Cheezy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli & Garlic

squash

I happen to love spaghetti squash.  I think it’s a fantastic way to get your veggies into your day.  That being said, I have found that A LOT of people don’t particularly care for it.  Maybe it’s a texture thing?  Maybe their brain says “Nope, not spaghetti.  Nope.”  I understand that.  It’s cool.  BUT, I’m still determined to find a recipe that even non-squashers will like….well, try.

I saw THIS video on the ol’ Facebook yesterday and thought it sounded actually pretty great. A perfect combination of carb, fat, protein, and flavor.  Here is what you need to know:

Cheezy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli & Garlic
Makes 2 servings (I’d say closer to 3)

INGREDIENTS
1 small spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
S&P
4 cloves garlic (minced, I like to use the Pampered Chef garlic press.  I do not work for Pampered Chef….I just think this product is amazing!)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Cu broccoli florets
1/2 Cu vegetable stock
1 Cu Cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, & roughly mashed with a fork (I chose to omit this and sub with some leftover steak from the night before, cubed)
1/3 Cu nutritional yeast

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
Cut about an inch off of the top and the bottom of the spaghetti squash and discard.
Cut the squash crosswise into rings about 1-inch thick, run a knife (or spoon) around the inside of the rings to get the seeds out.
Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over the baking sheet, then spread the squash rings over it
Coat each side evenly, then season both sides with s&p.
Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender (about 30 minutes)
Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside (Spaghetti squash is MUCH easier to handle if it has 10 minutes or so to cool)

Meanwhile….
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic and red pepper (if using), season with s&p
Cook, stirring just until the garlic is fragrant (only about 1 minute)
Add broccoli and vegetable stock, turn heat down to low
Season with a little more s&p, cook until the broccoli is bright green & al dente and vegetable stock has reduced to about half
Add the nutritional yeast and stir everything together to make a sauce
If sauce is super thick and clumpy, add more stock (1 Tbsp at a time) until it’s thick and a little runny
Add the cooked squash and toss everything together.
Serve immediately
Get ready for a tastebud party

My Thoughts
First of all, I have never cooked spaghetti squash this way before.  I typically just cut the squash in half and let it cook.  I found that I really like roasting it this way.  It cooks a little more evenly. I’ll definitely use this method again.  As I watched the video tutorial, I copied down the recipe. Turns out, the recipe calls for red pepper flakes. I used red pepper powder.  Lets just say that the powder gives the dish a very powerful peppery punch that totally (in my opinion) makes the dish.   As I mentioned earlier, I left out the beans.  I typically avoid beans for the most part.  Sometimes my body just doesn’t do well with them.  Steak was a great sub.  Chicken would also work. Bacon… Really, any meat, I suppose would do. Or no meat.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

Have you guys tried nutritional yeast?  I know…I know, it sounds nasty icky gross.  BUT it’s actually not gross, and it’s packed with so much crazy goodness.  Basically it’s a deactivated yeast and looks like yellow flakes, kind of like fish food. It has a handful of vitamins and minerals, including some of the B vitamins, protein, and iron.  It’s actually used fairly regularly by  vegans and vegetarians for a little added nutrition. It has kind of a cheesy or nutty flavor.  I use it all the time when I cook, especially when cooking veggies.  It gives the dish just a little more flavor. I recommend trying it.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the cheesy fish flakes.

Overall, this dish is definitely a win.  With hints of cheese and spice, the steak and broccoli compliment each other quite well.  There is so much flavor going on that even the biggest critic will be ok trying it.  This has officially been added to my list of favorites.  It also reheats very well, which is a HUGE plus in my book.  Leftovers on leftovers.  Try it out, change it up, let me know what you think!

-TPP

Original recipe HERE

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls

 

 

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I have really been slacking lately with posting recipes.  I have been pretty culinarily (is that a word?) lazy.  I have a few recipes that I make over and over again AND I have been grilling the crap out of everything.  That being said, when my medic partner posted this recipe to my Facebook wall and said “Tuesday’s supper?”, I was all over it.  It’s nice to work with people who get me.  I was pretty excited about this one.  1. A new recipe.  2. A Paleo recipe.  3. You use the grill.  4. A perfect combination of protein and vegetables.  Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  So here we go.

