food

Lamb Meatballs with Dill Dip

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It’s about time I post this recipe. I must have made these meatballs about 4 times in the past month alone.  My sister made these Aromatic Lamb Meatballs by Nigella Lawson while I was visiting her one day and they were the bomb. So, of course, I decided to change up the recipe and make my own Paleo version with an optional side of dairy goodness. This whole meal pictured above took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to make, veggies, dip, and all included. If it was just the dip and meatballs it would have taken me under an hour. I served it with cooked frozen spinach (quick and cheap) mixed with grass-fed butter, s&p. And asparagus that was on sale at Weis, rubbed in oil, granulated garlic, s&p, then broiled on high for 8-10 minutes.

Switching gears here, I’m going to share a short, sweet, and random story. I recently went to one of my best friends birthday dinners and one of the ladies in the dinner group told me she’s a fan of my food blog and asked about how I got into the Paleo diet, how I got into cooking, and so on. Let me just say, I LOVE when anyone asks me this. I will save the whole story of how I started the Paleo diet for another post. But I must say, instances like this remind me of why I started this blog and why I’m sharing my recipes. So, this is a big thank you to that person. It’s a great motivation to keep posting and keep up with this blog. Thank you! 🙂

 

Ingredients:

Makes about 15-17, 1.5 inch meatballs

1lb ground lamb

1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion

3 tablespoons almond flour (optional)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

 

Yogurt Dip:

2% or whole Fage Greek Yogurt-Whole is best

lemon juice

fresh dill, chopped

Granulated garlic

salt & pepper

*all of these ingredients don’t have measurements because I taste as I add them until I get the right balance. I advise starting by adding 1/2 teaspoon of s&p and garlic, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of chopped dill. Then taste and add more of each as you feel it needs. Taste as you go, only add a little at a time. I have extra pics below to give a better idea of what the final dip looked like.

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Form mixture into 1.5 inch balls (about the size of golf balls) The mixture will be pretty sticky.

2. Bake meatballs for 25-28 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.

3. While the meatballs cook, make your dip. Grab your container of Fage (I had a medium size tub, refer to pics below) and mix it up with a spoon until smooth. Add salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and chopped dill. Mix well, taste, add whatever you think it needs. Only add a little at a time.

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4. Serve with the dip and some broiled veggies or chopped spinach and enjoy!

Vanilla Chai Chia Pudding

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Gosh, Sorry I haven’t posted for a long time. Been busy testing new, easy, Paleo recipes and applying for jobs like crazy. One of these quick new recipes I have discovered is chia pudding. I can’t stress it enough, this recipe is so easy! The first time I made chia pudding, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it because I hated tapioca pudding. But turns out, I love it! Chia seeds don’t have all of the Omega fatty acids you need/should have in your diet, but it does contain one called ALA that’s good for you. Google it and try it out this recipe!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup white chia seeds. I got mine from Weis. I’m sure black chia seeds would work just fine too.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk or vanilla flavored almond milk or coconut milk. Coconut milk will give a creamier consistency.

1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or vanilla beans

1-3 tablespoons strongly brewed chai tea, cooled

1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of honey, depending on how sweet you want it.

Optional-A jar

Toppings (berries, granola, etc.)

 

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, adding the chia seeds last. Set the timer for 20 minutes and stir or whisk the mixture on and off. Be sure to taste the mixture to make sure you sweetened it to your liking. Add more honey if you want. Wait a couple minutes, stir again, wait another minute, stir again…When the 20 minutes of stirring are up, you’ll finally see the mixture become more like a pudding consistency. Pour mixture into a jar, or tightly sealed container. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Top with fruit or granola and enjoy!

*I quadrupled this recipe and it worked out really well. I save glass jars to store the pudding in. The pudding can also last a long time in the fridge (over a week).

 

Paleo-ish Products I Love – #1 Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

I decided that in between recipes I will post a paleo-ish product I love. These will be products I usually have in my kitchen or I love as an occasional, guilt-free treat. Like the one I’m posting now is an example of one of those guilt-free paleo-ish treats. Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. It’s like a guilt-free version of Nutella, except with a grainy texture and a little more salt added to it…and way better for you, as in, having less sugar per serving, and no artificial flavors.

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This is a great logo too. Fun and playful. Makes me feel better about what I’m eating. Not guilty.

As for the ingredients…Nothing there you can’t pronounce. Sugar is not the first ingredient. It’s not sweetened with refined sugar and doesn’t contain gluten or dairy either 🙂 I love this stuff! Pure chocolatey goodness.

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Okay, I have to admit….The only thing I don’t like about this stuff is that it’s $8-9 for a 16 oz jar at Mom’s Organic Market and even more on Amazon. But when I purchase it I have to consider, I won’t be eating this every day and buying this every time I go to the store, because it’s a treat. It’s also 12 carbs/2 tablespoons so, when I do indulge, I’m scooping some on a spoon and that’s probably it for the day. And even if I have more than one serving, it’s not bad for me! Google the benefits of almonds and keeping nuts in your regular diet too. Not bad at all. They also sell Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter in 1-2 serving packets at Mom’s Organic Market and Roots Market in Olney, MD. They could possibly sell it at Whole Foods too, but it probably costs $500 a jar or packet….If you don’t understand that joke, you need to read this.

Everything in moderation 🙂 I’ll leave you with a few words Steve’s PaleoGoods posted on Instagram yesterday about what the Paleo diet is all about. They will get their own post here as well some time soon. They’re awesome people with awesome healthy and quality products. Check them out.

