Friday, December 30, 2011

Primal Chili

When my mom used to make chili when I was young, I would pick out all of the meat and only eat the beans. Time has thrown those beans in the trash where they belong.

*Serves 2*

1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 Yellow onion
1 Can diced tomatoes
1 cup Fiesta blend shredded cheese (*Once again, I eat dairy. This ingredient is optional.)
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Chili powder
1/2 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter. Chop the onions and add to the pot, stirring until clear. Add in the ground beef and continue to stir, breaking the beef into small pieces. Add all spices, then the can of chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer for about three minutes, then stir in half of the cheese. Spoon into bowls. Top each bowl with the remaining cheese.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Broiled Feta Shrimp with Greek Salad

I know that my photos aren't always the most appetizing things in the world, but trust me on this one: these pictures will have your mouth watering once you've tasted the recipes.

Ingredients (salad):
1 Cucumber (peeled)
1 Can black olives
1 Red, orange or yellow bell pepper (or a little of each for color)
1 Vine-ripened tomato
1/2 Yellow or red onion
1/2 cup Crumbled feta cheese

Chop cucumber, onion, tomato and peppers into small chunks. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator to serve alongside Broiled Feta Shrimp (recipe below). *This salad is best after sitting in the fridge and allowing the flavors to blend. Be sure to prepare it a few hours before the main dish, or even the day prior if possible.

Ingredients (shrimp):
20 Large shrimp (*Buy them raw and peel/de-vein them yourself; it's worth it!)
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
4 Vine-ripened tomatoes
1 Vidalia onion
1/3 cup Dry white wine
1/2 cup Crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp Light olive oil
1 Tbsp Minced roasted garlic
Coarse salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel/de-vein the shrimp, toss with lemon juice and set aside. In a large saucepan, lightly heat the olive oil. Chop the onion and tomatoes. Add the onions to the pan first, and when they become clear, add the tomatoes. Allow to simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat to a boil and add the wine, allowing about thirty seconds for the alcohol to cook off before reducing the heat to medium. Add salt and garlic, continuing to stir. Put the shrimp into a glass baking dish (or oven-safe bowls). Remove the sauce from the heat and pour on top of the shrimp. Top with crumbled feta cheese. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then broil for 1-2 minutes until the feta begins to brown. (This happens very quickly, so you will need to watch it closely. Feta won't really'll just burn.) Serve with chilled Greek salad.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Apple Baked Chicken

I love this one because I can prep it in the morning, my husband can pop it in the oven when he gets home, and it's done by the time I get home. It also makes the whole house smell fantastic.

*Serves 2-4*

1 Whole chicken
1 cup Chicken broth (*Look for a box with no sugar added and low sodium.)
1 Large gala apple
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
1 Tbsp Dried rosemary
Garlic Powder
Coarse salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place whole chicken in a square glass baking dish (be sure to remove giblets first). Cut the apple into small slices, saving six for later, and arrange them in the baking dish all around the chicken. Put the apple core and any larger slices that don't fit into the baking dish into the chicken cavity. Cut three deep slices into each side of the chicken breast. Insert an apple slice into each. Cut one Tbsp of the butter into small slices and put under the skin all over the chicken. Soften the other Tbsp of butter in the microwave, then spread it on the outside of the chicken. Lightly pour the chicken broth on top of the chicken, allowing it to run off into the baking dish to partially submerge the apple slices. Cover the chicken with the coarse salt, garlic powder and rosemary. Bake for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours (until chicken is well browned and crispy).

After the chicken has cooled and been served, remove any leftover meat from the carcass (especially the dark meat) and set aside in a storage container for use in a future recipe...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

When my husband and I do breakfast for dinner, this is our staple carbohydrate. They're easy, fast and a great companion to eggs and bacon.

*Serves 2*

1 Large sweet potato
3 Tbsp Organic coconut oil
Coarse salt to taste

Peel the sweet potato, discarding the skin (this is very easily done with an apple peeler). Slice into thin circles, then slice those circles into sticks. In a large saucepan or pot, melt the coconut oil and add sweet potato. Turn the temperature to medium high. Stir the sweet potatoes so that they are all covered by the coconut oil. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then stir. Repeat until sweet potatoes are lightly browned and crispy. Add salt to taste. Serve with eggs and sugar/nitrate-free bacon or sausage.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Almond Flour Meatballs

Meatballs sound simple; they're just balls of meat, right? Unfortunately, most of them are jam packed with random, boring fillers to help them keep their shape. Try these instead!

