemade sauerkraut talking… errr – effervescenting. So here ya go! Day 1’s breakfast. (I turned it into a hash this morning and served it over a bed of arugula – it’s a bit different than how I served it up a few nights back.)

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Halibut Fillet with Italian Veggies and Arugula

  • 1 wild-caught halibut fillet, about ¾#
  • 3 small, organic, non-GMO zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pint organic, non-GMO grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh organic basil, minced
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onion, zucchini, and garlic and saute until soft. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Toss until evenly distributed.
  4. In an oven-safe dish (I used my cast iron skillet), lay out the halibut. Spoon the veggies over the top of the halibut and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the halibut is flakey.
  5. Serve hot, with veggies over-top.

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I Love Arugula Salad and Herb BBQ’d Chicken

Arugula just might be the best leafy green out there…. beside baby spinach. It’s spicy, the texture is pleasant, and it’s spicy. So when a friend of mine celebrated his 30th birthday on Sunday with a BBQ and I knew there were going to be a few paleo (or modified) people there, arugula salad seemed to be the logical choice. And it’s vegan.

For those friends who asked for this recipe, this one’s for you.

But really, the rest of you should make this salad – it’s fabulous. The recipe is from my Mom so I take no claim to this one. But, really, it’s fabulous. Times ten.

As for the chicken, well, here you go to my friends who asked. It was yummy. And I ate too much – but when you eat paleo, eating too much doesn’t really exist in your vocabulary.

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Arugula and Onion Salad

  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ to 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 6 cups organic baby arugula, rinsed (or pre-rinsed)
  1. Saute onion over medium heat in half of the olive oil until translucent and just starting to caramelize.
  2. Add remaining olive oil and allow to sit for a minute longer and let the onions cool slightly, stirring so all of the oil is incorporated with the onions.
  3. Toss with the arugula in a large bowl and add sea salt, to taste.
  4. Serve while onions are still a bit warm.
  5. That’s it! Seriously.

Herb BBQ’d Chicken

  • 6 organic, free-range chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh organic,thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh organic rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Mix the marinade together until blended.
  2. Toss all of the ingredients in a container (plastic ziploc, glass dish and cover with plastic wrap, or a plastic container) and allow to sit for about an hour in the fridge.
  3. Throw on the BBQ until juices run clear and the meat is cooked, about 4 minutes on each side. Unless you happen to have a Traeger (smoker BBQ) – let it sit a bit longer and that’s even better.

Enjoy!

PIZZA!!!!!! (and it’s paleo!)

A few months ago, I tried to make paleo pizza dough but it was an abysmal failure. After scouring Pinterest (yes, I’m addicted to that as much as I am to running), I decided to modify a recipe and lose the cheese.

Apparently you really do need cheese sometimes – it was barely palatable to say the least.

This last week, the cravings for carbs and protein hit like none other thanks to my new attempts at CrossFit (I look like a flailing goat or some other highly pathetic animal but I plan on mastering it). Grocery shopping was not in the gameplan – it’s the end of the month which equals time to get creative, make mistakes (hopefully they taste good), and only get messy enough that I don’t destroy my kitchen…. oh, and not spend any money.

The pizza was delicious and both paleo and non-paleo roommates enjoyed it thoroughly, with a request to make it again soon. If the non-paleo likes it,  you know it’s good!

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Paleo Pizza
For the crust:

  • ½ head of caulflower, “riced”
  • 2 ½ tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • dash of salt

Toppings:

  • 1 bottle Trader Joe’s Artichoke Antipasto Pesto (or whatever it was called – it’s not paleo because of the oil type but it was on my shelf from who knows when and I wanted to get rid of it) OR you can do my Tomato-Free “Tomato” Marinara
  • ½ medium Onion, sliced very thinly
  • 5-6 cloves of Garlic, sliced thin
  • a few handfuls of Arugula
  • ½# Ground Chicken sauteed with 3 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper
  • A handful of Organic Grape Tomatoes, halved (omit if on SCD or anti-inflammatory diets)
  • Kalamata Olives, halved and pits removed
  • salt and pepper
  • Seriously. Whatever you have in your fridge.
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a food processor, process small amounts of cauliflower until they are the size of small tapioca, scraping down the sides as needed. You may need to remove any large pieces and put them in the next batch so you don’t juice your cauliflower. Remove and dump into a bowl. Repeat until all cauliflower has been riced.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients (you could put some herbs in for some extra something).
  4. Line a pan with parchment paper and pat out a crust. Precook for 15 minutes, or until the sides of the crust are starting to turn golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and place toppings on. Place back in oven for 15 min, or until the bottom of the crust is a light golden brown.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes, cut and serve! Note: This is an"eat with fork and knife" crust – I haven’t perfected the crunchy crust quite yet but am working on it!image

Carrot Ginger Soup

This winter seems to be taking FOR.EV.ER. Maybe it’s because I spent a few weeks sicker than a dog. And wasn’t running. Or eating. Or doing much other than sleeping and drinking my mom’s chicken broth. (Best broth in the whole, wide world – I’ll have to do a post on that someday soon.) Or maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of a cold snap in the Portland area and when I woke up at 8am, it was still 24 degrees out. No outdoor run for me – time to get myself to the gym.

