Tag Archives: paleo potluck ideas

Boulettes au Foie

9 Aug
boulettes au foie

Sorry for the pretentious title, but “Tasty Liver Lumps” was probably not going to garner as many hits.

Since eating clean, I haven’t thought much about the idea of “superfood” because I eat nutrient-dense foods on a daily basis.  (Blessing.)  So, there’s no pressing need to somehow off-set the processed junk food damage.  Besides, most “superfood” choices are totally delicious.  Salmon? A resounding yes.  Blueberries?  No problem.  Almonds?  Three times a day.  Leafy greens?  Well—-sautéed in bacon oil, then certainly.

One item shows up on these lists repeatedly…and I’ve always glossed over it.  It’s gelatinous, odd-smelling, notoriously icky, and synonymous with rejection:  Liver.

Let’s not focus on the negative.

This inexpensive organ meat carries a maximal nutrient load:  
Extremely high in Vitamin A and B12
High in arachidonic acid (related to DHA, the healthy brain fat)
A unique source of copper, phosphorus and zinc
Almost 20% daily value of iron in just 4 ounces, plus the B Vitamins to help our bodies increase our own iron production
Great source of selenium, a nutrient that can be hard to come by

The nutrients found in liver
Provide many cardiovascular benefits and protection
Increase energy
Protect from cancer
Boost immune system function
Provide bone and colon support
Improve vision
Enhance joint mobility

(these lists courtesy of Kitchen Stewardship)


 Back to B12.  It is interesting to note that vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient in the human diet.  It is important for metabolic function, it helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system.    A vitamin B12 deficiency can result in anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression.  Longer-term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system.   It is only manufactured naturally in animal products–there is not a known reliable plant source of vitamin B12.  Synthetic varieties are on the market, some are used as additives to many processed foods like cereals.  (This is why vegetarians, particularly vegans, may have to take B12 supplements to achieve adequate nutrition.)

With all this said, it’s been wearing on me to somehow get liver into my diet!!  Heather also bought 1/2-a-cow this year…and currently owns 16lbs of beef liver burning a hole in her freezer!!  But, it isn’t necessary to become a liver purist just yet.  With some trial and error, and some research, I finally found a recipe at the adorable Katie Did blog that I can post with confidence!!  I tweaked it ever so slightly.

1 sweet potato
1/2 lb calves liver (or chicken liver)
1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 tsp each: salt, garlic powder, dried basil, and dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper

Peel and grate the sweet potato.  Rise and pat the liver dry.  Put the sweet potato into a food processor, and add the remaining ingredients.  Blend in the processor, scraping down the sides periodically, until the mixture is completely combined.

To a skillet on medium-heat, add butter, olive oil or coconut oil.   Scoop a heaping tablespoonful of the meat mixture into the skillet and cook approximately three minutes per side until done, but not overdone and chalky.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

The meatballs may not hold a perfect round meatball shape, mine were oblong.  Makes approximately 15-18 meatballs.  Serve with sautéed greens, and our all-time favorite homemade ginger mayo!  We use it on everything!  :)

Embrace the opportunity to broaden your palate and culinary know-how with these simple multivitamin meatballs!
Leigh

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For more reading on the benefits of eating organ meat:

It’s Not So Offal
Everyone Should be Eating Organ Meat
Frozen Raw Liver Pills

Veronica’s Perfect Pastelon

4 May

pastelon

My friend Veronica recently introduced me to Pastelon, a Puerto Rican casserole that completely blew me away.   I had never heard of Pastelon before, nor could I pronounce it.  But the first bite I took, I was hooked!  It was  a revelation on two levels!  First it was so comforty, and savory, and salty and slightly sweet.  Secondly it gave me a use for real, fresh plantains!  I have never known what to do with them, and have always overlooked them in the grocery stores.  No longer.   What a fabulous “new” way to eat my meat and veggies.

It’s a lot like lasagna in preparation and form, but not in flavor.

6-8 large very ripe plantains:  peeled, sliced, and browned under the broiler. ***
2 lbs ground meat
(I prefer beef.)
1 cup sofrito
(aren’t you glad you have it on hand all the time now?)
1 small can tomato sauce
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup green sliced olives (I like Goya brand Salad Olives)
2 cans french-style green beans, drained
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (optional)

For the meat mixture, cook ground beef and sofrito in a few tbsp oil until browned, sprinkle with the spices and salt.  Stir in tomato sauce and combine.  Take off heat and add the green olives.  Set aside.

Once your plantains are prepared (see below), you will be ready to put it all together.  Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil.  Layer the casserole: plantains, followed with some of the meat mixture, then green beans then cheese.  I was able to make about 2 1/2 layers, with the last layer ending with the rest of the meat and cheese.  Bake at 350º for about 45-55min.

