Healthy 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!

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Paleo Meat Sauce/Pasta Sauce

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It’s been almost a week since I last posted a recipe. We had this big snow storm and our roof ended up leaking through to our ceiling 😦 Since I have to be here while it’s being repaired today, I should post a recipe. I wanted to make several servings of something really easy, so what’s easier (and cheaper) than spaghetti sauce? The vegetables in this recipe can be cooked in a different order than I do in my directions. Some like to saute their veggies separately. Also, the order/time will depend on what vegetables you use. I used mushrooms in this one and I didn’t saute them separately because I like my mushrooms tougher than most. I like to bite into a mushroom, not cook it until it’s flimsy. That’s just a personal preference. There are so many possibilities with this sauce. You can add several diced peppers, add broiled broccoli, add double the mushrooms, add fresh basil, add riced cauliflower…you could even use turkey or italian sausage rather than beef, or all three! It’s a great way to use up whatever you have leftover in your fridge and not let good ingredients go to waste. So, here we go!

 

Ingredients:

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1 lb ground beef, or turkey, or italian sausage

1/2-1 28 oz can tomato sauce (depending on what texture you want your sauce to have)

Half of a 25 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce

2 tablespoon of honey, to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes

1-2 green peppers (get any color you want), diced

1 package of sliced mushrooms

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, diced

1/2-1 tablespoon italian seasoning

1/4-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)

Optional-small can of tomato paste for thickness and/or 1/2 cup of fresh basil, freshly grated parmesan cheese also optional

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, or whatever fat you want to use

For the ‘pasta’ either use spaghetti squash (look at buffalo chicken pasta recipe for instructions) or spiralized zucchini and/or squash like in my photo. I microwave the spirals, covered for 1 minute before serving.

 

Directions:

1. In a large pot or sauce pan, saute garlic and onion in the olive oil for a few minutes over medium/medium-high heat. Once the onions are translucent, add the ground beef and cook until browned, chopping into chunks and stirring here and there while it cooks.

2.Once it’s browned, add your diced peppers and sliced mushrooms and spices. Saute until softened. Add some more olive oil if you think it needs it.

3. Now it’s time to add your tomatoes. Start by adding the diced, drained tomatoes, half of the tomato sauce, and the half jar of pasta sauce. Then add the honey. Make sure it’s all well combined and taste it. If it is too sweet, add more salt. If it’s too acidic/salty add more honey to balance it. If you want more thickness, add tomato paste. If it’s too chunky and you prefer it to be more runny, add the rest of the tomato sauce. Always taste your food!

Paleo Reuben

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One thing I really, really missed when I started the Paleo diet were Reubens. I could eat them all day, every day. While on this diet I would only have a Reuben once or twice a year. Now, I have finally found a way I can eat them without the carb and grain loaded bread. Truly amazing. This was so much fun to experiment with and so easy to make. If you’re strict Paleo, Health Bent has a thousand island dressing recipe with only 5 ingredients. Also, you can substitute the heavy cream with full fat coconut milk in my recipe. Always use full fat cream, yogurt, cheese, etc. No point getting low-fat. It tastes worse in recipes, it’s usually higher in carbs, and fat does not make you fat. I can’t stress that enough. The whole ‘eating low fat’ thing was a fad that started in the 80s and just needs to die off already. If you would like to look into this, read Gary Taubes book Why We Get Fat.

 

…How did that just turn into a rant?….I guess that’s what happens when you write in a ‘stream of consciousness’ fashion…anyway…

 
 
Ingredients:

For the waffles (makes 4-5 square slices in my waffle maker):

2 cups almond flour

3 eggs, whisked

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled, or your fat of choice

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2-1 teaspoon  poppy seeds

1/2-1 teaspoon sesame seeds (sprinkle it and eyeball it. Doesn’t have to be exact. Same goes for poppy seeds)

1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

salt and pepper to taste

 

For the reuben goodness:

.3-.5 lb corned beef, thinly sliced from the deli (get however much you want! you can always double this recipe!)

1/2-1 cup sauerkraut (again, as much as you want!)

