Sides and Snacks

I was planning to share a stuffed bell pepper recipe yesterday, but I’ve opted for something simpler (for my own sake). Next week I will be in Northern California for some research and I was so busy taking care of last minute stuff. I’ll share two simple sides with you today: Lemon broccoli with shallots, and fruit salad.

I’ll start with the fruit salad. During the summer, I don’t have much of an appetite, and I don’t care for much cooking that involves heat (unless it’s outdoor grilling). As a result, during the summer, I like to prepare a fruit salad on Friday nights and then munch on it all weekend. It’s a quick snack and since it’s already made, just serve and enjoy!

Fruit Salad
(Only suggestions! You can add or eliminate fruits to suit the tastes of your guests, just cut everything into roughly the same size chunks)
-Half a baby, seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
-1 whole pineapple, cut into cubes
-1 granny smith apple, diced
-1 gala apple, diced
-1 cup sliced strawberries
-Handful of raspberries
-Juice from half a lemon

Throw all ingredients into a storage bowl or a serving bowl and mix. Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent apples from turning brown.

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I know some people like their fruit salad with some kind of creamy sauce. Here’s a simple one:

-Cream from one can of coconut milk
-Zest from a whole lemon
-Drizzle of honey (optional)

Mix all ingredients and serve over your fruit salad.

Lemon Broccoli with Shallots
-2 medium broccoli crowns, cut into florets
-1 shallot, sliced thinly
-Juice and zest from one lemon
-Sea salt, pepper
-Fat of choice

Heat your fat of choice in a large skillet or wok. Add shallots and allow to caramelize.

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(Excuse the not-so-great picture)

Add broccoli, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Heat until broccoli is slightly tender, but still has a bite to it. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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This broccoli dish would go wonderfully with steak, chicken, or shrimp. Enjoy!

Broccoli Variations
-Mix all ingredients, place on a cookie sheet, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees F.

Mexican Chicken Salad

This is another super simple recipe that is great for the summer–especially since there is NO cooking involved! Yay! That’s right. This super light and super easy semi-homemade dish is great for picnics, weekends, or outings. This dish transports easily and only gets better after sitting in the fridge for a few extra hours. Use pre-cooked shrimp, rotisserie chicken, or chicken leftovers. These little shortcuts will keep you out of the kitchen and in the pool (mojito not included).

Mexican Chicken Salad
-1 onion, finely diced
-1 bunch of green onion, finely chopped
-1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
-1 cucumber, peeled, finely diced
-1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
-3 small tomatillos, finely diced
-3 jalapeños, cut away membrane, remove seeds and finely diced
-1.5-2 lbs of cooked, clean shrimp (no tails) or one whole rotisserie chicken (remove all the meat from the bones and do a rough chop)
-Juice from one lime
-Sea salt, menudo mix, pepper
-Avocado halves

Throw all of your prepped veggies into a large mixing bowl. Add meat and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper, and menudo mix as necessary.

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Serve the salad in lettuce leaves, cabbage leaves, bell peppers, or in avocado halves!

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Would work well as an appetizer, too!

Enjoy!

Semi-Homemade Cilantro Lime Chicken

When I was at Sprouts the other day, I came across this package of shredded chicken in the meat section. Normally, I wouldn’t bother, but since it was essentially chicken breast, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, I decided to give it a try.

Cilantro Lime Chicken
-16 oz of shredded chicken
-Juice from 2 limes (or one lemon and one lime)
-Cilantro, trimmed
-Garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder, paprika, cayenne pepper
-Green salsa (optional, I like Trader Joe’s green salsa)
-Fat of choice

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Too simple. Throw everything in a pan and heat through. I added green salsa to mine while in the pan since it seemed a little dry.

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Variations
Don’t have the package of shredded chicken? Bake in the oven or use your slow cooker. Just make sure your raw chicken is thoroughly seasoned before placing in the oven or slow cooker. You can shred the chicken later (if you want).

I made mine into a simple salad with some salsa “dressing”

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Egg Muffins

Baked eggs, egg muffins, egg cupcakes–this simple, portable snack has a variety of names. While I refuse to call them egg cupcakes (cupcakes are supposed to be sweet, no? I can’t trick myself) these little suckers are easy to make and you can eat them cold. They’re versatile, too.

Egg Muffins (makes 6 regular size muffins)
-4-6 eggs (depends on how much filling you use)
-Purple Kale, torn into bite size pieces
-Green onion, chopped
-Mushrooms, minced
-Fat of choice
-Seasonings to taste: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cayenne pepper, pepper
-Meat of choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Grease a muffin tin with your fat of choice. Add your veggies to the greased muffin tin–filling each about halfway.