Ingredients

For the steak:

8 thin slices sirloin or flank steak (length and width according to personal preference)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh rosemary, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin strips
1 medium yellow onion, halved and then thinly sliced
A few white button or cremini mushrooms, cut into thin strips

For the Rosemary Balsamic Glaze:

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dark balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dry red wine
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup Progresso beef broth

Instructions

1. Rub each side of the steak slices with a little extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chopped fresh rosemary.

2. Heat one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, seasoning with salt and pepper. 

3. Place a few of the vegetable strips vertically on one end of each steak cutlet so that once rolled up the end of the vegetables are sticking out of each end of the steak roll. Roll it up, and secure it with a toothpick (or 4). Repeat for each steak roll.

4. For the rosemary balsamic glaze: Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, red wine, coconut sugar, and the rosemary sprigs.  Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the broth, return to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 15 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs.

5. Prepare the grill.  Grill on each side for about 2 minutes or according to desired doneness. Do the same if cooking them in a skillet, frying over medium-high heat until done. Serve immediately drizzled with the rosemary balsamic glaze.

As I mentioned earlier, my medic partner and I made this at work.  This recipe is really easy to prepare.  You can also prepare it well in advance.  Great for people with busy lives.  Prepare it, roll it, chill it, then grill it later.I cooked my steak to a perfect rare/medium rare.  With a normal steak, you are able to cook both sides.  With this recipe, you can’t cook the inside of the roll.  My advice is to grill on a low heat for a while, then at the very end, turn up the heat for just a little crispness.  Make sure you keep a close eye on it.  These steak rolls could easily become just a little too crispy.

This dish is ridiculous!  You have the grilled steak.  You have the veggies.  And THEN there’s the balsamic glaze.  ALL.THE.FLAVORS.  The glaze is the icing on the cake.  The original recipe calls for brown sugar.  To make it Paleo, we opted to use coconut sugar instead.  On a sidenote, I’d be curious how real maple syrup  or molasses would be instead of the coconut sugar.  The rosemary, garlic, sugar combo makes your tastebuds super happy.  I was curious how the rosemary and sugar would be together.  Amazing, turns out.  I’m slowly learning about flavor layering.  To complete the meal, we grilled some asparagus on some tin foil with garlic, Kerrygold butter, and s&p.  The asparagus is also pretty tasty with the balsamic glaze on it.

Per Murphy’s Law, we were expecting to be bombarded with ambulance calls before, after, and during the making of this.  Luckily, we were able to prep the food, grill the food, and actually eat 3/4 of the food before the tones dropping.  I consider that a success.

Have I mentioned how much I love food? And people think that Paleo means only eating berries and seeds…  Now, go make this.  Sure to be a crowd pleaser.

**Disclaimer….there probably won’t be leftovers**

Happy eating!

Original recipe HERE20140527_175301

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

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So, I’ve had this butternut squash just hanging out on the counter for awhile.  I’ve really only made soup with butternut squash, so I was on the lookout for a new delicious recipe.  Then it hit me….roast it.  Duh.  Here is a crazy easy recipe for roasted butternut squash.

Ingredients
1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.
Toss butternut squash with olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Arrange coated squash on a baking sheet.
3.
Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

See how easy this is? Peel, chop, drizzle, cook, eat.

I was really happy with the way this turned out.  Definitely a fun side.  The squash was perfectly cooked.  I think that butternut squash has a hint of sweetness.  That sweet paired with the garlic and s&p is a winning combination.  Flavorful but not overwhelming.  I pan seared some chicken, butter, and Italian seasonings to have with the squash.  Quick and easy for those rushed evenings.

Try it out!

Happy eating!

Recipe HERE.

Mashed Beets

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Beets.  A pretty common root vegetable. Boil em, roast em, grill em.  Eat em cold. Eat em warm.  Beets are one of those VERY vibrant vegetables, so that means that they are crazy nutritions.  Folate, Manganese, Potassium, Vitamin A, as well as a plethora of other vitamins and minerals.

