Easter Dinner – Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

I wanted to do something a little bit Eastery for Easter this year but I decided this at 6:00 pm on Easter so I obviously had to do something easy.  This is what I came up with.  I found this recipe at allrecipes.com.  It turned out really good!  The balsamic reduction is delectable!

IMG_17263/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

8 lamb chops (3/4 inch thick)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup minced shallots

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon raw butter

IMG_1728In a small bowl mix together the rosemary, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.  Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides.  Place them on a plate, cover and set aside for 15-30 minutes to absorb  the flavors.

Heat coconut oil on a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place lamb chops in the skillet and cook for about 3 1/2 minutes per side.  Remove from skillet and keep warm on a serving platter.

Add shallots to the skillet and cook for a few minutes, just until browned.  Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth.  Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter.  Pour over the lamb chops and serve.

IMG_1729I highly recommend this one. It’s soooo good!  Just make sure to get enough chops cause they are small!  If you want to make this Paleo just skip the butter at the end and add coconut oil instead.  Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Tuesday – Paleo Chicken Fajitas

So I’m thinking of going paleo.  I haven’t decided yet, I’m reading a book about it.  Once I’m done reading it (which will probably be next year with my schedule) I’ll make a decision.  But in the mean time I’ve been trying more paleo recipes and trying to cut grain, legumes, and dairy from my diet.  I did another slow cooker Sunday because I went to a zumbathon that lasted until late and I wanted dinner to be ready when I got home.  These were a success.  Very yummy!

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2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 large onions, sliced and popped into rings

4 bell peppers, sliced into rings

3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons cumin

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chili powder

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Turn your slow cooker up to high to get it warmed up.  Place the coconut oil in the bottom to melt.  Put the onion and pepper rings on the bottom.  Place the chicken breast pieces in next.  Pour in chicken broth and lime juice.  Mix cumin, salt, and chili powder together in a small bowl.  Sprinkle seasonings over the chicken.  Place the lid on the cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.  When finished pull the chicken apart with tongs and a fork.  Serve on large romaine lettuce leaves with a scoop of paleo guacamole or your favorite fajita toppings.

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Thank you to my Paleolithic Slow Cooker cookbook for this recipe.  It turned out well.  I will try to repost my  paleo guac recipe.  It’s on the old tumblr blog.  Happy cooking!

St. Patrick’s Day Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

It was recently St. Patrick’s Day and I had never made corned beef and cabbage. I had an event to go to during the day so I had the bright idea to do slow-cooker corned beef and cabbage.  Martha Stewart had a recipe that looked fairly simple so I tried it out!

IMG_17162 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces

3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces

1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges (root end left intact)

1/2 pound small potatoes, halved if large

6 sprigs of thyme

1 corned beef brisket (about 3 pounds) plus liquid or spice packet that comes with or 1 tablespoon pickling spices

1/2 head of savoy cabbage, cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges

Grainy mustard, for serving

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In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, place celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, and thyme.   Place corned beef, fat side up, on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with picking spice or liquid; add enough water to almost cover the meat (4 to 6 cups).  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours until beef is tender.  Arrange cabbage over corned beef, cover and cook on high until cabbage is tender, about 45 minutes.  Thinly slice corned beef against the grain and serve with the vegetables, cooking liquid, and grainy mustard.

IMG_1719And there’s your easy corned beef and cabbage!  I forgot to serve mine with mustard but when I go home tonight and eat it again I will certainly add that in!  The meat is very salty so I’m sure the mustard will help cut that.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day and happy cooking!

 

 

Slow Cooker Wednesday – Pot Roast with Turnips

This week I made a HUGE pot roast.  I’m going to be eating it for days!  It turned out okay.  I think I made a mistake when I prepped it the night before and put the vinegar in.  I think sitting in vinegar all night made the taste a little strong. Next time I would put the vinegar in right before turning the cooker on for the day.  But it was still good!