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In a measuring cup with a spout or lip, mix your eggs with your seasonings. Use the spout to help you pour your egg mixture into the muffin tins.

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Bake until eggs are thoroughly cooked. Don’t trust my times. I tend to like my eggs overcooked.

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Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup

Paleo Vegetable Soup

This recipe is quick and easy. You can also modify it by adding meat if you’d like to make it a one-pot-meal. It was really cold and rainy yesterday so I threw this together and served it with some oven baked chicken breast.

You will need:
-About 3 cups of tomato sauce (I used Pomi strained tomatoes)
-2 cups of vegetable, chicken, or beef broth (I would base my broth selection on my meat)
-Lots of veggies–I used a zucchini (sliced), bell pepper (diced), a quarter of an onion (diced), a tomato (diced), red chard (julienned), a small broccoli crown (just the florets)
-Fat of choice (to sauté veggies)
-Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper

In a large saucepan, or small pot, heat your fat of choice before adding vegetables (minus the tomatoes, we’ll add them later).

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Begin to add seasonings before adding tomato sauce and broth.

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Add tomato sauce, broth, and your diced tomatoes.

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Allow soup to simmer. Check seasonings before serving.

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I might be biased, but this is better than anything you’ll find in a can.

Variations
-For your vegetarian/vegan friends: serve as is (use vegetable broth); add beans to make a minestrone.
-For your carnivore friends: add beef, Italian sausage, or chicken basil sausage; for the beef, add with the veggies and allow to cook through before you add broth and tomato sauce (so you can check for seasonings); for the sausages, cook the whole sausage thoroughly, slice, then add to the soup before serving.

Enjoy!

Turkey With Veggies

At the core, paleo meals are just protein, veggies and healthy fat. Stir-frys and slow-cooker meals are the simplest ways to get your paleo on.

I could have easily called today’s meal “Lazy Day Paleo Take 2,” but, alas, I didn’t. The variations for this meal are limitless. Just swap out the meat and/or veggies.

Turkey With Veggies
-Turkey Cutlets
-Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
-Collard Greens, julienned
-Shallots, sliced
-Bell Pepper, diced
-Seasonings to taste: garlic powder, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper
-Parsley, chopped (optional)
-Cooking fat of choice
-Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season your turkey cutlets. Set aside.

Heat your far of choice in a large skillet. Throw the shallots and mushrooms in the pan and caramelize. Add bell peppers and collard greens. Allow the greens to soften a bit.

Move the veggies so the side of the pan. Place the turkey cutlets in the skillet. Allow them to develop a nice sear. Make sure other side is seasoned before flipping again. You may choose to deglaze your skillet with an acid of some sort. Mix the veggies with the turkey (desegregate your plate) then throw in the oven until turkey is completely cooked.

Enjoy! Dinner’s done.

Variations: Change your meats and veggies. Adjust your seasonings. My bacon-loving friends can add bacon to the veggies. You are only limited by your own imagination. The second photo is most of the same veggies with strips of steak.

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Chicken Salad Wraps

Today’s recipe is Part 2. Essentially, this is something to do with your slow-cooker chicken leftovers. When I was a vegetarian, I used to love veggie chicken salad sandwiches. I could eat them incessantly. My goal was to capture the favors of the garlicky chicken salad I loved and transform it into a paleo lunch/snack. Essential to this recipe was the making of my very own paleo mayo. This is the hardest part, and it wasn’t too bad. Hope you enjoy!

Paleo Garlicky Mayo (makes about 1 cup. Maybe a little less)
-1 egg
-1 cup olive oil
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
-2 garlic cloves
-1 tablespoon of organic mustard (check ingredients)
-Cayenne pepper
-Salt
-Pepper
-Juice from half a lemon
-Green onion, chopped
-Optional seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder)
Ok, this seems like a lot of stuff (read: a lot of effort) for mayo, but it was surprisingly easy. Throw everything into a blender except the lemon, green onion and olive oil.

Start your blender on low and very slowly add your olive oil. My blender was on so long I thought it was going to die on me. Add your olive oil slowly!! Too fast and it won’t emulsify properly. When all the olive oil is added, transfer your mayo into another dish. Tada!! Basic mayo.

For the purposes of our chicken salad, add the chopped green onion and some lemon juice to brighten up the flavor. Check for salt and pepper. Add additional seasonings if you wish.