I have really grown to love them in the past year or two.  They’re like a delicious gem that I am only just discovering.  Now, if only I wouldn’t have been afraid of them on my school lunch plate back in 1st grade.  After making pureed parsnips, I thought hmmm….I wonder how mashed beets would be.  So, I went to the ol’ Google machine.  After reading through a few recipes, I found this one.  Simple. Perfect. Below is the recipe that I used, slightly modified to make it more Paleo.

Mashed Beets
approx. 2 servings

Ingredients
3 – 4 beets, cleaned and peeled, then cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 – 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream (add to your taste)
1 T. melted butter (optional)
1/2 c. finely diced fresh parsley (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions
1.  You could either boil or roast the beets.  If you boil them, just throw them in a pot of boiling water and cook until soft.  If you choose to roast, lay the beets across an oiled cookie tray and bake at 450 degrees until soft (roughly 30 min).
2. Once the beets are softened, transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add the milk gradually while you mash the beets, tasting as you go. Immersion blender, mixer, or food processor will do.
4. Add the butter and parsley and continue to mix.
5. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the dairy components if desired. I served this hot along with grilled fish.

My thoughts:

I chose to roast them. I typically prefer roasting vegetables because it takes a lot of the extra liquid out.  According to the author of the recipe, the boiling method removes a lot of healthy vitamins and nutrients. On the flip side, boiling is quicker.

I was really happy how this turned out.  The flavor was great, creamy and perfectly seasoned.  Really easy to make as well.  Cook,20140324_171116 mash, eat.  I ate the entire batch with dinner, but the author of the recipe claims that they’re also good cold the next day, straight out of the refrigerator.

So, beets are crazy vibrantly red.  They will turn your hands red.  Another interesting fact about beets is that they can cause beeturia…basically pink urine.  There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just how our bodies excrete the vibrant red pigment. No need to be alarmed.  You may just pee pink for a day or two.

Try it out.  You may find out that you in fact do in enjoy beets.

Happy eating!

Lindsay

Original recipe HERE.

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Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

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This past week,  I decided to try Bountiful Baskets for the first time. Have you heard of it?  Have you participated?  Bountiful Baskets if basically a group of people in all sorts of cities who have a produce co-op of sorts.  No employees, no contracts, just an affordable basket full of goodies.  You pay a small amount of money ($15 for me) and later that week, you pick up your basket.  I’m all about farmer’s markets and shopping locally, but I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about.  I do like Paleo on a budget as well.  I was actually quite pleased.  In your basket, you receive a plethora of fruits and vegetables (There area also add-ons that you can get like breads or cases of specific vegetables).  My basket included leaf lettuce, 2 large heads of celery, a pineapple, handfuls of apples and pears, 2 butternut squash, a few Anaheim peppers, kale, a sack of potatoes, and some tomatoes.  I think that’s it.  All in all, a tasty assortment of healthy goodness weighing around 30 pounds I’d say, all for $15.

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I’m pretty confident with figuring out how to cook with most of the fruits and vegetables that were in my basket.  One item, however, stumped me.  Anaheim peppers.  I’m not sure if I had ever had them before.  I certainly had never cooked with them.  Were they mild? Were they spicy?  I consulted with friends and the ol’ Google machine for answers.  First thing, I asked my friend Brandy, of The Grateful Chef, about the peppers themselves.  She said that they were a fairly mild pepper.  Perfect.  Next, I searched for recipes that included the pepper.  I found a handful of pretty tasty looking recipes.  This particular one caught my eye.  Ha, mainly because I had all of the ingredients.

 

Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Ingredients
10 Anaheim peppers
1 lb ground beef
Chili powder
Paprika
Oregano
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
Garlic powder
Kosher salt
About 1 cup of tomato-based salsa
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream, guacamole, and cilantro, to garnish

Instructions
1. Slice each pepper in half, and remove the ribs and seeds. Place the peppers cut-side up in two baking dishes.
2. Saute the ground beef until cooked through. Add a splash of water and season generously with chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, and salt.
3. Fill each pepper with a scoop of the ground beef mixture, and then top each with a scoop of salsa.
4. Cover the dishes with foil, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.
5. Remove the foil from the dishes. Sprinkle the peppers with the cheddar cheese and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
6. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and cilantro.

