Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mexican Ratatouille

Today I woke up wanting zucchini and squash, so I looked at some food blogs to get some inspiration.  I found a true ratatouille recipe, which sounded good, but then I remembered a tex-mex squash recipe that I bookmarked a long time ago and still haven't tried.  One thing that these recipes lacked was protein.  So, I decided I'd make my own recipe and hope that it turned out well.  So, here goes!  The pan is in the oven baking and I can hardly wait to dig in!

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
2/3 c. water
2 yellow squash and 2 zucchini, cut into coins (4 cups)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, chopped2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, diced (I used 1/2 of a Poblano to make it less spicy.  Missy doesn't like things "too hot")
3 tablespoons of butter
2 c. diced fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
2 cups total of grated pepper jack and cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Start by sauteing 1/2 of the chopped onion in 1 T butter in large skillet.  Add the beef and cook until brown.  Drain the fat and add the taco seasoning and 2/3 c water.  Cook until thick.  Pour meat in the bottom of casserole dish.  
Add 2 remaining T of butter to the pan.  Add onion, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, zucchini and squash.  Saute until onions are translucent and squash is soft about 10 minutes.  
Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook for about a minute.  Add the flour and stir until thick brown paste forms, about 1 minute.  
Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and stir until mixture thickens, which should happen in a couple of minutes.  Add the cream, sour cream and cilantro and remove from heat.  Stir to combine.  
Pour squash mixture over the meat in casserole dish.  Cover with cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cheating On My Primal Diet

Everything that I made with Debe on our baking day was non-primal except for the Thai Red Chicken Curry before I put it over rice. I kid you not, I gained 5lbs from one cheat day. 5LBS!! That's ridiculous. But so worth it. We made apple pie, chocolate chip cookies with a toffee flavor, coconut cream cheesecake with a chocolate shortbread crust, pork and cabbage potstickers, avocado eggrolls, pork lo mein and Thai red chicken curry. It was a fabulous day. The next day, when I woke up hurting all over from being on my bare feet for 10hrs, weighing in 5lbs heavier and doubled over with a tummy ache, was not so fabulous. Worth it? Absolutely.

I'll share my Thai Red Chicken Curry recipe with you since it was the least cheat-y. Thai curries are pretty basic: garlic, red or green curry paste (I prefer red), coconut milk, protein, veggies and Thai basil and/or cilantro. Add more curry paste if you like it spicier. Steeping some lemongrass in the coconut milk and broth adds a nice, bright note too.

WARNING: DO NOT USE CURRY POWDER INSTEAD OF CURRY PASTE! They are very different things. If you do, you'll end up with something closer to yellow curry, which is AWFUL and smells like feet.

So here's how I did it. I didn't have Thai basil, so I subbed regular basil and mint. (Got that idea from Cook's Illustrated.) It made a pretty good substitute.

Shelly's Thai Red Chicken Curry

1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp garlic
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 Tbsp red curry paste (I like it spicy!)
1/2 small onion, chopped small
1 large red bell pepper, large dice
1 can bamboo shoots, sliced
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped small, about 1/2" pieces
1/2 bag bean sprouts
2 cans coconut milk
1/4 c chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, sliced thin
1/2 tsp lime juice or 3-4 lime leaves, minced
1/2 c basil
1/2 c mint
1/4 c cilantro
Chile-garlic sauce to taste (I only added this because I ran out of curry paste.)

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat for 2 min. Add garlic and ginger, saute 1-2 min or until fragrant. Add curry paste and stir to combine. Add veggies and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Shake up cans of coconut milk before opening and pour into pot along with chicken broth. Bring to boil and stir in chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 3-4 min. Stir in lime juice or leaves and herbs. Add chile-garlic sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

This curry was the best I've made yet. The sauce was thick and, since I added cauliflower to the curry, I didn't need to serve it over rice or cauliflower "rice." It was even better the next day. This is one recipe that I will be craving on a regular basis. And that is surprising since I kind of just pulled the recipe out of my...hat.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I had been wanting some chocolate zucchini bread for a while. I tried to make Mom's recipe low carb, but it was having non of it. Turned out totally gross. I foudn this recipe on Healthy Indulgences. It is lower carb, because I used buckwheat flour. But it's very tasty. I used a little more zucchini than it calls for, because my first attempt just tasted like chocolate bread.

6 tablespoons melted butter
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup erythritol or xylitol
3/4 teaspoon stevia extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups nut meal (I used almond flour)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (buckwheat, millet, etc.)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon sea salt (I used kosher, because that's what I had)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini or grated and peeled and grated apple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x5 loaf pan well. Cut parchment paper to fit in pan. (I left it longer on the sides to use as a kind of sling.) Grate zucchini or apple and press between a dishcloth or paper towels to get out moisture. Whisk melted butter, eggs, whites, vanilla, stevia, and erythritol or xylitol. Beat until sweetener is dissolved. Melt chocolate in 30 second intervals in microwave. Scrape into batter and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients. Add zucchini. Beat well for 2 - 3 minutes. Scrape into pan. Bake for 1 hour, until top springs back when touched. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack for 1 hour. It freezes well.


