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The other day, one of my coworkers had shells & white cheese with peas mixed in, and I had this intense craving mixed with nostaglia that I knew I would need to satisfy. I was thinking about it for days before I stumbled across this great recipe – cauliflower is really the perfect substitution for those of us trying to cut down on the carbs (check out the cauliflower fried “rice” recipe too!). We served it with sauteed chicken to up the protein factor, and it was the perfect not-quite-paleo meal.

cauliflower pasta with peas and ricotta

Cauliflower “Pasta” with Peas & Ricotta
via the stonesoup

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into tiny trees
250g (1/2 lb) frozen peas
1/2 bunch mint, leaves picked
250g (1/2 lb) ricotta
2 handfuls grated parmesan cheese
Freshly Ground Pepper

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Simmer cauliflower for 10 – 12 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in another saucepan. Cook peas over a medium high heat for 5 – 8 minutes, or until peas are tender and starting to go a little wrinkly. Remove from the heat and stir through the mint. Drain the cauliflower and return the peas to the heat. Toss cauliflower in with the peas and add ricotta. Stir until ricotta is heated and coating everything. Taste & season.

Some nights I’m in for a big, complex meal. I love spending time in the kitchen, but it’s not always one of those nights. Sometimes we’re short on energy, but still want something homemade and delicious. On those nights I head over to Stonesoup; it’s full of simple, fresh, whole food recipes.
I love this recipe for it’s simplicity and it’s versatility. I’m thinking next time we might add brussels sprouts. We often toss whatever’s on hand in a baking pan and roast it in the oven for a hour, but this recipe has a great balance of flavors and is a perfect starting point for different combinations.

roasted sausage onions and butternut squash

Magic Sausage Supper
via stonesoup

1/2 butternut squash
2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 thick sausages (we used kielbasa)
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Preheat your oven to 350F. Halve the squash crosswise then chop into wedges. Place pumpkin, onion, chili and sausages in a roasting dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast for about an hour, stirring at the half way mark. It’s ready when everything is golden and tender. Serve with parsley leaves sprinkled over the top.

A belated post for Hanukkah! We hosted this year and I made latkes (with a corned beef main course). I love this latke recipe for the flavor boost from the chives and the extra crisp that the panko addition gives. Short on time and energy, I used a 2lb bag of frozen shredded hash browns instead of peeling and shredding potatoes and they turned out fabulous with a lot less work.
These turned out so great, I’m thinking about making latkes more of a regular thing. One of our favorite local restaurants serves them as a brunch side option and now I’m dreaming of these with a few perfectly poached eggs. Yum!

Food52

Golden Panko Latkes with Sour Cream and Chives
via food52

6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and grated (about 2 pounds)
[or a 2lb bag of frozen shredded hash browns]
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 tablespoons finely chopped chives, or more to taste (divided use)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups panko breadcrumbs (extra crispy)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup canola oil

Mix the sour cream together with another tablespoon (or more to taste if you wish) of the finely chopped chives and refrigerate.
Wash, peel and (medium) grate Yukon gold potatoes. Squeeze and drain excess potato liquid once grated. If using frozen hashbrowns, start here. I found it them easier to work with once they had begun to thaw a bit. Add salt, white pepper, and 3 tablespoons of finely chopped chives. In a separate bowl beat 2 eggs till frothy. Add eggs and flour and mix thoroughly. Form into patties about 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Cover with panko breadcrumbs on each side.
Using a large skillet, heat oil which should cover the bottom of skillet and 1/2 way up the sides of the patties. Test first by dropping a teaspoon of mixture into hot oil. It should quickly fry but not so hot it burns (just like when making falafels). The secret is getting the oil to the correct frying temperature so as to flash cook the potatoes to crispy perfection on the outside but remain soft yet cooked on the inside. Once you’ve cooked the potato pancakes serve hot immediately along with the cold sour cream & chive mixture.

