Tag Archives: paleo italian

Meatball Parmy Bake

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So I was looking to make a big ol’ tray of meatballs in sauce, and decided to make a sort of cheese-less meatball parmesan. The best way I knew to do this, was to use some of the macadamia ricotta ( which you can find in This Recipe ) … It was pretty darn awesome, and definitely a nice change of pace from what I normally do. It was also nice that it had that “stuff I used to eat” nostalgia factor, without being too silly. The meatballs were spiced almost like a breakfast sausage, and overall it was really simple to make.

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef ( 75% lean)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • a LOT of black pepper and sage
  • some salt, thyme, and paprika.

Preparation:

Combine ingredients and form into medium-sized meatballs.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, rotating once in the middle.

Add a large can or bottle (26 oz) strained tomato and sprinkle with oregano, thyme, basil, and add a few bay leaves.

Dollop a spoon of the macadamia nut ricotta on top of each meatball and maybe between groups of four or something.

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Return to oven and bake another 15-30 minutes. Ricotta should get to be a nice golden hue.

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Tilapia Rosso

This is just a SUPER simple red sauce preparation with Italian spices, lots of garlic, and a few shiitake mushrooms for fun. I added an egg  for a little extra protein boost. Sorry the pictures aren’t the best, it was a little sloppy on the plate, but it tasted great which is all that matters when it comes to busy middle of the week dinners!

Ingredients:

  • 5-7 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1-2 lbs Tilapia (2 large filets)
  • About 14 oz strained Tomato
  • Basil, oregano, allspice, thyme, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika
  • 4-5 shiitake mushrooms, halved

Prep:

  1. Chop up your shallots, mushrooms, and garlic.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over med or med-high heat and add the garlic and shallots, cover and stir or shake occasionally
  3. Pat the tilapia with a paper towel, and place in a Ziploc bag with the coconut flour, tumble to coat
  4. Beat an egg and dip the fish filets in
  5. Place the filets in the pan and pour in any remaining egg and cover
  6. Add the tomato, and seasoning, going nice and heavy on the basil and oregano. Stir gently.
  7. Towards the end, once the fish is mostly cooked, add the mushrooms. Cover and cook for a couple of min until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

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Saucy Chicken Thighs

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Sometime’s I go nuts in the kitchen, and conjure up crazy things, put weird things together, to create super tasty concoctions of sustenance. This is not one of those times. Don’t get me wrong, it’s insanely tasty and good, and so well liked by Mike, that I had to make it twice this week….but it’s one of the most simple dishes I’ve ever made. I’m totally OK with that. I’ve been trying to keep everything simple these last couple of weeks, working on time management and allowing myself more free time as part of an effort to work on mindfulness and stress management. Also looking at lowering my food budget, and trying to be more budget friendly. Sometime’s that means using things like canned olives, or canned sauce, or even frozen veggies once in a while. I still prefer everything in season and fresh, and all my meat pastured, grass-fed, or at least organic. But I am learning that you do what you can, and while that is optimal, and I do it when possible, using some Trader Joe’s frozen peppers and onions mix once to throw some veggies in a stir fry or omelette, is fine when that’s what you have! I digress, This is a super easy dish, and if you do happen to throw some peppers in, it probably would be very similar to chicken cacciatore. I like to serve it over cauliflower rice or some form of vegetable noodles (like spaghetti squash)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or duck fat for sauteing
  • 2 lb chicken thighs
  • 1 jar Amy’s family style marinara
  • 1 jar Trader Joes pitted green olives, drained
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 onion Chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Lots of dried basil, paprika,and oregano
  • Red pepper flakes
  • A few allspice berries
  • Salt/pepper
  • bay leaf
  • Thyme

Preparation is super simple. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-medium high heat. Then add the onions and garlic. When they start to caramelize, add the chicken, sauce, olives, seasoning. Cover and  saute for about 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and re-cover. Let simmer until the chicken thighs are cooked through.


Happy Holidays 2013!

Happy Holidays everybody! Now that everything has settled, I have just come to the realization that it’s been almost 10 days since I’ve posted anything, so I feel like a totally horrible blog person! It’s just been a little crazy with the holidays, as I’m sure many of you can relate. The funny thing is,  I didn’t even do that much cooking! I got my gifting stuff done pretty early, but there’s always some last-minute thingy-ma-bobbers and I was helping Mike with his last-minute wrapping. I do have a few tidbits to recap from the past week that I can share as part of my Holiday Post 2013!