Thousand island dressing

4-8 slices of swiss cheese

1/2-1 tablespoon butter

 
 

Directions:

1. Heat your waffle iron. In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda, garlic powder, s&p, and seeds. Then add the whisked eggs, heavy cream, and melted butter until well combined. Make sure your butter is cool so it won’t cook the eggs. Then spoonful the batter into you waffle iron and poof…Paleo sandwich bread.

2. When the waffles come out of the iron, set them on your plate(s), lay however many slices of swiss cheese you want on one side, so it will slightly start to melt over it.

3. In a large skillet, melt a tablespoon or 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add however much corned beef and sauerkraut you want for your sandwiches. You can keep them separate, but in the same skillet. Or mix it. Whatever you like. Heat it up, flipping/stirring, so the corned beef slices start to curl and get slightly browned.

4. Straight from the skillet, pile the corned beef and sauerkraut right on top of the swiss cheese so it melts even more.  Top it with dressing and another waffle slice.

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Pasta

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The man friend and I actually cooked this together last night. And when I’m in the kitchen with someone else, it usually doesn’t go over very well…Because I tend to hover. I catch myself nagging and saying things like “Are you sure you want to measure 6 tablespoons out with that 1/2 tablespoon measurement when there’s a tablespoon measuring spoon in this drawer?” and “Why are you stirring with that when you can stir with this?”…People just cook, measure, and chop things differently. I need to get over it, because I do really like his help in the kitchen and it’s a great way to bond. I have always found food/cooking to be very personal.

Something I have also noticed in the kitchen with the man friend is how many questions I get about (what I think is) cooking basics. I grew up with a caterer for a dad, so, I feel I know more than the average person my age in the kitchen. I feel extremely lucky. I also feel it’s very important for college students or anyone else with crazy busy schedules to know how to make easy, healthy, quick meals rather than sticking to making sandwiches and PPJ’s and microwavable meals all the time. This reminds me of listening to my friend and college classmate make jokes a few months ago about how her roommates didn’t know how to boil pasta or cut/slice vegetables and so she ended up cooking dinner most of the time. This is so wrong! Hilarious in many ways, but so wrong! And I must add, since this incredibly funny rant from my friend, her roommates have learned to cook pasta and cut basic vegetables.

So, I’m dedicating this recipe adaptation (adapted from Brittany Angell) to those college students, and for anyone who works extremely crazy hours like my man friend. This recipe is extremely simple, quick, has very few ingredients, requires only three different pans (only two you have to clean if you use foil), and is very low in carbs.

Be healthy 🙂

 
 

Ingredients:

Spaghetti squash, one big one or two small ones ( or substitute with zucchini noodles or sweet potato noodles, spiralized)

1 1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

8 teaspoons of starch (I used arrowroot powder. You can use tapioca starch, or if you’re not paleo, then use flour or potato starch)

4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter or your fat of choice

6 tablespoons of your favorite buffalo sauce, hot sauce or wing sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, depends on how spicy your buffalo sauce is)

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt & pepper to taste

 
 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees.

2. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Lay face down on the foiled cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (depending on the size of the squash) or until the skin is easily dented. I usually test it by using the handle of a knife to poke the sides. Once the squash is done, flip them over to let cool.

3. While the squash is cooking, gather the chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste, starch, and cream, and buffalo/hot sauce in a sauce pan. Whisk on medium heat continuously until well combined and heated through. Set aside.

4. Add the chicken to a skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of butter, minced garlic (optional), salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring a little here and there, until done. Set aside.

5. Thread the cooled spaghetti squash with a fork into a large bowl. Add the cooked chicken and sauce and mix together well. Taste to see if you want to add more buffalo sauce.

6. Using the same skillet you cooked the chicken in, turn it on medium high/high heat and add the last 2-3 tablespoons of butter or your fat of choice. Quickly add some of the spaghetti squash and chicken mixture into the skillet. Just add enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Stir/flip continuously and fry it until it’s thick and glossy looking. Then toss it in a serving bowl and enjoy! or fry up the rest and organize it into ziploc containers for leftovers the next day!

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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