I couldn't wait an hour for it to cool completely. I wanted a warm piece of chocolate zucchini bread with some butter. It did turn out great. I don't think I use the same size loaf pan this girl does, so mine didn't get very tall. I would recommend beating the whites and folding them into the batter, if you want more lift.

Happy eating!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins/Bread


I've been wanting some banana bread for a while, and have had several ready to use bananas in the freezer. I want to eat the whole loaf right now! It's delicious, nutritious, and very simple. The recipe is on Healthy Indulgences. Makes 10 muffins or 1 loaf.

4 tablespoons butter, room temp
1/2 cup erythritol
1 tsp vanilla
6 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 tsp stevia extract
1/4 tsp sea salt (I used kosher salt, because that's what I had)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat butter with erythritol until fluffy, about 2 -3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Combine coconut flour with baking powder, cinnamon, stevia, and salt. Beat into batter until there are no more lumps. Beat in mashed banana. Fold in nuts, reserving a couple tablespoons for sprinkling on tops. Pour batter almost up to the top of greased muffin papers (the shiny tins work best). Top with nuts. Bake 35 minutes (45 minutes for loaf), covering with a sheet of foil after 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 - 10 minutes. Move muffins from pan onto a cooling rack. When completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for 24 hours, then move to fridge.

The entire house will smell like banana bread for a while, but that makes it taste that much better. When I made this, I didn't beat the butter and erythritol long enough, so it didn't rise like it should. It still tasted good though.

Happy eating!

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

I'm finally posting this after a month, or so. I just made this again and remembered that I hadn't blogged about it yet. I found the recipe on Maria's Nutritious and Delicious Journal. It's an easy recipe that you don't have to stay in the kitchen for hours to make.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 - 10 ounce package frozen okra, thawed
2 links andouille sausage, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt (I used kosher salt, because that's what I had)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder (I used dried mustard, but I think it's the same thing)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ( I used ground red pepper)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups Contadina Thick and Zesty sauce
2 cups cauliflower rice

In a slow cooker, combine the raw chicken and all the remaining ingredients, except cauliflower rice. Mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours. Serve over cauliflower rice.

I do my cauliflower rice a little differently than what I've read. I pulse some cauliflower in the food processor, until it looks like rice. I then saute it in a skillet with some butter and olive oil. I add some dried thyme and oregano about halfway through. It takes on a slightly nutty taste, but it tastes so good.

Happy eating!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chocolate (Coconut Milk) Shake

I was really wanting something chocolatey, but I've decided to crack down on my cheating. Here's what I ended up having for lunch today. It's pretty tasty and loaded with good fats, antioxidants and protein. Have it alongside a mixed greens salad with a vinaigrette dressing and you've got a great and filling lunch.

2 Tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 c cold coconut milk
1 scoop unflavored whey protein isolate (27g protein in mine!)
1/3 c frozen berries or more
1-2 tsp honey (optional)

Mix the cocoa and coconut oil together in a small bowl and set aside.
In blender, puree coconut milk with protein powder and berries.
With blender running, add chocolate mixture. This should thicken up really quickly.
Sweeten to taste with honey or more berries.

Super yummy, protein-packed, dairy-free shake. As it is, with 2 tsp honey, this shake is 657 cal, 30g carbs, 50g fat & 31g protein. So a pretty hefty calorie load, but super satisfying. To lighten it up a bit, you can certainly use lite coconut milk, cut out the honey and use only 1 Tbsp coconut oil. That will take the calorie load down to less than 400.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Something For Fall

It's September, school has started and even though fall hasn't officially started yet, the weather here has turned cooler. And cooler weather makes me want fall-type foods like pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. So I made something that turned out to be kind of a hybrid. The recipe I used called it bread, but the middle, even when fully baked, was still a bit creamy like pie filling. It was amazingly delicious. I've made it twice in the past couple weeks and it disappeared pretty quickly both times. The second time, I made some spiced maple cream cheese frosting to go on top and we sprinkled toasted pecans on the top as well.

Pumpkin Pie Bread

1/3 c coconut oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c honey
4 tsp xylitol

1 1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
1/4 c coconut flour
1 c almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 pan.
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, cook down the pumpkin 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This is to remove some of the liquid and concentrate the flavor.) Transfer pumpkin to large bowl to cool. Stir oil, maple syrup, honey and xylitol into pumpkin. Once pumpkin has cooled to just warm, whisk in eggs and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Dump over pumpkin mixture and stir together.
Pour into greased pan. Bake 45-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out fairly clean.
Allow to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp maple syrup, or more to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Cream all ingredients together and dollop on top of pumpkin bread.