*Serves 2 to 4*

1 lb Lean ground beef
1 Egg
1/4 cup Almond Flour
1/4 Yellow onion
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
Dash of paprika
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Light olive oil
1 cup Tomato sauce (*I use Earth Fare brand organic garlic tomato sauce.)
4 Slices Provolone cheese
1/2 Ball Fresh mozzarella

Place the ground beef into a mixing bowl. Crack the egg into the bowl, then add almond flour, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and paprika. With a flat cheese grater, grate the onion on top of the mixture so that it looks a little like applesauce and doesn't leave any large pieces. Mix with your hands (you can try to use a spoon, but it doesn't work too well, and you have to use your hands to form the meatballs anyway). Once fully mixed, form into 1.5 to 2 inch balls and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on low to medium heat. At the same time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the meatballs to the pan and allow to brown on one side (approximately three minutes) before attempting to flip. Once browned on all sides, transfer the meatballs from the pan into a square glass baking dish (be sure to include all pan drippings; these are essential to the flavor of the sauce). Pour the tomato sauce evenly over the meatballs. Place the provolone slices on to of the meatballs and sauce, then break the mozzarella ball into pieces and add on top of the provolone. Bake for twenty minutes. These are extremely filling all by themselves, so side dishes are not recommended.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Balsamic Chicken with Avocado Salad

This is one of my personal favorites. It's quick and easy, and it tastes like something you spent a long time on. For those of you who don't like vinegar normally, give this a try; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

*Serves 2*

Ingredients (chicken):
2 Thinly sliced chicken breasts
1/4 Head green cabbage
1/2 Yellow onion
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
Garlic powder
Coarse salt and pepper

Chop cabbage and yellow onion and saute in a large pan with 1 Tbsp butter until onions become clear. Tenderize the chicken breasts and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Move the onions and cabbage to the edges of the pan, place the remaining Tbsp of butter in the center and add the chicken breasts. Keep on medium heat until cooked through (approximately three minutes for a thin chicken breast). Pour balsamic vinegar into the pan all over the chicken and cabbage, and turn the heat to high for thirty seconds. Lower the heat to a simmer, flip the chicken and stir the cabbage. Serve with avocado salad (recipe below).

1 Avocado
1 Large vine-ripened tomato
1/2 Fresh mozzarella ball
1/2 tsp Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt to taste

Peel the avocado and discard the pit. Chop into small cubes and set aside in a mixing bowl. Chop tomato and mozzarella into similar sized cubes and mix with avocado. Drizzle olive oil into the bowl while stirring mixture. Add coarse salt to taste.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shrimp Scampi with Roasted Vegetables

On a night when you're not absolutely starving, this meal is perfect. If you need to fill yourself with calories, then I wouldn't recommend it. (Although I would rarely recommend doing that anyway...)

*Serves 2*

Ingredients (vegetables):
Small assorted sweet peppers
Any other desired vegetables
Light olive oil
Garlic powder
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange vegetables on an oven-safe tray and coat with a small amount of light olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender and slightly crispy. Begin cooking shrimp about ten minutes after the vegetables.

Ingredients (shrimp):
1/2 lb Large shrimp (*They're ALWAYS better if you peel and de-vein them yourself, but you could always be lazy and buy the pre-prepared kind.)
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
2 Tbsp Minced garlic (preferably roasted)
1 Shallot (*Onion will work too, but shallots will turn out better.)
1/8 cup Lemon juice
1/2 cup Dry white wine
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, melt the butter. Finely chop the shallot and add to the pan. When the shallots begin to turn clear, add the shrimp. After the shrimp turn orange, add lemon juice and salt and pepper, followed by the roasted garlic. Stir for about twenty seconds. Turn up the heat and add the wine, boiling off alcohol for approximately thirty seconds. Reduce heat to a simmer. Serve with vegetables.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bacon Guacamole

How do you make something that's completely delicious even more delicious?

Add bacon.

*Serves 1-2*

2 Avocados
1 Small vine-ripened tomato
1/4 cup Chopped yellow onion (a little less if your avocados are small)
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Coarse salt
3 Strips bacon

In a pan (or on a panini press as mentioned in previous recipes), cook the bacon. Meanwhile, peel and pit the avocados, then mash them in a bowl (easily done with a fork if the avocado is ripe enough). Cut the tomato in half and remove the seeds. Chop the remainder of the tomato and add to the bowl with the avocados. Mix in the lemon juice, garlic powder and salt. When the bacon is crisp, break it into small pieces and stir into the guacamole.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crock Pot Beef

I used to associate crock pots with old ladies and overcooked meat. Now I associate them with heaven.

*Serves 4-8 (or 2 for several days, in our case)*

1 Eye of round roast (approximately 2.5 lbs)
1 Tbsp Unsalted butter
1 Large sweet potato (peeled)
1 Yellow onion
2 Carrots
1 Can unsalted green beans
Garlic Powder
Coarse salt and pepper

Chop all vegetables aside from green beans into large pieces and layer them in the bottom of the crock pot. In a medium pan, melt the butter and briefly brown all sides of the roast. Place the browned roast on top of the vegetables in the crock pot. (Some recipes would call for you to trim the fat off of the roast first; we don't do that here. The fat melts in your mouth like butter when this is all said and done, and I wouldn't have it any other way.) Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Seal the lid and walk away for eight hours. Come home to a delicacy that should pull apart with the touch of a fork. It really is that easy.