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2 tablespoons coconut oil

5 pound bottom round and chuck roast

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, diced

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

4 medium carrots, sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

4 turnips, chopped into cubes

1 cup beef broth

1 cup red wine vinegar

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Turn your slow cooker on high while you begin to prepare the dish.  In a large skillet, heat up coconut oil.  Once hot, place the roast into the pan and sear it on all sides (about 2 minutes each side).  Transfer the roast to the slow cooker.  Place all the remaining ingredients into the cooker and place the lid on it.  Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.

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The meat is so tender on this and the veggies melt in your mouth! Note that I didn’t peel my veggies.  I believe that a lot of minerals and nutrients reside in the skin so I leave it on.  Just make sure to really scrub it clean!  Another super easy week day meal and it’s Paleo!  Happy cooking!

Remember those leeks? – Chicken with Creamy Braised Leeks

A week or so ago I posted on my Facebook page that I had 5 leeks I was looking to do something with. Most people said to put them in soup but being the adventurer that I am I chose to try something different.  I put on in stir fry, but I found this recipe which suggested I use mashed potatoes for the leftover sauce.  I make a mashed cauliflower that is one of Rob’s favorite things and as luck would have it he’d just recently requested it so I had discovered the perfect meal option!  Mashed cauliflower is a great option for Paleo peeps who love mashed potatoes but can’t eat them on Paleo.

IMG_1662MASHED CAULIFLOWER

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup chicken broth

Steam the cauliflower in a steaming basket until very tender.  I put it on when I started prepping the chicken and once the chicken was done I took the cauliflower off the burner.  Once done steaming, put the cauliflower in a medium size bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until there are no more large chunks.  Add chicken broth and mix well.  This does not have the same consistency as mashed potatoes so there will be some chunkiness to it.

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CHICKEN AND LEEKS

4 medium leeks

2 cups chicken broth

3 garlic cloves, halved

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup canned coconut milk (you can use heavy cream as well)

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Trim roots and dark tops from leeks, leaving 5 to 6 inches of white and light green parts.  Cut the leeks in half lengthwise; rinse well.  Place the leeks in a single layer in a 9-b-13-inch baking dish, on their sides if necessary, nestling them together.  Pour in broth, submerge the garlic and thyme in the broth between the leeks.  Bake for 40  minutes.

IMG_1667After about 30 minutes, sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Remove from heat.  After 40 minutes remove the leeks from the oven and nestle the chicken into them.  You may need to add more broth at this point.  Add coconut milk and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the hot skillet (do not turn the burner back on).  Stir up any browned bits and let the coconut milk heat up from the warmth of the pan.  Pour the cream mixture over the leeks and chicken.  Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve chicken with the braised leeks and mashed cauliflower, spooning sauce over everything.

IMG_1668This was super yummy and very filling.  The  leeks are so tender!  Happy cooking!

 

 

A New Take On Fish – Steamed Bass with Fennel, Parsley, and Capers

I usually serve my fish with some sort of vegetable on the side but this time I put the fish over it!  This recipe is from the Hungry for Change cookbook.  It’s uber healthy and while it’s a little bland, a little added salt perked it right up!

IMG_16541/4 medium while onion, sliced

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 5-oz portions of sea bass

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cooked brown rice

IMG_1656Put the onion, fennel, and lemon juice in a medium sauce pot and cover with one inch of water.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.  Place the 2 portions of fish into the pot.  Season with salt and sprinkle with parsley and capers.  Cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until the fish is almost flaky.

Divide the brown rice between two bowls and place the vegetables over the rice.  Top each serving with the fish.

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Voila! This is so easy to make and so healthy! Happy cooking!

 

 

Putting leftovers to good use – Spaghetti with crab and chili oil

After the gumbo, I had a half a pound of crab to make use of.  Some said make crab au gratin but I cant eat dairy.  Other suggestions included stuffed mushrooms or fish fillets, both of which I didn’t already have and a trip to the grocery store was not in my near future.  So I settled on pasta!  I haven’t made any type of pasta in ages because I cut most wheat out of my diet over a year ago.  But I found some whole wheat spaghetti noodles in my pantry along with chili oil and a pepper left over from the fish cakes I made and I set to work.  Thank you to my friend Shelly for the lemons from the tree in her yard!