For the wraps, I mixed about a teaspoon of mayo (a little goes a long way) with leftover slow-cooker chicken pieces. I added cherry tomatoes and diced red bell pepper. I served over red leaf lettuce leaves and topped with avocado.

Enjoy! Dinner (or snack) is done!

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Slow-Cooker Chicken

Today I threw a chicken in my slow cooker. It’s really simple and it’ll always be delicious. Extra points for tricking yourself into thinking you have a live-in chef when you come home to an awesome smell and dinner waiting.

You will need
-1 uncooked chicken (Trim off what you find disgusting)
-Lots of herbs and spices (I essentially used half of what was in my spice cabinet. You can go with different themes to help you season it.)

Place your chicken in your slow cooker upside down. Season liberally. Flip it over. Season liberally again.

That’s it.

When your chicken’s done, serve with veggies, over salad, or use the chicken in your favorite recipe.

I’m planning on making chicken salad in avocado cups later. Recipe will follow if it comes out well.

Variations: Throw veggies in the slow-cooker with the chicken. Carrots, onions and parsnips work well.

Add chicken broth or vegetable broth with your seasonings.

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Nopalitos con Pollo

Ok, so I lied… One more chicken recipe (I swear I’m not a one-trick pony). I just made this at the last minute because I thought we were buying dinner, but that didn’t end up working out. This recipe is super simple–chicken and cactus (nopales).

What is that my friend? You’ve never had nopales before? I can’t say I’m surprised. Entonces, dejame ayudarte (“Well, then let me help you,” for my monolingual friends). Cactus may sound weird or exotic, but it’s just another veggie–and super simple and versatile, too.

Nopalitos con Pollo (This made about 2 servings)

  • Chicken breast, cut into strips (My package had about .65 lbs)
  • 1 small bag of fresh cactus/nopalitos (most readily available at Latin markets)
  • 1 can of Mexican tomato sauce (I used El Pato)
  • Seasonings to taste: Menudo or pozole seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
  • Garnishes: Radishes, cilantro, green onion

In a large saucepan, bring salted water to boil (enough to cover all your nopales). When it comes to a boil, add your nopales. Let you nopales cook in the boiling water. They will change color and texture. They will also get slimy. No frets, we will fix this.

When your nopales are finished cooking, strain them in a colander. Rinse with cold water to get the slimy stuff off and allow as much of the excess liquid to get off.

In another large saucepan, bring your tomato sauce and seasonings to simmer (check for taste before you add your chicken). Add your chicken pieces and allow your chicken to boil in the sauce. When your chicken is almost done, add the drained nopales. Allow your nopales to cook in the sauce, and allow your chicken to fully cook.

When everything’s finished cooking, serve and top with sliced radishes and chopped cilantro and green onion.

Dinner’s done!

 

Blueberry Crumble

Today was an incredibly busy day. Well, maybe not so much, but it felt like it. I began this morning with the olympic lifting class at RCCF then stayed for the metcon then finished off the day with a nice paleo potluck (Thanks again to Matt and Tamara for hosting!)

I wasn’t initially sure what kind of dish to take to the potluck. After my workout, though, I had no interest in going to the store (a recurring theme?) and really just wanted to rest. I decided I would go to the store later. I forgot, however, that I had maintenance coming over to make a few minor repairs–therefore hindering my ability to go to the store. I decided to make a dish with what I had on hand.

I had frozen blueberries. Lots of them. And almond meal. Bingo, blueberry cobbler. I skimmed a few recipes online for paleo blueberry cobbler, but they all had egg. Normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but I had just eaten our last eggs with some salsa for lunch. Coupled with my inability to go to the store between the hours of 12pm and 3pm, I knew I had to improvise. Not having the egg necessary for a cobbler, I decided to opt for a lower-maintenance crumble. Enjoy! This tastes like the top of a blueberry muffin without all the extra guilt. This would also go great over some paleo ice cream.

Blueberry Crumble

  • 1 small bag of frozen, unsweetened blueberries (let thaw and drain the excess liquid)
  • About 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1-2 Tbsp. almond butter
  • About 1/8c. – 1/4c. coconut flour
  • About 1/4 c. almond meal
  • About 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or 2 Tbsp. organic, unsalted butter (softened)
  • About 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • About 2 tsp. pure almond extract
  • Lots of cinnamon
  • Drizzle of honey and/or agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix everything except the blueberries into a baking dish. Break down the coconut oil or butter and the almond butter.

Add the blueberries and mix into the almond meal/coconut flour mixture. Add more cinnamon, honey and/or agave if you desire.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Hard to really say. I pulled mine out just before my blueberries burst.

Dessert’s done!!