Delicata Squash Saute with Apple and Leek

Okay. So I said that I wasn’t going to be posting anything on here until after finals… but when my friend who’s in charge of our local food-buying club asked me for some recipes for an upcoming organic squash buy, my mind started racing and I realized I didn’t have a whole lot on the blog by way of squash. Which is a crime against humanity. Because I love winter squash with a complete and total abandon. Dramatic? Yes. Accurate? Yes. 

I picked up the original recipe from my local New Seasons and modified the heck outta it. They had a sampling in store and it was so good! I was sad I only had a small little paper cup with less than a bite of food provided. Oh well. It only meant I had to go home and make it me-friendly… which was probably better in the long run anyway.

This dish would make a fantastic side dish and is kid-friendly. Talk about a win if you can get kids to eat squash without it ending up on the ceiling! … not that we ever did that to my parents. Ever. (We usually hid food under the table.) Anyway, cook up a pork tenderloin and serve this up on the side. Your guests and kids will thank you.

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Delicata Squash Saute with Apple and Leek

  • 1 medium organic Delicata squash, seeded and cut into ½" pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 organic leek, halved and chopped
  • 2-3 tart organic apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used organic pippin apples)
  • 2 tbsp pasture-raised organic butter, unsalted (such as Kerrygold)
  • 6-6 leaves fresh organic sage, roughly chopped, or 1 tbsp dried organic sage
  • 1 tbsp organic, raw apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg’s)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized frying pan and add the squash with a pinch of sea salt. Cook over for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is lightly brown, stirring often.
  2. Add the chopped leek and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. 
  3. Add the apple, sage and vinegar. Stir to incorporate and cook for another few minutes, until the apple is cooked and the sage wilted. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm. 

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.

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.

Oven Bacon

Bacon. Is there anything more superb in the whole meat kingdom? (If any of you say “Yes,” we’re no longer friends… kidding. But seriously.) Anyway, my love of bacon is nothing new – my roommates know when I’m cooking it because the whole house smells like heaven. I’ve also been known to sport the bacon socks on a run or when I’m working out. And my friends in general hear me praise the meat almost non-stop.

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However, I hate cooking bacon in the morning when I’m in a rush and have slept in. There are usually 15 other things I need to be doing on those days in order to get out the door and get to work on time.

To solve this little problem, I started baking my bacon. It’s fast, easy, and has minimal clean-up. Also, it’s easier to capture the fat to add to my mason jar that I keep in the fridge. By the way, I use the fat to cook everything – eggs, chicken, saute onion, pan fry broccolini, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower… the list goes on and I’m too lazy to write it all out.

Back to bacon, it’s important to select a good quality meat. A lot of the bacon you buy in packages at the store is crap. Absolute and total crap. Bacon is supposed to have a long cure time. The way many commercial producers make it forces a brining period of a few hours due to a massive use of chemicals. Mmm… chemicals. Tasty. Also, look out for the sweetener – a lot of bacon uses high fructose corn syrup to sweeten it. When you read those words, think “Chemical shit storm.” There’s really no other way to say it.

I generally buy my bacon from New Seasons here in the Portland area. They use a traditional brining process and a honey cure. It’s not pasture-raised meat (and I do buy pasture-raised when I can), but it’s the next best thing. They also sell their bits and pieces for a pretty steep discount – if you don’t mind cutting up chunks of bacon into thinner pieces, it’s definitely the way to go. Search out a vendor in your area that sells good bacon. You might end up paying a little bit more for it but sometimes you have to dish out money to get a better quality product. If you find that your vendor sells bits and pieces, buy those. Unless you’re cooking for guests or it’s a holiday, chances are you and your family aren’t going to care if your bacon is completely picturesque. They’re just going to want to eat it ASAP. Or, visit US Wellness Meats. (I don’t get paid by them… I just really like their products.) Best of luck!

Oven Bacon

  • Line a jellyroll pan (one that has the short sides) with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  • Lay bacon onto the pan and place in a cold oven.
  • Turn the oven on to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on the degree of crispy you like. Monitor closely toward the end.
  • Remove from oven and promptly remove bacon from the hot fat to stop the cooking process.
  • Allow the fat to cool a bit and then drain into a jar for later use or, let fat harden on the paper/foil and toss. Wash pan (which should be relatively clean) and you’re done!

And yes. Seriously. It’s that easy. Here’s some before and after pics from this morning. My pan was still clean when I was done – yey for no dishes! (Sorry for the pics, I slept in, was a in a rush and my trusty 4S came to my rescue.)

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Egg and Vegetable Scramble with Homemade Chicken Sausage

So the scramble itself wasn’t anything to write home about. The fresh veggies were delicious but some of my younger siblings thought I was trying to poison them. (Broccoli and spinach and onion in eggs? Who would do that?!)

But the sausage…

The sausage was fabulous. And a definite “make again” recipe. If you’re on this diet, processed foods are a major No-No. Which means prepared sausages, even if they’re minimally processed, are off limits. Combine that with the fact that this diet requires you to know ever. single. ingredient. So anything with the abstract “natural flavors” or “spices” really doesn’t help too much. And sausages like to throw in soy, gluten, bell pepper, and some sort of dairy product into the mix. If you’re crunched for time, choosing a freshly made sausage – like the ones you get at Whole Paycheck (aka Whole Foods) or some gourmet grocery store where the butchers made them that morning and they can tell you every ingredient, is your best alternative. Otherwise, stock up on hormone-free organic ground chicken and get ready for a sausage making marathon.

Another little tidbit: I like to buy my chicken in “bulk”. I’ll buy a few pounds and mix up the sausage at once. I’ll put it in a glass casserole dish with a bit up olive oil rubbed around it and bake it at 350 Fahrenheit until a meat thermometer reaches 160 Fahrenheit. After it’s cooled, I’ll break it up and put it into freezer bags and freeze it. Totally a major time-saver.

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Enjoy!

Egg and Vegetable Scramble

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 chives, diced
  • 1/3 cup organic broccoli, blanched and diced
  • 3 big handfuls of organic baby spinach, rinsed
  • 4 organic eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 chives, diced (optional)
  • ¼ pound chicken sausage (recipe below)
  1. Saute onion and garlic over medium heat until onions are translucent and starting to caramelize. 
  2. Blanch the broccoli and drain. Dice and set aside. Add diced chives and spinach. Cover until spinach is wilted.
  3. Add broccoli and chicken sausage and stir. Add beaten eggs. Cover the pan for a few minutes to let the eggs steam set. (About 2-3 minutes.) Remove the lid and stir the eggs until done. 

Chicken Sausage

  • 1 pound organic ground chicken
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg
  1. Mix all of the ingredients until just blended, being careful to not over stir. (The meat will become tough.)
  2. Cook until no pink is shown in a skillet. Or bake in a glass dish, rubbed down with olive oil, at 350 Fahrenheit until a meat thermometer reads 160 Fahrenheit.

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