Viewing entries in
dinners

Pasta with ZERO guilt

Comment

Pasta with ZERO guilt

avocado-zuccasta-words.jpg

There is a laundry list of reasons why pasta is not on my dinner plate these days (low nutrient value, contains gluten, inflammatory, high glycemic load, etc). I follow an anti inflammatory diet plan so for me pasta just doesn’t work well for my body. If I eat gluten I immediately feel my joints swell and ache so its just not worth it. I had written off pasta a long time ago until this happened…

I made a vegan creamy sauce from avocados, basil, garlic, olive oil, and lemon and tossed it with zucchini noodles aka zuccasta! Crazy right??? This sauce is so creamy and satisfying you wont even notice that its made from veggies and totally vegan! I pair this with a nice side salad with some of the extra sauce mixed with coconut aminos as a dressing, top it with pumpkin seeds and sliced strawberry and BLAMO, low inflammatory, vegan, deliciousness in under 30 minutes.

How do you make zuccasta you ask? Well, you will need some special equipment to make this but trust me this will be the best $35 you have ever spent (well at least for a kitchen utensil). I use the paderno slicer because its way better than any of the other brands out there, trust me on this one.

Lemon Basil Avocado Zuccasta

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, pit removed cut into small pieces
  • 15 basil leaves chopped into ribbons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic clove finely minced
  • 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5-10 turns of black pepper or to taste
  • 2-4 Zucchinis (see notes)

Optional

  1. 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved for garnic
  2. lemon zest for garnish

Equipment

  1. Veggie Spiralizer

Instructions

  1. In a blender add the avocado, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, basil, and blend until smooth adding more olive oil to thin if needed.
  2. The sauce should be very thick like a pudding and not move if you hold the blender upside down.
  3. Spiralize the zucchini into pasta noodles (I like the paderno brand slicer) set aside.
  4. In a medium saute pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat until it just starts to shimmer.
  5. Add the zucchini in one layer into the pan and allow it to brown. Do don't move the "zuccasta"
  6. Once the zucchini has gained color turn it over and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
  7. Add a few heaping spoonfuls of the avocado sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. You can add more sauce to the amount of your liking.
  8. Allow the sauce and pasta to cook together until the sauce starts to lose a little bit of its green color and has heated throughout.
  9. Transfer to plates and garnish with tomatoes and lemon zest.

Notes

  1. You may have leftover sauce. I like to keep mine covered in the refrigerator for the next time I make this dish. I like to make it fresh every time rather than have it as leftovers but thats a personal preference.
  2. Use 1-2 zucchini per person for a full dinner portion.

Comment

Time to slim down for Spring!

Comment

Time to slim down for Spring!

roasted radishes

I just had a startling realization….

It’s the last week of February, which means it’s almost March, and March is almost Spring, and Spring is close to Summer, which is bathing suit season and you know what that means don’t you?!?!?!??!?

It means its time to stop eating all those starchy caloric dense foods and start slimming down for the warmer weather. Eeeek!

So what should you be eating you ask? Well its a good time to start filling your plate with low starch veggies on big piles of fresh salad paired with healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and oily omega 3 filled fish. 

Here is one that you probably haven’t tried before, roasted radishes!

I love radishes because they are very light, have a low starch content, and are great for cleansing because they are a natural diuretic. I prefer to mix raw radishes and cooked to gain a variety of flavor in salads or paired as a side with proteins. All you have to do is place the radishes in a pouch of either parchment or aluminum foil add some ghee or olive oil roast for 15 minutes then open it up and broil for 5-8 minutes to get some nice color and depth of flavor. Voila! Keep in mind that you can use this method for almost any other low starch veggie for cooking like turnips, zuchini, asparagus, etc. 

I also suggest to jumpstart your weight loss efforts by drinking a liter of this detox water daily to help fight bloat and curb your appetite:

Roasted Radishes

Serves 2

Gluten Free - Paleo - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Low Carb - Vegan Friendly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb radishes (washed and cut in half)
  • 2 tsp Grass Fed Ghee or Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 425F
  2. You will need a piece of aluminum foil that is double the size of the amount of radishes because you will be folding it over on itself to form a pouch.
  3. Place the radishes off to one side of the foil and drizzle with oil or place the ghee in the center of the radishes.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold the foil over on itself and crimp the edge tightly shut so the radishes can steam inside.
  6. Place the pouch on a sheet pan for easy removal.
  7. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the pouch from the oven and using heat proof oven mits carefully open the pouch to expose the radishes.
  9. Crank the oven up to a broil.
  10. Toss the radishes with a spoon.
  11. Place the radishes back in the oven on the top shelf and broil for 5-8 minutes or until they start to gain some color.
  12. Remove from oven allow to cool, sprinkle with a touch more of salt if desired and enjoy!
  13. See notes for garnishes.