Ok, a few things.  First of all, this is the original recipe.  As usual, I did change it slightly.  Here are my changes as well as a couple tips.
1. I only had 5 peppers, so I went with 5 vs 10.
2. I used 2# of ground beef.  I like to have extras to put in my eggs in the morning.
3. I withheld the cheese and added nutritional yeast instead.  Nutritional yeast has a cheesy kind of flavor.  Lately, I’ve opted to add this to most of my food for that extra flavor.  I’m just starting to get into nutritional yeast.  It is full of protein as well as a handful of B vitamins.  It’s sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
4. Homemade or locally made salsa is best, but for simplicity sake, I used store-bought.  If this is the route that you choose to go, remember to check your labels.  Sugar and corn starch are notorious for sneaking their way into salsa.
5. TIP: If you’re not very keen on spice, make sure you remove all of the ribs and seeds in the pepper.  I accidentally left a seed which resulted a bite with some kick.
6. TIP: You may have noticed that there are not any measurements to go along with the spices.  If you don’t have a lot of experience cooking with these flavors, try adding 1 tsp at a time.  Start there, taste test then add more spice to your liking. With my 2# of ground beef, I probably added about 1Tbsp of each…give or take. I’m not very good at the measurement guessing game.

These peppers really are quite mild. Great flavor without all of the heat (unless, of course, you leave a seed in there).  Also, I really enjoyed the combination of flavors used to go into seasoning the meat.  I wouldn’t have thought to add coriander and oregano.  Spot on.  The nutritional yeast truly does add a hint of cheesy goodness.  Definitely a healthier option than your average cheddar.  Really, all in all, it’s a fun spin on the traditional stuffed pepper.  They’re also a little easier to eat.  To finish it off, add a little guacamole and a sprinkle of cilantro. You’re set.  These guys also reheat quite well.  I heated up a couple to go with my eggs this morning.  Tasty breakfast.

I highly recommend this recipe.  Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free.  Nutritious and delicious.  A perfect way to get a tasty combination of veggies and protein into your diet.

Happy eating!

-Lindsay

Original Recipe HERE.

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Pureed Parsnips

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Parsnips.  Ever heard of them?  Ever tried them?  Parsnips are a root vegetable, similar to a carrot.  Honestly, I told my husband they were white carrots.  He ate them (just a small VICTORY!!) They’re high in a ton of vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium.  My mom used to add them to pot roast, along with carrots, potatoes, and onions.  I’ve been eating these buggers for years.  A few years ago, a friend of mine made parsnip puree for a dinner party I attended.  I loved them.  Thought I’d try my hand at it.

Honestly, I just googled parsnip puree.  I love Epicurious so I used their recipe as a guide.

Ingredients
10 medium parsnips (4 pounds total), peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch-thick slices
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
1. In heavy large pot combine parsnips with enough cold water to cover.
2. Place over moderately high heat, cover, and bring to a boil.
3. Continue boiling until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
4. Drain.
5. Working in 2 batches, pureé hot parsnips, butter, and chicken stock until smooth.
6. Transfer to large serving dish, stir in salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

This recipe is really easy to make.  I do love easy recipes.  Ok, here is what I did.  First of all, I cut the recipe way back. I was only cooking for 1…not 10.  Peel the parsnips then chop them.  I chopped them as I would potatoes for mashed potatoes.  20 minutes due to the small amount of parsnips.  You know they’re ready when you can stick a for through them.  I drained them then put them into the blender.  It was the perfect amount.  Honestly, I guessed on the rest of the ingredients. Maybe 1 Tbsp of butter, enough chicken stock to make the parsnips creamy, and s&p to taste.  Blend and taste.  Blend and taste. Done and done.

