Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sauteed Kale, Bacon and Apples

We have been eating so much kale lately.  At least once a day.  I saute it with eggs and whatever leftovers we have for breakfast, and it's often a dinner side as well.

To accompany the awesome Bacon Sweet Potato Meatloaf I made, I wanted to make the kale a little different - here's what I came up with.

Sauteed Kale, Bacon and Apples
2 bunches of kale, torn into small pieces and stems discarded
1 onion, finely chopped
1 apple, chopped
3-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
~3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
bacon fat for cooking
little water to help steam

Brown onion and apple in bacon fat in skillet.  Add cider vinegar and then add kale, a large handful at a time, stirring frequently to wilt the kale.  I added a little water to help the steaming.  Once mostly wilted, add your bacon.

Bacon Sweet Potato Meatloaf

I wanted to make a meatloaf and of course was searching around for paleo-frienly recipes.  I love PaleOMG - she has awesome recipes.  And why not put sweet potato into a meatloaf?  This came out awesome and I pretty much followed the original recipe, for once.  Will definitely make again.  Below is with my changes.

2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 chopped, cooked sweet potato
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
~5 slices cooked bacon
Bacon fat for cooking
1 cup almond meal
2 eggs
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon jamaican allspice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat some bacon fat in a skillet.  Add onions and saute until browned.  Add raisins, crumbled cooked bacon, and chopped sweet potato.  Yum.  I could have stopped there and ate that-

Add mixture to a large bowl along with the meat.  Add eggs and seasonings and almond flour to a good consistency (I didn't really measure).  For me, the purpose of a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is to mix meatloaf. Mix all together and place loaf in a pan.  This was too big for a loaf pan so I used a 9x9 ish pyrex.


Bake at 400 for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!  Not the prettiest finished product picture but it was damn good.

I served it with Sauteed Apples & Kale - recipe to follow

Cheesecake Carrot Cake

For Easter I wanted to make something special and delicious and non-paleo friendly.  Rule breaker!
I saw a recipe from Beantown Baker for Carrot Cake & Cheesecake and loved the idea - two of our favorites!

I followed this Tyler Florence Cheesecake recipe from FoodNetwork, minus the crust and this recipe from Southern Living for the carrot cake (with some changes), and Beantown Baker's Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.  I baked both cakes the day before, let them chill overnight, and assembled the following day.  Below is how I did it-

First, make the
16 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix well but don't overmix. Pour the cheesecake into a springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom (cut to fit).

I skipped the water bath because I haven't had success with them and the cake will be layered anyway.

Bake for 45 minutes and let cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

While it's baking, make the
Carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts

Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in large bowl.
Beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared cakepans.

Bake at 350° about 30 minutes until done and cool completely.

I then wrapped them all up and refrigerated until the next day.

When ready to assemble, prepare cream cheese frosting.  

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat cream cheese on medium-high until completely smooth, 3-4 minutes. Add the butter and continue to cream until fluffy.  Add vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble cakes with cheesecake in the middle and frosting between

Then make it pretty!  I colored some of the frosting to get decorative-

So good!  Both the cheesecake and the carrot cake recipes were awesome and I would definitely use them (separately or together) again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Homemade Lara Bars, Take II

When you make these, you might as well make more than one because it's a pain to clean your food processor after!

There are tons of recipes for different kinds - basically you need approximately 1c nuts : 3/4-1c dates : 3/4-1 c dried fruit.

The flavors I made most recently include-

Almond Cranberry
1 c almonds
3/4 c dates
3/4 c cranberries
2 tbsp almond butter

Walnut Cranberry
1 c walnuts
3/4 c dates
3/4 c cranberries
2 tbsp coconut

and my FAVORITE were the
Pecan- Hazelnut Apricot
1/4 c pecans
3/4 c hazelnuts
3/4 c dates
3/4 c apricots
1 tbsp sunflower butter

I then wrapped them up and refrigerated for about 20 minutes to harden a bit, then cut into individual bars/ or roll into balls/ however you like.