Enjoy!  And share with someone in need:)

Leigh (via Roni!)

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***The “noodles” are sliced plantains.  They must be extremely ripe so that they aren’t bitter.  Their peel will be spotty-black.

You may have to use a knife and cut through the peel lengthwise to get them started–they do not peel as easily as bananas.  Once they are all peeled, slice them evenly into long strips.  Consider using a cheese slicer, mandoline, or a really steady hand and a good knife.

Arrange them evenly on a lightly-oiled cookie sheet.   (I took coconut oil and a paper towel, and spread the oil around the sheet evenly.  )  Roast under the broiler until browned on one side, then flip them and brown on the other side.  The roasted sliced plantains are now ready for layering!

If you don’t use plantains, you can substitute diced and roasted (or mashed) sweet potatoes.  It will be sweeter, but a faster process on a night you are in a rush.  If you do this, you can skip the casserole step altogether.  Just make a “pastelon bowl” by heaping the meat and green bean mixture directly over a yummy bowl of sweet potatoes.  It is much faster to whip up, and almost the same flavor.

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Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

2 Apr

murgh makhani paleo indian recipeThis is one of the first recipes I made when I started eating paleo. As soon as the spices hit the coconut milk, a beautiful fragrance hit me, and I began to lick the sides of the pot like a fool, and that is when I realized–I can TOTALLY do this paleo thing.

My kids inhale this and it is one of my husband’s all time favorites. It is also so quick to whip up that it is my go-to meal to bring a friend/family in need. This is another fabulous freezer meal.**

This is another Sarah Fragoso dish, which is why I haven’t posted it…because it is not mine.  But I have had a few people ask me for this recipe, so I am going to go ahead and post it.   Hers is entitled Better Butter Chicken, and it is also called Murgh Makhani if you see it by that name.  Whenever I am serving it to people who (think they) don’t like Indian food, I just call it “tomato cream chicken” and they love it.

2 1/2 lbs boneless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
1 red onion diced
3 tbsp coconut oil
6 oz can tomato paste
½ can coconut milk
½ tbsp crushed garlic
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp coriander powder
1 tsp fenugreek powder (sometimes this is called “Methi powder”)
1 tsp chili powder
 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp ghee (or butter)
lemon wedge and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish–(my addition :))

1.  Cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces and set aside.

2.  In a large skillet or soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and add the diced onion and saute until translucent. Turn your heat down to low and add the crushed garlic, cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, salt, and chili powder.  Stir well to make a paste.

3.  Add the tomato paste and stir, this mixture will be very thick. Turn your heat back up to medium and add the coconut milk. Use a whisk to blend the tomato paste spice mixture and coconut milk together into a thick sauce.

4.  Bring the sauce to a simmer (1-2 bubbles per second) and add the chicken. Return the sauce and chicken back up to a simmer, cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the chicken is done all the way through – make sure you stir often during the cooking process.

5.  After the chicken is cooked through, remove from heat, add the ghee and mix into the sauce until melted.

Serve the chicken over steamed red chard or any green of your choice. I usually take a bag of fresh spinach and stir it in, it wilts, and I have a one-pot dish. I don’t know if that is an authentic way of serving, but it is yummy!! I have also poured this over toasted ground cauliflower in lieu of rice, which is completely divine.

**If you are preparing this as a freezer meal, prepare this he same way, but only simmer until the chicken is partially cooked through. Take off the heat, let it cool, and store it in an air-tight container in the freezer up to 4 months. When ready to eat: thaw, pour into a pot and bring it back up to a simmer until the chicken is cooked and tender.

Enjoy!

Leigh

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this little one, and all the rest of my kiddos, LOVE this recipe. :)

“Kofte Kebab” Lamb Meatballs

18 Mar

Do you like Middle Eastern food? We do. We love it so much that we have actually traveled to the remotest side streets in Manhattan trying to find the best gyro, shawarma, and kebabs. Well, we don’t have a reliably wonderful Greek/Middle Eastern place nearby, so I have had to resign myself to figuring it out on my own!

These hit the spot–they are super easy to whip up.  They have so much flavor you won’t even think about any flavorless flatbread.

These are great as a meal, but also to keep in the fridge for snacking, lunch boxes, and as a salad topper. These also make a fantastic appetizer or for any pot-luck.

2 lbs ground lamb (or any ground meat on-hand)
1/2 c finely diced red onion
1/4 c finely chopped fresh mint leaves (1 tbsp dry spearmint)
1/4 c finely chopped fresh parsley (1 tbsp dry)
2 eggs
1.5 to 2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with non-stick foil. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Roll into golf-ball sized meatballs and place on sheet evenly. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until set and no longer pink in the middle. You can place them under the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes to give them a golden brown finish.  These would be amazing on the grill, you might have to form them somewhat oblong…or just skewer a bunch of them.