Mushrooms and marsala are always the perfect pairing. And Smitten Kitchen always does it perfectly. My obsession started with the Mushroom Bourguignon (favorite dish ever) and blossomed from there. I love the simple ingredients that play off each other so well here.

chicken and mushroom marsala

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala
via smitten kitchen

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin, any variety you like
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional, for garnish)

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet heat oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown chicken in 2 batches, transferring with tongs to a large plate as browned. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and sauté onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until Marsala is almost evaporated. Add broth and chicken with any juices that have accumulated on plate and simmer, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter.
Simmer mushroom sauce until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until butter is just incorporated. Spoon mushroom sauce around chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

A protein plus a vegetable and a sauce equals the perfect easy dinner for any night. And pesto is always a pleaser. It’s been so long since I had green beans, and pesto was a wonderful and unexpected pairing. This spinach version has such a lovely flavor, I had to smear it all over the pork chops too. The best part? Husband did all the prep and I just had to throw the chops on when I walked in the door. Just lovely.

Oven Roasted Pork Chops and Green Beans with Spinach Pesto

Oven Roasted Pork Chops and Green Beans with Spinach Pesto
via paleo foodie kitchen

6 center cut boneless pork chops
1 lb green beans, trimmed
1 bag baby spinach
¼ cup sliced raw almonds
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp aleppo pepper (or 1 part cayenne, 4 parts paprika substitution)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350F on convect roast setting.
Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack on top of a foil lined sheet and roast for 5-6 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from oven and set aside.
Make pesto by combining baby spinach, sliced raw almond, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, aleppo pepper, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
Steam green beans until just crisp and toss with pesto sauce.

Two pans, just a little mess, and a whole lot of chicken and veggie goodness. I love a perfectly roasted piece of chicken with crispy, peppery skin. The Brussels sprouts were perfect tossed with the lemon pieces. I skipped the potatoes for paleo (ok, maybe I tried one or two to make sure they were done coming out of the oven!), but my darling husband said they were just right with this dish. I did pretty much all the prep right on the baking pans, much to his relief, and voilà! One tenth the mess, but all the flavor.

Chicken with Lemony Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Chicken with Lemony Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
via real simple

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee, at room temperature
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, or other cooking oil

Heat oven to 425° F, with the racks in the upper and lower thirds. Combine the butter and mustard in a small bowl. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and loosen the skin, using your fingers. Spread the mustard butter under the skin of each thigh, dividing evenly. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. On a second rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes, Brussels sprouts, rosemary, lemon slices, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken on the top rack until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part (avoiding the bone) registers 165° F, 20 to 27 minutes. Roast the vegetables on the bottom rack at the same time as the chicken, tossing once, until tender, 18 to 22 minutes. Serve the chicken with the potatoes and Brussels sprouts on the side.

Chicken with Lemony Potatoes and  Brussels Sprouts

After so much meat the past fews weeks since starting paleo, I was craving a veggie-only meal. The flavor in this one is so great! Spicy and creamy and packed full of vegetables. I ate a huge bowl of it all on it’s own, and served the husband’s over rice. I also finally discovered ghee, after reading it in the ingredient list on a million different paleo blogs. I’m crazy about it! It’s clarified butter without the milk proteins… all of the wonderful butter taste without the part that’s not so great for you.
Anyway, this delicious dish would also be a fabulous side to a shredded pork or a great taco filling. Don’t be surprised to see it at the next taco potluck!

Southwestern Succotash

Southwestern Succotash
via girl meets paleo

1 poblano pepper
1-2 jalapeño peppers (I used two, since I was feeling like a little more spice)
1 onion
2 zucchini
1 bell pepper
1 tomato
5 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp ghee, or cooking oil of choice
1/2 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chile powder
pinch of oregano
1 cup coconut milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preheat broiler. Place poblano and jalapeño on a dry baking sheet and broil until fully charred, turning peppers as needed. Remove from heat, place in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
Chop onion, zucchini, bell pepper, tomato, and garlic. In a dutch oven or large heavy pan heat 1 tbsp ghee over medium-high heat. Add onion and a generous pinch of salt, cooking until onions become transparent, about 5 minutes. While the onion is cooking remove peppers from bowl. Peel the skin off the poblano, cut the top off, deseed, and chop. Carefully, remove the top of the jalapeño, deseed (leave the seeds if you like things spicy), and chop. Add the peppers and remaining vegetables to the onions. Add cumin, chile powder, oregano, about 1/2 tsp pepper, and another pinch of salt. Cook about one minute. Add coconut milk and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked and sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped cilantro.