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8 oz dried whole wheat spaghetti

1 tbsp chili oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red chili, finely chopped

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

8 oz white crab meat

juice of 1 lemon

2-3 tbsp olive oil

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Place the spaghetti into a pan of boiling, salted water.  Cook until tender

Heat the chili oil in a small pan, add the garlic, chili, parsley and crab meat and cook gently for a couple of
minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil.  Drain the pasta and stir through the chili crab sauce.  Serve immediately.

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So easy and so yummy!  Happy cooking!

The Main Event – Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

This is the final post in my Valentine’s Day series.  I’ve only ever roasted a whole chicken one other time.  Mainly because I don’t have a good carving knife but also because a whole chicken is a lot of meat for one person! But with Rob to help consume I figured why not do it? It’s a special occasion right?  So here we go!

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1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus two whole lemons

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary springs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs)

IMG_1634Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.  Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash it inside and out with cold water, then let it drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Place it breast side down in a medium roasting pan fitted with a rack and pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out.  Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.

Prick 2 whole lemons three times each in three different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity.  Really stick the fork in.  I didn’t push it in far enough and there were barely any drippings for the sauce.  Chicken cavity sizes may vary, so  if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s okay.

Put the chicken in the oven lower the temperature to 350 degrees, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven.  Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast side up.  Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh, and return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork.  Continue roasting if necessary.  Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary, roasting a chicken at 350 degrees take about 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.  Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken.  Garnish with fresh herbs.

IMG_1640I’ll be honest, this chicken was really good but I think it could have been better.  I don’t think I cooked it long enough.  While it was really tender and tasty, there was no juice from the lemons inside to pour over the chicken.  I’m planning on trying this again to see if I can get it to come out right.  I really love lemon sauce so I was disappointed that there wasn’t any.  The little bit of drippings that I did get were really good so I know it would be a stellar dish!  Ladies, be careful who you serve this dish to.  It should be someone you love!  If you want to know why, send me a message on the Facebook page and I’ll tell you!  Let me know how yours turns out.  Happy cooking!

Basic Side Dish- Baked New Potatoes

This is post two in the Valentine’s Day dinner meal series.  Rob loves potatoes, so I made some for him!  These are super easy and will go with pretty much any type of protein.

1 pound medium red potatoes

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Leaves from 2 fresh rosemary sprigs

IMG_1641Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large sauce pan, cover potatoes with two inches of cold water and bring to a boil.  Cook over high heat until almost tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and cut in half (careful, they’re hot!).  Spread potato halves on a large roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, a few grinds of pepper, and rosemary, and toss well to coat.

Roast for 25 minutes, until golden and completely tender.  Serve!

IMG_1642You could serve these with some sort of topping but I just kept them plain and they were still yummy.  Stay tuned for the main entree tomorrow!  Happy cooking!

 

 

Belated Mardi Gras Meal – Seafood Gumbo

I promised you all Slow Cooker Thursdays and then promptly got so busy I couldn’t find time to cook! So I give you slow cooker Tuesday! I didn’t have time to do my normal Sunday dinner this week so I filled in with this gumbo.  It’s very easy to make and turned out so good!

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2 tablespoons coconut oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium onions, chopped

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped

14 oz can of organic diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp

1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen crab meat

10 oz sliced okra

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Turn your slow cooker on high while you get your ingredients ready.

In a large frying pan, heat up the coconut oil.  Saute the garlic, onions, celery, and bell peppers until tender.  Transfer the cooked vegetables into the slow cooker.  Pour the diced tomatoes and chicken broth in the slow cooker.  Add the Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, and bay leaves.  Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn the temperature to low.  Cook on low for four hours.

Add the shrimp, crab meat, and okra to the cooker and cook for 1 more hour.  Serve.

IMG_1647Rob told me this was one of the best gumbos he had ever had, and he eats a lot of gumbo.  That made my night since he’s usually pretty honest about whether or not he likes something!  I hope yours turns out!  Happy cooking!