Growing up Italian, Christmas Eve meant seafood….lots and lots of seafood. Staples were always Smelts (Basically a bait fish….Dredged in flour and fried), Baked Flounder, Stuffed colossal Shrimp, Crab Sauce, Stuffed Crabs, Baked Clams, Seafood Salad, Scungili Sauce, and Bacala (Salted Cod). Aside from the inevitable pasta, Most of this is very un-paleo because of the breading. For the past few years, we’ve been going to a restaurant, since my great-grandmother stopped cooking the feast a decade ago at 89 years of age, and it was getting too hard for my aunts and grandparents to carry the traditions on as they were. I miss them, but I think one day when I have the space and time, I will start something new, healthy, and paleo, but similar and inspired by my heritage. I love me some seafood!

I bring this up, since it was the inspiration for the dinner I made a few days before Christmas.  I happened to find a bag of Smelts at one of my Asian Groceries, and had to buy it! I dredged about half the bag in Coconut Flour (Seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg, oregano….you can do anything here), as sautéed them in coconut oil. The coconut flour didn’t stick as well as I hoped, So I might dip them in egg next time, but in reality, you don’t even need the “breading”. They were so good, and definitely brought back memories from past Christmas Eve’s!

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To accompany my little fried fishies, I rolled a few flounder filets in coconut flour (with Salt, Pepper, Basil, Oregano) and Baked them for 12 minutes or so at 375.

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These came out really good as well. I knocked off some of the extra coconut flour after they cooked. They were just the right amount of moist inside, with the dry flour outside. It was definitely beginning to feel like Christmas after that!

For Christmas, we went to both My parents, and Mike’s Mom’s parties. At my parents house, there were lots of paleo options. Brussel Sprouts, Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs, Turnips, Cauliflower, Parsnips. The desserts weren’t completely paleo, but almost everything was gluten-free. I sampled the gluten-free apple pie, as well as some gluten-free cookies and the gluten-free cake pops my sister made. Honestly, it didn’t kill me, and while I make it a point to stay away from gluten and dairy, I felt it wasn’t a big deal  to sample some of the treats since there was no gluten. I knew that at Mike’s Mom’s house the desserts were all going to be off-limits, so I indulged while I could. At his Mom’s. I stuck to sweet potato casserole, turkey, ham, turnips, and any veggies available. It was pretty easy to eat according to my rules. The only un-paleo thing I had, was a small portion of a wild rice dish with mushrooms and cranberries….it was good.

I DID make paleo cookies to contribute to the mix at both parties. The first type I made were Snickerdoodles, from CaveGirl Cuisine. Click my photo to go to the recipe on her page. These were awesome! And since I used my Ninja Blender (Dough Attachment) they were SUPER easy.

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Click to go to the recipe at CaveGirl Cuisine’s Blog!

The second type was Paleo and Nut-Free Cut-Out Cookies from  The Paleo Mom’s Blog. I used unsweetened cocoa powder instead of a bar of chocolate. I decided to make them into Dinosaur Shapes, since they were paleo….and well dinosaurs are awesome! They were a little crumbly, and hard transfer to my cookie sheet, but I managed. I blame my cookie cutter, and Brontosaurus having a thin, weak, neck. They had a strong honey flavor and weren’t so chocolatey, but they were delicious! I would definitely make them again! Click the picture for the recipe.

Click to go to the recipe at The Paleo Mom's Blog!

Click to go to the recipe at The Paleo Mom’s Blog!

Overall, I think I made it through the holidays successfully. No major upset to my digestive tract! With the drinks, and treats I don’t normally eat, including the nut/rice/processed stuff and sugar involved in the gluten-free desserts, I was a little gassy the next day, but clean eating on Thursday cleared it right up. I’m ok with that, and it was totally worth it! Part of living the way I do, is being smart enough to know that one day of treating yourself a little, shouldn’t de-rail you. Especially if you stay away from gluten and dairy! Life is also about having fun, not stressing!  I am strong enough and smart enough to know my body now, and what I can and cannot handle on occasion. Even though I was a little gassy, I wasn’t suffering from headaches, or pain, or major bloating and discomfort. I felt ok!

Gluten and Dairy – Nope,
Gluten Free and Paleo Treats at christmas time – Go!