Optional garnishes

  1. Chopped chives
  2. Julienned mint
  3. Drizzle with favorite salad dressing while still warm to absorb the flavor.
  4. Serve with sliced avocados on top of a salad for a healthy snack!

Comment

Paleo Shepherd's Pie

1 Comment

Paleo Shepherd's Pie

shepherds pie inside

Its snowing…again. I am freezing and in need of some serious comfort food to ease these winter blues. Good thing I had this prepped in my fridge and could just pop it in the oven because I am not moving from my couch today. Make this for dinner tonight. Eat it wearing your favorite pajamas. Then go sleep off your beefy sweet potato slumber until winter is over.  


Paleo Shepherd's Pie

Serves 6 - 8

Paleo - Grain Free - Gluten Free - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Bison or Grass Fed Beef or Lamb (or a combo of your choosing)
  • 1 Large Onion, finely diced
  • 2 Large Carrots, finely diced
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks, finely diced
  • 1 lb Mushrooms finely diced (white or crimini)
  • 2 Tbl Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Low Sodium Beef/Chicken/or Veggie Broth
  • 2 Tbl Ghee or fat of choice
  • 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Frozen Peas

Topping

  1. 2 Large Sweet Potatoes peeled and roughly chopped into 1" chunks
  2. 4 Carrots peeled and roughly chopped into 1" chunks
  3. 1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken or Veggie Broth
  4. 1 Tbl Olive Oil or Ghee

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. In a large high sided pot add the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, 1 cup of broth and place over high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil place a cover on top and reduce to medium heat.
  4. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the flesh of the vegetables are easily pierced with a knife.
  5. Drain the vegetables reserving the excess liquid.
  6. Add the ghee and mash or puree in a blender adding some of the cooking liquid to loosen it up.
  7. You can add as much liquid as you prefer to achieve the texture you desire.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. In a large heavy bottomed saute pan place it over medium high heat and add the 2 Tbl ghee/fat of choice.
  10. When the oil/ghee starts to shimmer add the onions, celery, carrots, salt and pepper.
  11. Sautee for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until the vegetables start to soften.
  12. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  13. Add the tomato paste and stir it into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute to cook some of the raw tomato flavor out. (Its ok if it looks like there is burnt stuff on the bottom of the pan. That is flavor and will get scraped up and incorporated into the sauce later)
  14. Add the beef/bison and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon.
  15. Sprinkle the garlic powder and cinnamon over the meat and stir well.
  16. Cook until it starts to get some color and stir occasionally to cook it through.
  17. When the beef is pretty well cooked deglaze with the broth and add the balsamic vinegar.
  18. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  19. When the mixture is thick taste for seasoning.
  20. Add more salt according to your taste.
  21. The frozen peas can be steamed for a few minutes or placed in a small pan and covered with a small amount of broth and brought to a soft simmer then drained.
  22. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  23. Pour the meat mixture into a large 6-8 quart casserole dish.
  24. Cover with the drained peas.
  25. Top with the sweet potato/carrot mash and smooth out to cover the top entirely.
  26. *At this point you can wrap it up and store in the fridge and save for another night to reheat in oven
  27. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bubbling

1 Comment

1 Comment

Dinner in a Flash! Healthy Thai Turkey Hot Pot

Thai turkey

I have realized something over the last year or so of fumbling my way through running this blog…I tend to over complicate healthy food when all I (and my friends and family) really want is easy, delicious food that isn’t going to make us fat. So my new years resolution is to bring you the simple food that I eat everyday that will keep you lean, mean, and in control of your kitchen. 

I just made this Thai inspired turkey hot-pot and it’s just the thing my cold body needs on this rainy day. This is one of a series of clean dinners that will keep your new years resolutions on track because Lord knows I drank and ate a wee bit too much this holiday season.

Whoops.

Sorry, I’m not sorry :)

Thai Turkey Hot Pot

Serves 4

Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Low Carb - Dairy Free 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Ground Turkey (Organic Free Range preferred I used 1/2 white 1/2 dark meat)
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Coconut oil (unrefined)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder (you can add more if you like more heat)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1Tbl Braggs Aminos (or sea salt if you are avoiding soy)
  • 1 head of bok choy
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (measure after chopping)
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. In a large flat bottomed high side pot pan heat the coconut oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer
  2. Add the onions and ginger; stir to coat in oil and saute until they start to soften (about 3-5 minutes)
  3. Add the garlic and chili powder and stir to combine
  4. Add the turkey meat and break up with a spoon
  5. Allow the turkey to brown and stir to brown evenly
  6. Turn the heat down to medium and cover for 3-5 minutes
  7. Stir the turkey and cover for another 3 minutes
  8. Chop the bok choy into 1/2'' pieces and add to the pot
  9. Add the coconut milk and stir everything to combine
  10. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a high simmer
  11. Cook until the turkey is cooked through about 10-15 minutes
  12. Add the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro at the very end
  13. Taste for seasoning add more heat and braggs to your liking

1 Comment

Comment

Low Carb/High Protein - Nicoise Salads on Portabello Caps

Nicoise Portobello

I am still on a mission to give you delicious, healthy recipes as we become more and more tempted by this Holiday seasons mind field of indulgent eats. Frosted snowman, gingerbread houses, and orange chocolates that you break up against the wall…..AHHHHH I shake my fist at you delicious sugary treats of Christmas. 

