I wanted to give my readers a little peek into my kitchen. Just like everybody else, I am pressed for time in the kitchen. I do not use many processed foods, but I have a few things that verge on processed that I use regularly and don’t worry about too much. Maybe you will pick up a helpful hint or two and find ways to save time in the kitchen.
I have no issue purchasing prechopped vegetables. (Brussels sprouts sliced are pictured above.) I don’t always do it. A lot of times it depends on where I am shopping that week. They are a bit more expensive, but if that makes the difference between you eating them, and letting them rot in your crisper drawer, I say go for it! Trader Joe’s seems to always have some unique things available, but your local grocery has options. Explore! I frequently pick up cole slaw, broccoli slaw, butternut squash (in season), cauliflower, carrots & broccoli already prepped and ready to go.
There is nothing wrong with frozen veggies either, so use them if you want. (Frozen chopped purple sweet potatoes pictured above.) I found them at a local International foods market. I also found pureed purple sweet potatoes & chopped lemongrass in the frozen department. The labels are clean with no additional ingredients! Yay!
I use these onions (pictured in the canister above) from Thrive foods 90% of the time when I am cooking. Onions are in nearly every recipe I make with meat and veggies and it just saves so much time to use this product. I order this large container from Thrive, but you can get them at any grocery store or bulk food market. Just read labels to be sure you are buying a clean version. You simply throw the amount needed into some water and let them plump up a bit and they are ready to go.
Again, garlic is in most of my meat recipes so this is a big time saver. This product from Trader Joe’s is one of my favorites, but this kind of thing can be found at most groceries. Just check labels for icky ingredients. This one has California garlic and citric acid. I like that it comes in a small container and I quickly use it up, never have to worry about it going bad.
I try to keep a couple of these sausages on hand for quick meals. Again, Trader Joe’s has several different flavors available, but so do regular grocery stores. Make sure to look for Gluten Free and no MSG, you may find some additional sweeteners. These are great to slice up, heat and throw into a scramble, hash or salad.
I have said it before and I will say it over and over again: I LOVE PENZEY’S! (Tsardust Memories pictured above.) They have a wonderful catalog and website. Order from them, you won’t be sorry. Some of my favorite seasoning blends include Tsardust Memories, Breakfast Sausage Seasoning & Greek Seasoning. These are time savers because they are already premixed and perfect! You don’t have to grab 5 different bottles and measure out amounts when throwing together a 15 minute dinner. There are plenty of these types of mixes on your supermarket shelves (Steak Seasoning pictured above), just make sure to read labels and be sure they don’t sneak anything dirty into them.
Those are some of my most used “cheats” to getting meals ready quickly, but with lots of flavor.
Tonight’s dinner included a few of my shortcuts: sliced Brussels sprouts, Smoked Chicken Chardonnay Apple Sausage & Penzey’s Tsardust Seasoning. No specific measurements, I just sauteed the sweet potatoes & apples in coconut oil till tender, added the Brussels sprouts, seasoned with Tsardust Seasoning and added the sausage. The hubby grilled the sausages for a minute (along with some chicken breast for later in the week) while he watched the Rams game.
If you are a faithful reader from the beginning, I apologize, this is an old recipe. It needed a better picture and a little revamping! This is one of my hubby’s favorite dinners. Unfortunately, it is one of the least photogenic recipes that I make. No matter what I do, it still looks like a big lump of almond butter on chicken and vegetables! It is, however, very easy and has a ton of flavor! Using some chicken and some Paleo pantry stables, this is a quick recipe that seems to be popular with several husbands of some of my blog readers!
This is originally a recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking. If you haven’t checked out this blog, you should. It is genius. She cooked with a Crockpot everyday for a year, in 2008, and blogged the good, the bad and the ugly. Simple, yummy food. She also has a child that is celiac so the recipes are already gluten free, they don’t need much adapting to be Paleo! One of my most used blogs for recipes.
Almond Butter Chicken
1. Spray a 4quart slow cooker. Put the chicken into the bottom and add the almond butter.
2. Add cumin and garlic.
3. Squeeze in lime, and add soy sauce/coconut aminos and chicken broth.
4.. Stir as well as you can to combine (the almond butter will be clumpy, and that’s just fine).
5. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for about 4 hours.
6. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice and vegetables.
Other Asian inspired recipes to check out:
No amazing unique recipe creation today, but I put together a pretty great dinner and wanted to share the links with you.
The roast recipe came from Fast Paleo. It is very easy with only a handful of ingredients. I used leftover morning coffee, dehydrated onions & Trader Joe’s crushed garlic. I pretty much followed this recipe to a “T.” A lot of CrockPot meat recipes will advise you to brown the outside in a pan with oil first, to get a bit of sear on the outside. I agree that this step adds a nice touch, but I am generally trying to get things done as simply as possible, with few dishes to wash later. I love that this recipe didn’t require it, and it turned out juicy and delicious.
I just tossed the broccoli with a little coconut oil, salt & pepper and then roasted it as I finished up the potatoes.