I was thoroughly impressed at how these guys turned out.  They look like mashed potatoes and are velvety smooth.  Parsnips have their own distinct flavor, so there’s still a hint of the parsnip, but the chicken stock and s&p also add so much.  Husband didn’t even mind them.  (I don’t know if he would ever request them, but he said they’re not bad.)

I whipped these bad boys up to go with some roast I had in the slow cooker for hours.  Typically I add sweet potatoes, onions, and parsnips.  This time, I chose to puree them.  For sure happy with this decision.  I even had extra to heat up the next day.  They reheat quite well.

From my reading, parsnips are indeed Paleo, however they should be treated like sweet potatoes.  Super nutritious, yet super starchy. To be enjoyed sparingly.  Not an everyday kind of thing.

I definitely recommend this dish.  Great way to get your veggies in.

Original recipe HERE.

Happy Eating!

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Paleo “McMuffin”

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I have been seeing this recipe pop up quite a bit lately. Nom Nom Paleo’s Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin.” First thought, Oh buddy…pure perfection.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons ghee, divided (plus more for greasing the biscuit cutters)
¼ pound bulk raw pork breakfast sausage
2 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup water
1 heaping tablespoon guacamole (optional)

Instructions
1. Grab two stainless steel 3½-inch biscuit cutters, and grease the insides well with melted ghee. 2. Place one cutter on a plate and fill it with the sausage meat. (You can also easily make your own bulk breakfast sausage. Here’s Jen Cereghino’s recipe. I also have a Maple Breakfast Sausage recipe in my forthcoming cookbook.) If you don’t have bulk sausage handy, just cook up some bacon
3. Gently press the meat down to uniformly shape a sausage patty.
4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of ghee.
5. When the fat is shimmering, add the patty to the pan. If you really want the patty to keep its perfectly round shape, you can keep the mold on until the cooked patty shrinks away from the sides.
6. Clean the biscuit cutter and grease it again.
7. Fry the sausage about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. If your patty’s thick, you may need to cover the pan to make sure it’s cooked through.
8. Once the patty’s ready, transfer it to a plate.

Now, onward to the eggy “buns”…
9. Grab two small bowls and crack one egg into each
10. Pierce the yolks with a fork.
11. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining tablespoon of ghee. (Make sure you’ve got a tight-fitting lid for this skillet.)
12. When the ghee’s shimmering, place the two greased biscuit cutters in the pan and pour an egg into each mold.
13. Season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Add ¼ cup water to the skillet (outside of the egg molds), making sure not to splash the eggs.
15. Turn down the heat to low and cover the pan.
16. Cook the eggs, covered, for about 3 minutes or until cooked through.
17. Transfer the eggs to a paper-towel lined plate. One easy way to do this is to slide a spatula under the mold as you tilt it up while wearing a heat-resistant glove.
18. Assemble the faux-“McMuffin” by sandwiching the sausage patty in between the two egg rounds.
19. If you’re feeling old-school, you can eat the sammie as-is or wake up your palate with a squiggle of sriracha. But my favorite addition to this breakfast burger? A big dollop of homemade guacamole.
20. Once you’ve gussied up your “McMuffin,” pick it up and chow down!

That is the Nom Nom Paleo recipe.  Michelle does a fantastic job with her instructions.  She even included great step-by-step pictures.

Now, here is how I made my version. First, I placed a few slices of bacon on to a cooling rack that I placed on a foil lined baking sheet.  I threw that into a 400 degree oven.  I cooked that for oh, 20-30 minutes…until desired crispness.  Next, I opted to make pried eggs.  It’s basically a combination between fried and poached.  One of my very favorite ways to cook eggs.  Lastly, I whipped up a quick batch of guacamole.

This combination is really truly amazing.  3 of my favorite things into one little sammie.  It’s definitely a nutritious and delicious spin on the classic McCarbalicious you can get in the Raunchy Ronnie’s drive thru.  Honestly, I didn’t even miss the bread.  This took a little prep and pre-planning, but man oh man, it’s worth it.

Happy eating!

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