Pictured above: Golden Chicken served over sauteed cabbage and kale
I have been struggling to eat around some of my new dietary restrictions lately. Not a permanent situation, just healing up an unhappy stomach. Instead of dwelling on what I can’t have (coffee, chocolate & paprika), I am trying to focus on playing around with some new recipes. It is kind of working. Fortunately, 2 of my favorite bloggers (Stacy of Paleo Parents and Melissa of The Clothes Make the Girl) are following a similar plan right now, and both of them are blogging some of their frustrations and recipes. Stacy put together an amazing Pinterest board with links to recipes that are already egg/nut/nightshade/dairy/chocolate/caffeine/alcohol free or easily adaptable. I re-pinned some of those recipes and I am working my way through them.
This recipe was originally featured in Saveur magazine. Djej Besla – Chicken and Onion Tagine. Nobody at my house will remember that name, so it will affectionately be known as Golden Chicken. I doubt that Saveur magazine intends for anybody to throw this all in a Crockpot and cook it at once, but that is how things get done around here. When my kids are all grown up and out of the house I will buy a Tagine, brown each little bit of chicken perfectly and let it simmer over the stove while I pick the appropriate wine to accompany the meal. Until then, we will probably eat it this way.
This chicken is really beautiful when served. It is very tender in the Crockpot and has a pretty gentle flavor. If turmeric or saffron aren’t your usual cooking spices, don’t worry, it isn’t overpowering in this dish. You could also easily leave out the saffron, if it is hard to find or too expensive. Saffron is pricey but you don’t use very much an any individual dish.
This may be the most surprised I have ever been at how a recipe turned out. I am pretty sure I spent 32 years of my life hating beets and I just made a chili using beets instead of tomatoes. It was delicious.
Chili is one of my most favorite foods. I don’t even see it as a seasonally appropriate food, we eat it all year round. I used to really love chili (made with lots of beef and 2 or 3 different kinds of beans) topped with cheese, Frito’s corn chips & sour cream. My chili recipe has morphed over time to be bean-free and therefore Paleo. On occasion, I will still throw in a handful of Frito’s. They are still GMO corn and high PUFA corn oil, but they are gluten free. A girl’s gotta live. I can say that over time, it has become a lot easier to enjoy the chili plain without all the garnishes, so I don’t feel deprived at all.
We had not had chili in a while and the hubby was requesting it. Selfishly, I haven’t been making chili and other tomato based dishes lately because I have been trying to follow a nightshade-free diet to see if it would make any further improvements in my health (skin, digestion & otherwise). This is based on recommendations from Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser & Diane Sanfillipo and their respective blog posts and podcasts. The nightshade family includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers & eggplants. For various reasons, they have a tendency to be allergenic and inflammatory to the immune system, not for everyone of course, but enough that they are often listed on restriction & isolation diets. It is hard to make and then watch someone else eat your most favorite dish and not be able to partake.
I debated whether i could just make chili without using tomatoes, but quickly realized that the other huge component in chili is chili powder made of peppers. I figured it was a shot in the dark but through the magic of Google I was able to find a “nightshade-free chili” recipe. I still had my doubts. Keep the beef, onions & cumin. Ditch the tomatoes and chili pepper. Add beets & squash for color and texture. It sounded crazy! The results were delicious!
I simply made a few minor tweaks to this recipe I found from And Love It Too! Gluten and Dairy Free Living I used acorn squash instead of Hubbard. I think any kind of squash would do. I also did not puree it, I cooked it a bit in the microwave first, cut it up and let it simmer in the chili, which broke the squash down quite a bit. I also did not use Dry Basil or Cloves and instead used about 1 tsp of allspice. I was able to start a pot of our regular Chocolate Chili on one burner and pot of this chili on the other burner. Most of the ingredients were the same, so it was easy to saute, season & simmer them at the same time.
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:
I made a huge batch of these meatballs this week for an End of the Year school picnic. I had plenty for lunch leftovers and even stuck a few in the freezer for later.
Before we went Paleo, I made a burger with cinnamon, cumin, feta and apricots. It was one of my favorite meals. After a quick Google search I found a close Paleo match on Everyday Paleo, of course. http://everydaypaleo.com/2012/01/18/yummy-greek-meatballs/ I modified the original recipe a little bit, I never have chives on hand, we didn’t have lamb and I forgot to get parsley. I love feta, so I put it in there. If you are strict Paleo, leave it out.
Here is my take on meatballs with a bit of Mediterranean flavor. I doubled the recipe and had about 100 meatballs. Make sure that you use an ice cream scoop or a Tablespoon to make your meatballs uniform, so they cook evenly. This is one of those times that a little precision makes a big difference. I baked mine on a baking rack over a cookie sheet to catch all the dripping fat. Warning: 450 degrees is a pretty hot oven and with all the fat dripping it can get a little steamy/drippy/splattery. It only takes 15 minutes, but keep an eye on these as they bake!
1) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.
2) Shape meatballs with a scoop and roll them in your hands. I had about a 1-1/2 inch ball.
3) Place meatballs on a lightly greased baking rack that is resting on a baking sheet with sides to collect the drippings. (I greased the rack by pouring some olive oil on my hands and just rubbing the baking rack.)
4) Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they cook quickly and the splattering can get kind of hot and messy.
5) Cut into one to test.
I am calling this post Chocolate Chili because it gets your attention. It doesn’t have chocolate chips in it or anything, just some cocoa powder.
I decided to make this recipe about 5 minutes before dinner should have been ready. I had ground beef thawed out and that was about it. I had listened to an awesome interview with Melissa Joulwan (blogger and cookbook author) from www.theclothesmakethegirl.com on Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast. I loved her story about growing up cooking, battling her weight and coming around to being Paleo. Her new cookbook, Well Fed, is the next on my list to purchase. She talked a lot about cooking with spices and taking different flavor profiles from different cultures and applying them to paleo food. So, I clicked on beef and realized I had everything to make her chili recipe.
The hubby, the boy and I loved it. She points out that the flavors really come together if you simmer it for a couple hours. I only did about 15 minutes, but I think the leftovers are going to be amazing tomorrow!
Her original recipe can be found here:
The only changes I made were adding a cup of diced sweet potato, subbing chicken broth for beef broth & subbing 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground cloves for the 1 tsp of allspice. I was out of allspice.