Anyway, I hope everyone else had a holiday that was as warm and loving as mine, and made it through with similar success! Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!


Cauliflower Polenta

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Ok, so I’ve never had polenta, but I’ve had grits.. Like grits, it’s another grain based porridge or gruel. Traditionally polenta was made by boiling corn meal, and was a common peasant food. Today, It’s easily found in the supermarket, pre-cooked and packaged in a plastic tube. Even though it’s gluten-free, It’s still a grain based food, so it’s not a part of a primal diet. I’ve never had it, but I hear it’s somewhat creamy, and at least the tube version can be baked, fried, griddled, and used as a pasta substitute. Mine doesn’t have that versatility, but I’m totally ok with that! Mine is more like the traditional mush. I decided to use some of my awesome purple cauliflower to make a baked grain free and gluten-free mock polenta. It was really yummy, and a perfect side dish to serve my crock pot pulled chicken over.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of Cauliflower (Steamed)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Salt, pepper, thyme, basil, oregano
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg

Steam the cauliflower and place in a large metal bowl. I had to do this in two batches. Slice and steam the onion and garlic, and add that to the bowl as well. Add the egg, water, and spices and mash with a fork. Then use a hand blender to get it to a creamy consistency. Pour the mixture into a 9×9 glass pan and use parchment paper or plastic wrap to press it down (I also lined the pan with aluminum foil for easier clean up, but that’s totally optional. Remove the plastic wrap/paper and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.

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Served with Crock Pot Balsamic and Mushroom Chicken (Click for Recipe)

Shown Served with Crock Pot Balsamic and Mushroom Chicken (Click for Recipe)


Chicken Marsala with Spaghetti Squash

I love being inspired by flavors I used to love, and re-creating them in still delicious, and healthy ways. For instance, I used to love chicken Marsala, whether it was a main course, over pasta, or a pizza topping. The creamy, mushroomy goodness was swoon worthy. So I decided to put my healthy spin on it and serve over some roasted spaghetti squash. For this recipe, to get the creamy texture I used Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk, and instead of marsala wine, I used organic balsamic vinegar (no added sulfites or caramel coloring). It’s really easy, and came out great.

Before preparing the dish, pre-heat your oven to 375. Poke a few holes in the spaghetti squash and roast for 60-90 minutes depending on the size of the squash. When it’s done, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and use a fork to scrape out the squash in strands. OK, now on to the dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package baby bella mushrooms, sliced (about 1-2 cups)
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Light Coconut milk
  • 1/8-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt, pepper, basil, oregano
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into chunks

In a pan over medium, heat the coconut milk, garlic, onion, vinegar, and mushrooms. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the mushroom flavor the liquid. Stir occasionally. Add the chicken and seasoning and stir. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Spoon over the spaghetti squash, or eat by itself.

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Spaghetti squash and meatballs

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Ah, Spaghetti and Meatballs, an Italian-American classic. So for you pasta lovers out there, I have this compromise, and it’s (in my opinion) just as tasty and satisfying if not more. With spaghetti squash and meatballs, you get the visual, and none of the fog inducing, bloatey, carb-pasta-gluten bad stuff…Yay!

Now the spaghetti squash, I prepare like all my squashes recently; In the oven, and whole. Some people microwave, but I think that’s blasphemy. I prick the squash a few times with a fork, and roast it for about an hour-an hour and a half. Then I cut it open, scoop out the seeds, and use a fork to scrape the flesh, which helps it form spaghetti-like strands. I season it with some salt and pepper, and then spoon some sauce and a meatball or two over it.

For the sauce and meatballs, I used a simple mixture of ground beef, paprika, one egg, salt, pepper, and oregano. I keep it simple. Sometimes I add some chopped garlic or onion to the mixture, or more spices, but you don’t need it. I made the meatballs in the sauce, which was a first, and was happy with the results. First, I heated beef tallow over medium heat. Then I formed the meatballs and dropped them carefully into the pot. I browned them on the top and the bottom before adding some crushed tomato. I might have put some coconut aminos in and a little broth, I don’t really remember, but with sauce, I never have a go-to recipe. I like putting basil and oregano, some garlic, paprika, salt pepper – when I want something Italian tasting, so I’m pretty sure that’s what I did this time. I stuck a bay leaf in while it was cooking. Play around with it, and make it your own, sauce is one of those things that I find fun to play with!


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