Artichoke Mustard Tarragon Chx Thighs

I used this recipe as a guide, but made a bunch of changes as listed below.  This is Chris' new favorite meal!!

1 pkg (~2 lbs.) chicken thighs
2 cans artichoke hearts, halved
1 large onion, cut into strips
1 pound baby portabello mushrooms, quartered

~3 tablespoons brown mustard
olive oil to saute
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock/ chicken gravy (*I had leftover homemade gravy from cooking a whole chicken and used this in place of stock - made it nice and thick)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon dried tarragon
kosher salt and pepper (to taste)

First, saute the onions and artichokes with olive oil to brown.  Rotate artichokes frequently to brown each side..when almost all browned, add mushrooms, some mustard, white wine, tarragon, pepper, and stock.  Once cooked and blended, place in baking dish.
Add chicken to saute pan and brown each side.  Once browned, add some more mustard, vinegar, wine, stock, and spices. 
Mix all and cook for a few minutes.  Then add to baking dish and bake for ~30 minutes or until your chicken is well cooked through.

Enjoy!  Chris had his with a few artichoke raviolis...I may or may not have had 1 or 2 :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jalapeno Sweet Potato Chowder

I pinned a page about a jalapeno sweet potato soup, but unfortunately it didn't share the recipe :(  I found this recipe for sweet potato soup with bacon and combined the concepts to make my own delicious soup!

5-6 large sweet potatoes
1/2 water, 1/2 Chicken stock to cover the potatoes
1 large yellow onion
3 jalapeno peppers
cooked chicken (I used meat from 4 drumsticks & 1 breast)
chili powder
less of nutmeg, ginger

Chop the potatoes into 1" - ish size pieces and put in water/stock and boil.  Stir every few minutes while prepping the rest.
Cook the bacon, then reserve most of the fat in a container (to cook your eggs with in the AM), and leave some in the pan to cook the veggies.
Saute the onion & jalapenos.  I did not deseed or devein them because we like it hot!
Chop up your chicken into bite-size pieces.
Add spices and chicken to onion & jalapeno

 The original recipe called to puree the sweet potatoes, but we like soups like this more chunky.  And it's easier.  So as the potatoes start to get mushy, use a spatula or wooden spoon to smush them up.  Once they are mushed to your desired softness, add the rest of the ingredients to the potatoes.

Garnish generously with bacon!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Caribbean Beef Plantain Bake

I have been looking forward to making this for a while!  I pinned it about a month ago from Baltic Maid - not sure how I found it in the first place?   But Thank you Baltic Maid for creating/ posting this!  Always looking for different things to make with ground beef, since we do have like a hundred pounds of it in the freezer :)

I bought the plantains over a week ago - the store only had green ones so I had to wait until they got nice and dark as indicated in the recipe.

Below is my variation, adapted from the original.  I knew it would either come out 'ehh' or AWESOME and luckily it was awesome.  Already looking forward to my lunch leftovers :)

Caribbean Beef Plantain Bake
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, chopped
(I cheated and used a bag of frozen sliced peppers and onions!)

1/2 jar strained organic tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, Chili Powder, Cinnamon, S&P

2-3 very ripe (dark brown/black) plantains
Coconut oil

2 - 3 eggs

In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef. Set beef aside once done.

Saute the onion & pepper in the same pan and lightly brown.  Add spices (I don't put measurements bc I don't measure.  Be generous!)

Meanwhile in another pan, heat coconut oil.  Peel plantains and cut into bite size slices and saute until browned, flip to brown both sides.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Add tomatoes to the veggies and warm, then stir beef in.

Put the beef/ veggie mixture in 9x9 glass baking pan, top with plantain slices (I kind of pushed them into the sauce).

In a little bowl, beat the eggs. Pour them over the casserole.

Bake the casserole for 20 to 30 minutes.