This is the paleo dish I’ve been hearing about over and over, so I knew we had to try it. And it is everything they’ve all been saying! This is super-satisfying, veggie-packed, starch-free deliciousness. It’s fried rice plus wow. Also, bacon! I can’t remember the last time I put bacon in anything. It’s terrible. What have I been doing? Of course, you could leave out the bacon and make this totally vegetarian, too. I imagine it’s perfect about a thousand different ways.

cauliflower fried rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice
adapted from just pinch me

1 small head of cauliflower, separated in florets
3 slices of uncured bacon, cut into small dice
3 large eggs
1-inch knob of ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small onion, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
1 tablespoon of chopped mint
2 tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until the pieces are about the size of rice, and set aside. Toss the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and fry until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Whisk the eggs with a little pepper and pour into the skillet. The eggs will spread out and make a very thin fried omelet. Cook for a minute on one side then flip over. When eggs are done remove from the pan, cut into thin bite size strips and set aside.
Turn up the pan to medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the onion, cook about 5 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook until just browned. Add the ginger while stirring, then the cauliflower pieces. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the fish sauce (and any other sauces), salt and pepper to taste. Finish by adding the bacon, fried egg strips, herbs and the sliced green onions. Stir well and enjoy!

This dish had a really interesting and different flavor, packed with herbs and greens. We used collard greens, kale and rainbow chard and it turned out quite lovely. Husband’s was served over rice and mine was over a baked sweet potato (1 hr in the oven at 400 degrees!), since I’m trying the paleo thing this month. The original recipe called for 2 bay leaves, but the flavor was a bit sharp on this, so I’d recommend only using one. Uli’s is always our sausage of choice, and this andouille packed a nice amount of heat, it was a nice balance to the tangy-lemony greens.

Lemony Gumbo Z'herbes

Lemony Gumbo Z’herbes
via food52

2 tablespoons grapeseed or other cooking oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery, preferably the innermost ribs (reserve the leaves for later)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock
2 pounds assorted greens: collards, turnip, beet, mustard, chard, kale, or spinach, coarsely chopped
All the celery leaves from your head of celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 bay leaf (preferably fresh)
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (leave out if you want this to be vegetarian)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 small links smoked andouille sausage, cut into small pieces (also optional)
Fruity olive oil, for serving
1 scallion, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving (or baked sweet potatoes)
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, and salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally until softened but not browned. Stir in garlic and let it sweat with the other vegetables for a minute or two. Add water or stock to the Dutch oven. Raise heat until it comes to just below boiling. Add greens and celery leaves a little at a time until they are all wilted into the soup. Add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Halve and juice a lemon, and put both lemon halves into the soup. Add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, if using. Reduce heat to low and simmer soup, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. The vegetables will become mushy and the soup will be very green. This is what you’re going for. Taste and add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more Worcestershire sauce to your taste. Fish out the bay leaf and the lemon halves and discard them. Stir in the andouille sausage if using. To serve, place a scoop of rice (or baked sweet potatoes) into a bowl, pour soup over the top, and add about a teaspoon of olive oil on the top. Sprinkle with scallions. Add hot sauce as desired.

Oy! It’s the flu. My darling husband suffered through over the weekend and this week it’s my turn. Now that I’m working on eating again, I’m ready to get a few more vitamins in me. While perusing Pinterest in bed, I stumbled across this kicked up ramen recipe and knew it was just the thing for me today. Thankfully, we had a moderate range of veggies on hand already and very little effort was involved to make this veggie-packed meal.

ramen upgrade

Ramen Upgrade (for one)
adapted from martha stewart

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 medium yellow onion, diced medium
1 small carrot, diced medium
1 small stalk celery, diced medium
3/4 cup chopped kale
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1 package (3 ounces) ramen, broken into quarters (seasoning packet discarded)

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Season with pepper. Add broth, bring to a boil. Add ramen and kale, reduce heat, and simmer until noodles are tender and the kale is just wilted, 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve hot.