Treating yourself is fine but lets stay focused on healthy eating in between cookie binges. Here is a super flavorful high protein low carb dish that I just had for lunch…and let me say its crazy good!

Basically I deconstructed a Nicoise salad and placed the ingredients on top of a baked Portobello mushroom cap. Mmmm. Oh and I also wrote a recipe for my Olive Oil mayonnaise that I make in big batches every week. I use pasture raised egg yolks and organic cold expeller pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 

A little note that olive oil mayonnaise is going to taste a bit different than your regular storebought mayo, it will tatse more like well olive oil! Why olive oil and not a light flavored vegetable oil? I am always combatting inflammation and I like to keep hydrogenated, processed, refined vegetable oils aways from my everyday food. Industrialized  refined oils are the cause of many of Americas health issues (especially silent inflammation which makes weight loss close to impossible). Is it a coincidence that obesity, diabetes, and heart disease numbers in this country are at an all time high while the consumption of vegetable based oils are also at an all time high? I think not. 100 years ago we did not consume this amount of omega 6 filled vegetable oils. We ate real food like lard, eggs, and butter which contain naturally occurring Omega 3 fats, fat soluble vitamins like D, K, & A, and CLA. 

The optimal ratio would be 4:1 or 2:1 (Omega 3:Omega 6). While olive oil doesn’t contain any omega 3’s a cold pressed olive oil has great monounsaturated fats, phenols and vitamin E  preserved when they are not introduced to heat. (monounsaturated fats may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.) This type of olive oil is best when used in cold preparations. I use grass-fed ghee or coconut oil for high heat cooking NOT my beautiful cold pressed olive oil. 

It may take a bit of getting used to flavor wise when cooking with traditional fats like ghee, grass-fed lard, and olive oil mayo but this is REAL food and REAL food will keep you healthy, energized, lean and mean! If you are concerned about your Omega 3 ratio balance I would encourage you to supplement with Cod liver oil or a high quality fish oil like this one. 

Nicoise Salads on Portabello Caps

Yields 4

Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Low Carb - Soy Free - Dairy Free

Base

  • 4 Large Portobello Caps
  • 1 Tbl Olive Oil/Ghee
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme (optional)

Tapenade Spread

  • 1 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 1 Tbl Drained Capers
  • 1 tsp Anchovy Paste or 2 Anchovy Fillets
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbl Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbl Chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove Finely Minced

Tuna

  • 2 Cans High Quality Tuna Drained (Recommended Brand: Wild Planet Line Caught Albacore)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonaise (homemade recipe here)
  • 1 Tbl Dijon or Grain Mustard
  • 1 Tbl Lemon Juice

Toppings

  1. 6 String Beans, Steamed and Each Cut into Four 1-inch Pieces
  2. 1 Large Tomato Cut into 4 1/2'' slices
  3. Chopped Parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel or kitchen towel to remove any dirt. Gently scrape out the scales inside of the cap using a spoon.
  3. Lay the caps on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and thyme leaves.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and softened.

Tapenade

  1. In the bowl of a food processor blend the olives, capers, anchovies, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, parsley, and garlic until it is a somewhat smooth spread. I leave mine with a little texture.
  2. Set aside.

Tuna

  1. Drain the tuna and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the tuna, mustards, and lemon juice.
  3. Pour the mayo/mustard mixture over the tuna and mix well.

Assembly

  1. Place the cooled portabello caps onto a serving plate and spread 1 heaping tablespoon of the tapenade onto the mushroom cap.
  2. Place one slice of the tomato on top of the tapenade.
  3. Divide the tuna into four portions and mound the tuna on top of the tomato pressing it into the tomato so it doesn't fall over.
  4. Spoon a little more tapenade on top of the tune and place 4 pieces of the steamed string beans on top.
  5. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Notes

  1. The tuna, string beans, and tapenade can all be made ahead of time and can be assembled right before serving.

Adapted from  From Giada DeLaurentis Nicoise Salad Pizzettes

Comment

2 Comments

Low Carb High Flavor Dinner - Cauliflower Steaks with Fennel & Fig Caponata

photo

As much fun as it is to go crazy this time of year, eat ourselves into a coma wearing some elastic waisted pants and do shots of whip cream watching Elf strewn across the couch…lets not get so carried away this year. Ok? 