Regardless of the reasons why this winter is dragging on, there is one thing that makes it completely bearable: Soup. Especially soup with lots of healing properties and natural anti-inflammatory and anti-viral ingredients. The fresh ginger soothes an upset stomach and the garlic works as a powerful anti-viral – it’s one of the most powerful natural anti-virals around! (Just when your doctor told you there was nothing to do for a cold!)

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Around our house, organic carrots are a staple. We eat them like Bugs Bunny (exhibit A above with my sister chowing down on her carrot) and use the peels for our chicken stock. A great source of carotenoids, it forms Vitamin A once inside the body, which acts as an anti-viral and helps to support the liver, pancreas, and kidney… a good thing when the weather has you down.

Also, save your carrot peels, onion skins, and onion top! We keep our vegetable “garbage” in a gallon-sized ziploc bag in the veggie tray in the fridge. You can use them for making your own chicken broth – the peels of the carrots contain lots and lots of vitamins and minerals. Just make sure to throw away the carrot caps, they’re bitter and don’t add anything to the soup. Also, don’t both with saving the garlic pieces – garlic and chicken stock don’t mix. Ever.

If you’re sick or looking for a good soup that will warm throughout during the long winter months, this just might be your soup.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

  • 2 lbs organic carrots, scrubbed and peeled, or just scrubbed
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 tbsp organic grass-fed butter (such as Kerrygold)
  • 2 cups organic homemade chicken broth
  • 1 13.5oz can whole-fat coconut milk (no fillers)
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • ½ – ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ – ¾ tsp fresh-cracked pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried or fresh parsley, chopped (as garnish)
  1. Steam the carrots with two tablespoons butter until soft.
  2. While the carrots are steaming, saute the onion in the remaining two tbsp butter over medium heat, add garlic after onions after a few minutes, and continue to saute until onions are slightly caramelized. 
  3. Combine steamed carrots, garlic and onions, and the rest of the ingredients in a stock pot and blend with an immersion blender until the soup is completely creamed. Or, combine in a large bowl and, using small quantities and multiple batches, blend with a standing blender. NOTE: Be especially careful if using a standing blender as hot items can rapidly expand with the increase in velocity and the blender contents could explode if too full or if there is no firm pressure on the lid.
  4. Heat the blended soup until warmed throughout and serve garnished with dried parsley.

Serves 4.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some soup to eat.

Tomato-Free “Tomato” Marinara

I told my fiance that I was making tomato marinara for dinner. His first reaction was that I wasn’t allowed to have tomatoes (they’re a nightshade and are off the list) and then he began reminding me that I was trying to get better (he’s been very very supportive during all of this – I’m one lucky lady).

I told him that it wasn’t tomatoes… it was beets and pumpkin puree.

I think I heard a pin drop.

He might have thought he’d seen a pig fly outside.

And then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “You’re a good cook, I trust you.” Did I mention that I was a lucky lady? He’s willing to take culinary leaps of faith right alongside me.

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Much to my surprise… and I think even more his, it tasted like marinara sauce.

Just LIKE marinara sauce.

And it looked like marinara sauce that had been slow-cooked for hours on end.

I was so excited! Combine this with my gluten-free dairy-free spaetzl (recipe for that coming soon) and my life just might be complete. Or pretty close to being complete. A sprinkling of nutritional yeast would, in fact, make it complete.

Just one note, the onion, which reads finely chopped, needs to be finely chopped. Otherwise you’ll get fuchsia onions like I did during my first attempt. Also, I added a splash of plum balsamic vinegar (you can find it at your local vinegar and oil specialty store – I highly suggest picking up some vinegars you like as store-bought salad dressings are off the foods list) and a splash or two of white wine vinegar to brighten things up a bit. It’s a marinara – play around with it!

Enjoy!

“Nomato” Tomato Marinara

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (8-ounce) can beets, drained, juices reserved (oven-roasted, pureed beets are fine, too)
  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ½-¼ cup gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 24 grinds fresh black pepper
  • ¼-⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, or ¼ cup dried basil
  • a good “palmful” of dried thyme and oregano
  • 1 tbsp honey (maybe a little more, maybe a little less)
  1. Saute onions and garlic over medium heat in a dutch oven until onions are translucent in a medium dutch oven or large skillet.
  2. Add balsamic vinegar and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, puree the beets. Add beets and pumpkin to the dutch oven and stir until there isn’t a kaleidoscope of color. (You’ll see what I mean when you make it.)
  4. Add the stock and stir. Add the spices and stir. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Check the balance of the spices and adjust as necessary.

I dare your family, friends, and picky eaters to tell the difference!

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