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Paleo Peri-Peri Chicken

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My apologies for not posting in a few days. Had some kitchen disasters/Superbowl recipes crisis. I planned on making spinach and artichoke dip, wings, cheesecake mousse stuffed strawberries, and brownies. Brownies were an epic fail (one didn’t cook all the way through in time, and the other wasn’t sweet enough), didn’t have time to make the dip, and the wings weren’t spicy enough. However, the cheesecake mousse stuffed strawberries worked out well 🙂 They were a hit with the family and I will definitely be posting that recipe soon.

Note to self – do not experiment with new recipes 3 hours before the super bowl.

This recipe however, I’m well acquainted with. It’s from the blog The Iron You. Check it out. Good, healthy, Paleo recipes. Their recipes are more strict with the Paleo diet than the recipes I post.

Also, this chicken was awesome on salad with balsamic dressing, crumbled feta cheese, banana pepper rings, and cherry tomatoes.

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I should also add, if you haven’t been to a Nandos yet, go. Good prices, the peri peri chicken cesar salad is delicious and their tasty sangria is half off before 6. Oh, and get the french fries because their dip is really good too.

Okay…I think that’s all…Enjoy this recipe!
 
 

Ingredients:

Bamboo Skewers, soaked in water for 5 minutes

2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1-1½-inch chunks. I cut them 1 inch so they cook faster. Impatience strikes again.

½ cup white vinegar

Juice of 2 lemons

ÂĽ cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced. Whatever you got on hand. Crushed is better though.

1 small onion, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon oregano or italian seasoning

2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Optional: 1/4-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes for heat
 
 

Directions:

1. In a small bowl combine white vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne pepper, sea salt, garlic, shallot, paprika, oregano, chili powder, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes (optional)

2. In a shallow sealable container or in a large Ziplock bag, combine chicken chunks and marinade.
Cover or seal and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The time you allow for marination makes a significant difference in this recipe. I marinate mine for 3-8 hours. Overnight would be best if you’re able to do that.

3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and skewer onto bamboo sticks that have been soaked in water for 5 minutes. I try to stick some of the onion slices on there too.

4. Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium heat. If you’re using an outdoor grill lightly oil the grill grates. I personally used a baking sheet, foiled it, then put a greased wire rack on top. Broiled on high 10-12 minutes, on the middle oven rack ( time depending on how small you cubed the chicken) turning them half way through.

5. Cook the chicken kebabs, until golden brown and cooked through, about  10 minutes turning regularly, until juices run clear.

6. Serve on salad or with your favorite grilled/broiled veggies.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

stuffedpeppers

This recipe includes my touches to the recipe found on the blog Barbells and Bellinis. Really, you need to take a look at that blog. Anyway, I’m always looking for new paleo friendly recipes to try. The man friend works crazy off hours in his line of work and usually doesn’t have time to cook. I’m always doubling recipes and making sure there is a good amount leftover for him to take to work. This one is a favorite and fairly easy to make. Although, there’s a lot of chopping/prep involved. Also, keep in mind, if you follow this recipe you will probably have leftover filling mixture. Either grab some more peppers and another casserole dish or eat the leftover filling like chili, or on top of spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles…whatever…Enjoy and let me know what you think!

 

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs ground beef or ground turkey. They both work well in this recipe. A mix of both works well too.

3 carrots, diced and/or half of a cauliflower, chopped. I use cauliflower every time because the man friend hates cooked carrots.

3 celery stalks, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 large zucchini, diced

1 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained. I squeezed the water out of it by hand.

1 bunch of basil, chopped. If I don’t have fresh basil, I add more Italian seasoning or dried basil.

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I substituted this with another tablespoon of Italian seasoning)

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon of salt. Be careful and check if your canned tomatoes have salt added to them already. If they do, only add ½ tablespoon or none at all.

1/4-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Depending on how spicy you like it. 

3 cloves of garlic, minced 

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Save a little less than a third of it to put in the bottom of the casserole dish.

1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, saving some for bottom of the dish

8-10 assorted bell peppers, tops and seeds removed. I also slice a little off the bottoms so they sit upright in the baking dish. You could also cut the peppers in half and stuff them that way too.

1 cup Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded

2-4 tablespoons of olive oil. I added a little more when I used ground turkey, since turkey tends to be a little more dry than beef.

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over high heat.  Add celery, carrots and/or chopped cauliflower, garlic, and onion and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I also diced the tops of the peppers and threw that in too. Why waste it?

3. Add zucchini, thawed and drained spinach, basil, nutmeg, oregano, Italian seasoning, salt, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  These veggies are going to be cooking again in the oven, so make sure they don’t get too soft. Add ground beef or ground turkey or mix of both and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add crushed tomatoes (saving a little for the bottom of the dish), drained diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce (reserving 1/4 for bottom of casserole dish) and stir to combine.  Pour remainder of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish with raised edges large enough to accommodate the peppers.

5. Fill bell peppers with meat and veggie filling (reeeaally pack the filling into each pepper) and place in the casserole dish.  Bake for 35 minutes.  In last 5 minutes of cooking, top peppers with the shredded Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Like they say in the original post, this is a great recipe to double the portions and freeze. I’m the most impatient person ever, so I eat the leftover filling like a bowl of chili before the peppers finish cooking.