Monday, April 30, 2012

Italian Sausage and Eggplant Strata

This dish was compared to both Lou Malnati's pizza by one of my favorite taste testers, Coach Katie at RNCF. I think it is because the spices used are almost exactly what goes into a pizza. The eggs baked into the sauce give it a creamy, almost cheesy flavor, and the sausage has just enough bite to kick up the eggplant slices. This is a recipe that saves incredibly well. I thought the flavors were even more developed and tasty on day 2 of leftovers.

Here is what you need:
  • 3 1/2 lbs eggplants (about 2-3)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons Italian sausage seasoning
    • A batch is 4 teaspoons dried parsley, 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons paprika, 4 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed.
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 large basil leaves, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Cover 2 baking sheets with foil and brush a 13x9 baking pan with some of the melted coconut oil.
  • Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/2 inch thick and place on baking sheet. Brush the eggplant with the remaining coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 mins then remove from the oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven temp down to 350 F for the next step of baking.
  • While the eggplant is roasting, crumble the ground pork into a large mixing brown and add the Italian sausage seasoning and knead until blended.
  • Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the pork into the pan, break it up into large chunks with a wooden spin, and cook until browned (about 7-10 mins). Remove the meat to a bowl and return the pan to the stove.

  • Reduce the heat to medium, then add 1 tablespoon of coconut oik and the garlic to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of fresh basil. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce then to a simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper and salt if needed and remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature **NOTE: It took longer than expected for the sauce to cool, I would do this step FIRST next time. :)

  • When the tomato sauce is cool, whisk the eggs in a small bowl then blend into the tomato sauce. This will not look appetizing, but keep going and trust.
  • Place a single layer of eggplant in the bottom of the greased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle half the cooked meat on top of the eggplant, then top with 1 1/3 cup of the sauce. Repeat with another layer of eggplant, the rest of the meat, and 1 cup of the sauce. The final layer with eggplant and the remaining sauce.

  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Before serving, lightly brush the top of the strata with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining basil.


Recipe adapted from Well Fed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chewey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

When my boyfriend broke his finger and the doctor told him he would have to take some time off from sports and the gym, he was sad. Really sad. Like, probably more sad than a person who breaks his finger ever should be. Luckily, he has me to tell him to man up and eat a cookie. Chocolate chip cookies are always the answer when you are sad....and bacon but we've already talked about that a lot.

This recipe produces fluffy chewy cookies. I used chocolate chunks that I had at home (Enjoy Life brand is gluten, dairy, and soy free) but next time, I think mini chocolate chips would be better for more even chocolate distribution within the cookie. If you like a more crisp cookie, I would skip this recipe. Unlike traditional cookie dough, where the longer you bake them the more crunchy they get, these just burn.

Also, watch the oven closely! I made two cookie sheets worth and one came out perfect, the other was slightly burned on the bottom. I am not sure if the cookie sheets conducted heat differently/faster or what...but stay close to the oven because burnt almond flour is bitter!

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil,
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 3 cup Almond Flour


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine dry ingredients


  • In a small mixing bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.

  • Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until combined.

  • Melt coconut oil, pour into batter, and continue to blend until combined.

  • Stir in chocolate chips.

  • On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop balls of cookie dough, about a tablespoon in size.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Let cool and serve with coconut milk.

Recipe from Primal Palate

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hawaiian Meatballs

I know, I know, you are probably thinking I have gone off the deep end by making a pork meatball with pineapple and coconut. Stay with me! These meatballs seriously blew my mind, and you can quote me on that! I took one out of the oven while it was baking to test it's 'done-ness' and ended up eating 2 more straight our of the oven, burning my mouth and risking food-borne illnesses in the process. I know this combination sounds weird, but seriously do yourself a favor and try them. Your belly will thank you. Think of it as a porky pina colada, what can be better than that!?

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded (unsweetened) coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, sugar free (packed in its own juice)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeds/ribs removed, finely minced (if you like spicy, use more. in my opinion this was not spicy enough)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 lbs groung pork

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Heat a large non-stick skillet over mediu-high heat and add the coconut. Toast, stirring often with a spoon until golden brown, about 3 minuted. Remove from  heat and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Set aside to cool.  
  • Drain the can of pineapple in a sieve placed over a bowl to catch the juice. Press the pineapple against the sieve to get all the juice out. Place the pineapple in a large mixing blwn and save the juice for later
  • In the bowl with the pineapple add 1/2 teaspoon salt, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, scallions, jalapeno, eggs. Beat with a spoon until combined. Crumble the pork into the bowl and mix with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated.

  • Arrange the bowls of pineapple juice, spiced coconut, and seasoned pork for easy access. Measure a tablespoon of pork to make a meatball. Lightly douse the meat in the pineapple juice, then roll it in the coconut. Press the coconut into the meat by lightly rolling in your palms. (don't use too much coconut). Line up the meatballs on a baking sheet about a 1/2 inch apart.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes
  • Pretend you are in hawaii on a sandy secluded beach....and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mediterranean Broccoli

You're still hungry? Good, I've got more from my little paleo kitchen for you. How about some broccoli? This is so quick and easy to put together and it is good for you, too! Bake some chicken breasts and mix a small salad and you have the easiest weeknight meal you could imagine (takeout doesn't count)!

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lb fresh broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • In an large pan, bring the water to a boil over high heat, Add the broc, cover, and steam until tender. This should take about 4-5 minutes. Drain the broccoli and set aside.

  • Dry the pan with a paper towel and then heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, and oregano. Saute until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes begin to pop. Add the broccoli, paprika, salt, and pepper and tomato paste and stir to combine. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until heated through.
  • Enjoy!

Cinnamon Beef Stew with Orange Germolata

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! I love stews, and this one has become my go-to. Since originally trying it, I have remade it twice. I absolutely love the warm, mellow flavors of this stew, paired with the bright, fresh germolata garnish. I recommend making this on a Sunday night, when you have a little more time as it has has to simmer for 90 minutes. The germolata is great left over sprinkled on scrambled eggs or a salad, just make sure to eat it within a few days of preparing...if it lasts that long! If you make a double batch, this will freeze well also. Just make the germolata the same night you decide to defrost and enjoy!

Here is what you'll need to hunt/gather:
  • 2-3 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 in cubes
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3-5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
For the Germolata:
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves (flat Italian), finely minced
  • zest from 1 orange
  • leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. In a large, deep pot heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the meat in batches and sear on all sides. Don't crowd the pan or you wont get that crispy brown crust. Remove the browned pieces and put into a bowl to catch their juice. Don't cook the beef all the way through or it will be dry in the stew. Don't worry, it has 90 minutes to cook later!
  • In the same pot, saute the chopped carrots, celery, onion, and garlic for a few minutes, stirring the whole time. Add the tomato paste and stir for another minute
  • Add the broth and the vinegar and stir, stir, stir! Be sure to scrape the yummy browned bits off the bottom of the pan, that's pure flavor! Keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken.
  • Put the meat and its drippings back into the pot. Add 3 cups of water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage, and cinnamon sticks.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 90 minutes. Partially cover the pot. If you check on the stew and it seems like it needs more water, add a half cup at a time. I did not need to do this.
  • Your meat will become tender and the liquid in the pan will reduce to a gravy-like consistency

  • During the last 20 minutes of the stews cooking time, make the gremolata. In a small bowl mix all the ingredients. Simple as that.
  • Remove the cinnamon sticks, herb stems, and bay leaves from the pot before serving. Serve in a deep bowl, top with the germolata and a little drizzle of olive oil.
  • recipe from Well Fed
  • Enjoy!