Don’t get me wrong, I think its important to splurge and enjoy the holidays but I also think it can be done within reason. My suggestion? Workout, keep up with your water and sleep, and eat nourishing healthy food when you aren’t out at holiday parties. Keep the carbs towards the beginning of your day, fill half of your plate with low starch vegetables, and drink a big glass of water before your meals. Easy right?

To give you a little help here is one of my go to quick dinners when I am craving comfort food on a snowy winter night. Roasted cauliflower steaks smothered in a sweet and salty fennel and fig caponata topped with a runny poached egg.

Mmmmmm a low carb, paleo, nourishing dinner under 30 minutes. 

Cauliflower Steaks with Fig & Fennel Caponata 

Yields 4

Roasted cauliflower steaks topped with caponata and a poached egg

Vegetarian- Low Carb - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Dairy Free

Cauliflower Steaks

  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 2 Tbl Ghee or Coconut Oil or Oil of choice
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Caponata

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) red onion
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) fennel (1 large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup good sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 8 dried Calmyrna figs, stems removed and 1/4-inch-diced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, such as Cerignola
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Poached Eggs

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Tbl Mild Flavored Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. Slice the Cauliflower across the top, with the stem still in tact, into 4 large steaks about 1/2'' thick. (You may have some smaller pieces that don't form steaks. You can toss these in ghee/oil and roast for snacks)
  3. Line a sheet pan with foil and toss the cauliflower in melted ghee or oil of choice.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes in the middle rack.
  5. Flip the steaks carefully with a spatula.
  6. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven and keep covered with foil to stay warm.

Caponata

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch saute pan.
  2. Add the onions and fennel and saute for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
  4. Stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, figs, and coconut sugar, stirring to coat everything with the tomatoes.
  5. Stir in the capers, olives, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until thickened.
  7. Stir in the orange juice and parsley.
  8. Taste for seasonings; the caponata should be very highly seasoned but add salt to your palette.

Eggs

  1. Use a nonstick skillet and bring about 2 inches of water to a boil.
  2. Add vinegar to the water
  3. Crack the eggs seperately into small bowls. This way the eggs will keep their shape and you'll be able to cook them all at the same time.
  4. Slip the eggs into the water one at a time. Work your way around the pan clockwise, so you know which eggs are done first. Tip: Fresher eggs cook faster and have firmer whites.
  5. Cover the pan and turn off the heat.
  6. Wait four minutes.
  7. Carefully scoop them out of the pan, drain them on paper towels.

Assembly

  1. Lay one piece of the cauliflower onto a plate and cover generously with the caponata.
  2. Place one egg on top of the caponata and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt if desired.

Notes

  • While the cauliflower is roasting start making the caponata so it will be ready when the cauliflower comes out of the oven.

Adapted from  Caponata from Barefoot Contessa

2 Comments

Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Comment

Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Salmon cooked

Sometimes with gluten free or grain free recipes there is a palette adjustment or texture adjustment that one has to make mentally before eating a certain remake of a favorite food (ex cupcakes, or muffins). But when it comes to this Salmon, no adjustments are neccesary. I dare you to make this for any of your foodie friends and I promise the only thing you’ll be explaining is the recipe, not that its “paleo” or “gluten free”. 

Start out with a beautiful wild caught one side center cut fillet of Salmon with the skin on and pin bones removed. I like center cut because the thickness is more uniform which will help for even cooking.  This recipe is for a 1 lb piece so feel free to adjust the recipe for the size of your fish. I like the skin on because it holds in more moisture but make sure that before serving you peel off the skin because it won’t be crispy. 

Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting. 

In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. 

Add the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, and zest the lemon into the spices. Toss with your fingers.

Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking. 

Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.

Allow the salmon to sit out for 45 minutes and “cure”. 

After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.
After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler. 

After the 45 minutes place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Cooked Salmon
Cooked Salmon

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!
This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!

Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Skin on Center Cut one Side Piece of Wild Salmon (pin bones removed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Sugar 
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Optional

  • 1 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/2 tsp dried *
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/4 tsp dried *

Instructions

  1. Combine the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, zest of the lemon (and additional spices if using) in a bowl. Toss with your fingers.
  2. Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible.
  3. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.
  5. Allow the salmon to sit out for 30-45 minutes and "cure".
  6. You know its ready when the spices have absorbed into the salmon and it has a sheen to it.
  7. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler.
  8. After the curing, place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  9. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. For whole spices: Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting.
  2. In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. Add to spice/lemon zest/sugar mixture and proceed with recipe.

Comment