Makes about 20 meatballs.

Serve with a Greek salad, and my favorite yogurt dipping sauce (below) or just simply a lemon-twist.

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin

Enjoy!!
Leigh

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how I wish I could get a more appetizing picture of these delicacies, I am just not a photographer…if anyone makes these perhaps you can snap a prettier picture??

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

20 Nov

photo by Wendy Gade

I can’t believe I have not blogged this recipe yet.  It’s kind of been our neighborhood’s signature salad for about 6 months, and everyone has noshed on it ravenously.  I would like to name it the “Stony Lonesome”  to namesake our neighborhood…or the “Detox and Reset.”  But the first name doesn’t make sense to anyone else, and the other doesn’t sound appetizing, so I will keep it simple.

Fresh and crisp, it actually feels cleansing to eat!  Don’t be afraid of the raw ingredients; give it a chance, you will be surprised!!  I ate this salad or some version of it almost every lunch this summer and fall.  It is remarkably tasty, in spite of its utter roughage.

The recipe was discovered by my sweet friend Amanda, and it came from here.

Salad Dressing

1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 bunch curly parsley, stems removed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 3/4 cup olive oil
pepper

In bowl or food processor, combine shallot, parsley, lemon, juice and salt. With motor running, add olive oil slowly.  Add pepper to taste.

Salad Ingredients:
2 bunches Tuscan kale, center stem discarded, julienned
1 pound brussels sprouts trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts
1 cup grated parmesan or asiago (optional)
1 cup salad dressing (see recipe above)
thinly sliced red bell pepper
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly toast the almonds or walnuts until golden brown.  Set aside and cool.  In a large mixing bowl, combine kale, brussels sprouts, nuts, and parmesan.  Slowly toss with dressing a little at a time until you have the desired amount.  Top with red bell pepper.
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Enjoy!
Leigh
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photography by Wendy Gade

Fun Shaped Chicken Nuggets

11 Oct

It seems every time we go to the grocery store one of my kids manages to spot the dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and begins to beg for them repeatedly. I’ll admit that sometimes I give in because they are kids after all, and chicken in the shape of anything is just plain fun!

Last week I stood my ground though and decided we’d make our own fun shaped nuggets for a change. We were enjoying Fall break off from school so we had an afternoon of good ol’ fashioned  home economics. The result was delicious–not to mention grain and crazy chemical free!

Chicken Mixture:

1.5 lb chicken breasts, cooked (try boiling them and storing the leftover broth!)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 large apple, cored and sliced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

Breading Mixture:

1 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, finely shredded
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
olive oil, for brushing tops before baking

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Put all ingredients for chicken mixture into food processor. Pulse until nicely combined into a dough like mixture.
  2. Place mixture on parchment paper and press out flat until about 1/2 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to make shapes. Re-flatten and keep making shapes until mixture is gone. (My son kept sneaking the scraps and giggling as if he just snuck some cookie dough–hilarious!)
  3. Combine almond flour, coconut, and spices on large plate. Place chicken shapes in mixture and flip to coat both sides. Feel free to get creative here with different spices if you like!
  4. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with olive oil.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Broil for a minute or two at the end if you want them extra crispy. Serve plain or with my kiddo’s favorite friendly ketchup.
  6. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge. They’re great lunchbox protein options or re-heat well in the toaster oven at home!

Recipe adapted from here.

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Best ,

Heather

Fall’s Best Pumpkin Muffins

27 Sep

I am in a baking mood–here is the most fabulous “paleo” pumpkin muffin recipe you will ever try– I make them every year.  I can’t figure out where I got this recipe.  It is a result of a little bit of research I did back in 09 when I began my clean eating journey.  I hope you like these!

Welcome Fall!!

1 1/2 C almond flour
3/4 c canned pumpkin
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 c maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp (or more to taste!!) pumpkin pie spice
(sub: 1 tsp cinnamon +  1/4 tsp ground cloves + 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c raisins

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a spatula or broad spoon.  Use foil muffin liners OR grease the paper ones. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min.  Makes about 12.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.  Real food perishes.  :)

These are a treat.  If you want to avoid any added sugar, you can sub 1 mashed ripened banana for the maple syrup.  I have also made these successfully with 1 1/2 c pumpkin and 4 eggs.  Overall these are high in protein and fat, and low in sugar…definitely relieves the pumpkin-bakey-goodness jones that September seems to bring.  These are amazing for an on-the-go breakfast option, afternoon snack with coffee, or as dessert.