Now, for the Smashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes. I pinned these little guys from Pinterest months ago, and just finally got around to making them. We really enjoyed them, but I would do a few things differently next time. I tried to see if I could get away without peeling them. They would have been better if I had followed directions. Basically, peel sweet potatoes and slice into thick even “coins.” Bake till they get kind of soft. Take a small drinking glass or jar and smash them. Then brush with coconut oil, sprinkle with spices. A little bit of sugar is going to help them caramelize and get a bit crispy. I didn’t use any sugar, and I enjoyed the texture. I sprinkled mine with cumin, cinnamon, salt, paprika and a little cocoa powder. The original blog post goes a bit spicy-er! Try it any way! They remind me a lot of these Sweet Potato Chews that I made a few months ago from Whole 9. Those tasted just like a toasted marshmallow.
Little tip: If you want to avoid the situation where your husband leverages the time you spend on Pinterest against you, make sure to do some great stuff around the house and let him know you “found it on Pinterest.” Problem solved. Like this dinner.
These Honey Ginger Chicken Bites (http://www.americanfamily.com/recipes/honey-ginger-chicken-bites/39823) looked pretty good to me and I thawed out a bunch of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. After I really got to looking at the recipe, though, it seemed really sweet. Then I got a bit busy (and lazy), decided not to cut them up into bites. Then Matt volunteered to grill. So, moral of the story, don’t be afraid to play with a recipe, unless it is baking. Then you should follow it.
I chose to make a lot of marinade and reserved about 1/4 of it to cook the veggies in. I just added some chicken broth to it, threw the broccoli and mushrooms in and simmered until the veggies were tender. Then I poured the sauce and veggies over the chicken. Lazy was the theme of the night, so I didn’t bother thickening the sauce at all, but if you wanted a more sauce-like than broth-like consistancy, you could use some arrowroot powder.
Ginger Honey Chicken
1. Mix honey, ginger, vinegar, coconut aminos, sesame oil and garlic in a large bowl. Reserve about 1/4 of mixture in a small container.
2. Add chicken and mix well. Let marinate for a few hours to overnight.
3. Grill chicken or bake in the oven (Try 425 degrees for 20 minutes.)
4. Meanwhile, pour reserved marinade into a wide pan with high sides and add about 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Add your choice of veggies, we used broccoli and mushrooms. Simmer until done.
5. Pour veggies and sauce over chicken. Serve.
My mom makes the BEST cole slaw, hands down. This one is pretty good and wildly different, so I don’t have to feel like I am cheating on my Mom. Creamy cole slaw is good, but you need some good mayo. This is easier and skips a couple of steps.
This recipe is heavily influenced by the Everyday Paleo cole slaw recipe. She must love cole slaw, too. There is a great recipe in the book (Get it, you will use nearly every recipe) and she mentions many variations throughout her blogposts. Check her out at www.everydaypaleo.com if you haven’t already. She is raising a family of 3 boys and it was the “first” paleo cookbook I got a hold of.
Mango Cole Slaw
1. Mix everything up in a big bowl and chill in the fridge. It tastes better after it sits for a while.
As one of my friends pointed out, it wouldn’t take much adjusting to turn this into a form of the Oriental Chicken Salad that is popular at a lot of big chain restaurants. Changing the oils to sesame, adding some soy sauce and throwing in some grilled or rotisserie chicken.
You could also take this in a Hawaiian direction with some pineapple and soy sauce/coconut aminos.
Or go crazy and add bacon. The point is to start with the base of cabbage and use what you have on hand to come up with a great slaw/salad. Even if you aren’t a great cook, start picking up interesting vinegars and oils on your trips to the store and doing some experimenting. They aren’t expensive and they keep for a long time in the pantry.
I planned to take egg cradles from Everyday Paleo (http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/04/20/easter-menu-smoked-salmon-casserole-easter-bunny-carrots-egg-cradles-tropical-macaroons/) to an Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning for the kids. I could only find one muffin tin, so 2 dozen egg cradles became 1 dozen egg cradles and an “egg pie.” Both were gobbled up completly with bunches of compliments on the sweet potato crust. As cute as the little individual cradles were, it was much easier to make an egg pie and a lot easier to clean up. So, here is the egg pie I made this morning with the leftover grated sweet potato from yesterday. I also threw in “too much” broccoli for the men in my house, but otherwise a yummy breakfast dish!
1) Coat pie plate with some coconut oil.
2)Mix grated sweet potato with the melted coconut oil. Press into the bottom and sides of pie plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3) Bake at 350-375 for 20 minutes
4)Remove sweet potato crust from oven. Sprinkle veggies in bottom of plate. Sprinkle Penzey’s seasoning over veggies.
5) Crack eggs on top of veggies evenly over the whole pie crust.
6) Sprinkle with chopped bacon.
7) Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes till eggs are your desired level of cooked.
(My broccoli was raw, so I just threw it in the oven while the sweet potato crust was baking. It didn’t take an extra step. Also, this egg pie was extra yolk-y because I needed 4 egg whites to make macaroons. The pie in the picture is 5 whole eggs plus 4 egg yolks.)