Tag Archives: kid friendly paleo dinners

Cottage Pie Cupcakes

26 Jan

All ready

I know I said last week that a muffin is always a muffin, unless it’s made out of meat. Well, Parents magazine did an adorable little spread on “Cupcakes for Dinner” with meatloaf-esque recipes that inspired me to give them a try. Here is my version of their Shepherd’s Pie “Cupcakes.” My kids loved them because they were super easy to eat and said,”Mmmmm mashed potato icing!”

Sweet potato topping
4-6 sweet potatoes or a butternut squash, cubed
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
salt, pepper and cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut milk

Meat mixture
2lb ground pork (or, turkey or beef)
1 small onion, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
crushed pecans for garnish

Preheat oven to 375. Toss cubed sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp coconut oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Place in food processor, add coconut milk a little bit at a time, and pulse until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside in separate bowl.

In same food processor bowl, add vegetables and pulse until finely chopped. Add meat and remainder of ingredients (minus crushed pecans) and pulse until well combined. Liberally grease muffin tins with coconut oil. Spoon meat mixture into muffin cups and then spoon and spread sweet potato mixture on top of meat mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes until done. Let cool for a few minutes and remove from pan with narrow spatula. Top with crushed pecans and serve!


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.

Simple Versatile Pulled Pork

1 May

I had a fun gathering at my house on Friday  night.  In lieu of the old hamburgers/hot dogs routine, I went with a couple pulled pork roasts.  I guess it was a success because a ton of people asked me for the recipe.  Truth be told, there isn’t one really.  That is the beauty of pork shoulder…I learned this technique from my mom, and while there are more complicated and gourmet ways to do it, this one is fool-proof.

1 Pork Shoulder, bone in, skin on.  You can also use boneless/skinless.  Whatever your grocer stocks will work!
2 parts Salt
1 part each Pepper and Garlic Powder

Place pork shoulder skin/fat side up in a large roasting pan.  Generously season the pork with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Don’t worry about over-seasoning the roast.  The seasonings should heavily coat the pork, but make sure you use twice as much salt as the pepper and garlic.  I never measure.  But, I probably use 1/8 c of salt and 1-2 tbsp each of pepper/garlic powder.  That’s just a guess.

Cover the roasting pan with foil tightly.  Place in preheated oven at 275 degrees for 6-8 hours depending on its size.  If you don’t have that much time, it will do just fine at 350 for 3-4 hours.  You know it is done when a fork pulls the meat right off….if it doesn’t come off easily or seems rubbery, it needs more time.

There will be a lot of drippings.  Allow the roast to cool, then separate the skin and fat from the succulent meat.   I usually pour about 1 cup of the reserved drippings back over the pulled meat, to keep it moist and flavorful.


You may have to go back and reseason it to taste after it is cooked.  I always serve the meat with my favorite barbecue sauce on the side.  It is also good with a few shakes of apple cider vinegar.  Next time I will probably use my chipotle cream sauce.

Be creative.  For Mexican flavored pork, or for tacos, season with lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro.  Rotel tomatoes tossed in is also delicious.  For an Indian flavored pulled pork, douse it with curry powder and coriander and a little cumin.  Do you have some random spice mixtures in your pantry that you don’t know what to do with: Ras el Hanout, Garam Masala, Rogan Josh?  This is a great way to use them up…just make sure you balance them with the right amount of salt!

P.S.  I have not had good success using a crock pot.  The meat does not come out nearly tender enough.  Maybe I just have a bad slow cooker?  Either way, using your oven is about the same amount of work/prep, and it allows you to make two at once, if necessary!



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