For even more pumpkin yumminess, check out this amazing pumpkin spice latte from Fast Paleo!

Enjoy!
Leigh

These can also easily double as part of a festive centerpiece! Thanks Fran!!

Sesame Date Crisps

20 Sep


I ran into Whole Foods last weekend for my usual fare, and they had samples out all over the place.  I was in a bind, and trying to appease my 1-year-old, when I came upon these:

These Raincoast Crisps were really good, in spite of the fact that the first listed ingredient was unbleached flour.  Blah.  I grabbed them anyway and tasted them–they are good.  I knew I could knock ‘em off, though.

They might be better this way!!

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

In a food processor:
1/2 cup of dates
1/2 cup of raisins

Pulse them together–until they are evenly ground, but not a paste.

Add in:

1/2 c sliced almonds
1/4 c each of sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds (I used black and regular), almond flour, flaxseed meal.
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp water

Blend until evenly ground, and somewhat sticking together.

Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper, until very very thin.  Approximately 1/8 inch thickness.  Or less.  You may find it easier to do in two or three batches.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy.  Use a knife to cut them into uniform “crackers”.

Serve alone, topped with chicken salad, or farm fresh goat cheese.

These little crackers are elegant…like something you would find in a little cafe in the West Village.
Salty, crunchy, slightly sweet.
Enjoy!
Leigh

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Easy Homemade Beef Jerky

1 Aug Oven-dried Beef Jerky

I love beef jerky, my kids love beef jerky, who doesn’t love beef jerky? The problem is 1. it’s expensive and 2. it’s usually loaded up with preservatives and sugar. Our power went out the other night and the contents of my freezer did not make it through. I had 2 pounds of now thawed ground beef that needed to be used that day and we already had dinner plans.  I could have made-ahead a meal like meatballs or stuffed peppers, but decided to get creative instead.

I first stumbled upon this video that inspired me to give it a try. It turns out there are quite a few resources about making your own jerky online. I don’t have a dehydrator (hint…hint…for when my husband reads this) so I tried the oven method. The results were yummy and according to my kids “delicious and not hard to chew!” Hard to chew is a huge factor with anything involving meat for my middle daughter, by the way.

  • 2 lbs ground beef (I’ve read a lower fat content works  best, I used 90/10. I bet ground bison would be awesome!)
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free Tamari
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder (I love Penzey’s toasted onions)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 200. Mush ingredients together well (take off your rings and get in their with your hands!). Roll out to slightly less than 1/4 inch thickness on dough board or parchment paper. Cut into desired strips. Hmmm….perhaps next time I’ll try cookie cutters. I’m thinking that heart-shaped beef jerky for school lunches sound like an awesome idea!

Place on parchment lined baking sheets, put in oven, stick a wooden spoon in your oven door to crack it open slightly, and bake for 4-6 hours. Check them at 4 hours, turn over, and bake for another 1-2 hours depending on your oven and thickness of beef. I baked mine for 4 hours, turned off the oven and let them sit in the turned off oven for another two hours. I left them out on the counter and we snacked on them for two days. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer if you decide to make a big batch.

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Notes: I did not marinate my meat mixture, but the choice is yours depending on how much you prepare ahead. Experiment with different spice combinations and let us know how they turn out. Red pepper flakes would have been delicious in this but not exactly kid friendly! Next time I think I’ll try it Italian with basil, garlic, oregano and a bit of red wine vinegar!

Best,

Heather

Pepper Poppers

4 Jul Pepper Poppers

I ran into this bag of adorable little sweet peppers at BJ’s this week, and I just couldn’t turn them down!  I love the convenience and size of these, they are perfect for salads and snacking!

After my first crunchy bite into one of these beauties, it dawned on me that they are so adorably stuffable!

This is a basic recipe that can be adjusted, seasoned, and tweaked  to your tastes and mood.  I think they would be fantastic stuffed with bratwurst, a breakfast mixture, even pulled pork.  There really is no limit to what you could do.  The little sweet peppers are just little chariots of deliciousness!

24 baby sweet peppers, tops, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 C  finely diced onion
1 lb italian sausage
1 tsp each: garlic powder, dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
4 c finely chopped kale
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 eggs lightly beaten

In a large pan, saute the sausage and onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until cooked through.  Add the kale, salt, garlic powder, oregano and the lemon juice.  Stir frequently until the kale is wilted, then remove from heat.   Prepare your peppers by slicing off the tops and paring out the seeds and ribs.   Once the meat mixture is mostly cooled, add in the 2  eggs and mix well.  Stuff the peppers by packing them pretty tightly…using my hands worked best!  Arrange them on a baking sheet.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Finish them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until brown on top.

Happy Independence Day!!
Enjoy!

Leigh

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