Wilted Spinach, Butternut Squash Salad

This tastes amazing. Let me start by saying that. This is a great option for a side dish now that it’s getting colder. It’s not quite a salad, not quite a veggie dish, but I’m still gonna call it a salad. 

Ingredients:

1.5lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 medium red onion, diced

1 bag of spinach

2 Tbsp olive oil plus 1/4 c set aside

1 tsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 c walnuts

1/4 c water

1/2 c red wine vinegar

1 small shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Ready? There are lots of moving parts, so read through before you begin. Ok? Let’s begin. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prep your butternut squash and red onion. 

  

  
Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. 

Pour onto a cookie sheet and arrange into a single layer. 
  
Place in oven. Roast for 40 min (toss around halfway through).

In a skillet, warm your 1 tsp of coconut oil (on low). 

Add walnuts and toast. 

Add coconut sugar and water. Allow to reduce. Stir occasionally and remove from heat once walnuts are “candied.” DONT BURN! 🙂

  
In your salad bowl, add red wine vinegar, shallot, garlic, dijon mustard, honey, and some sea salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/4 c reserved olive oil. 

  
Add spinach, walnuts, and squash/onion mixture. Toss. 

  

Adjust seasoning if you wish. I served ours with some simple chicken. 
  

This salad would be great with a little goat cheese. Speaking from experience here. Either way, Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Salad

This is my take on California Pizza Kitchen’s salad. I think mine tastes better, though. Hehe. (Just kidding, corporate attorneys!)

This salad blends roasted or grilled veggies with crisp, fresh lettuces for a yummy variety of textures, flavors, and temperatures. You can add meat to make it a meal, or serve it on the side of your protein. Either way, this is no boring salad. Use prepackaged salad mix to make this even easier.

Roasted Vegetable Salad (cut everything into roughly the same size for even roasting)
1 eggplant or about half a dozen baby eggplants: sliced or quartered, respectively
1 bunch of asparagus (cut off woodsy ends)
1 zucchini, sliced or cut into coins
1 bell pepper, slices
1 shallot, sliced
Fat of choice
Sea salt, pepper, Italian herb blend
1-2 bags of salad mix (you can use a simple blend, spring mix, or just spinach)
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prep veggies and make sure they are completely dry.

Place all veggies in roasting pan, mix with fat of choice and seasonings. Toss.

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Keep in oven until veggies veggies are nice and roasted. This may take between 30-45 minutes. Once veggies are cooked, remove from oven.

Arrange your lettuce or salad mix of choice on a serving tray. Top with roasted vegetables and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

I topped mine with a cayenne pepper pan-seared chicken breast cut into pieces.

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I also added carrot sticks and fresh broccoli florets before serving.

Vegetarian Option
Serve as-is without meat.

Primal Option
Add a good blue cheese. The flavors work together really well.

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!

Albondigas Soup

It was really cold when I woke up. I decided it was a great day for soup. Initially, I had planned to make a shredded beef stew. When I mentioned to my boyfriend that I had planned on making soup, he interrupted me and said,”Albondigas?” before I could even tell him what I was thinking. I paused for a minute, then said, “sure.” Since I need to get some reading done, I knew it was time to bring out the slow cooker. It was freezing when I went to the grocery store, but by the time I got the whole soup thing going, the sun came out. Ugh. Oh well. This soup is delicious. Just turn on your air conditioner. Whatever.

I will break this recipe down into its two components, the soup and the meatballs. I will provide variations at the end of the recipe.

Sopa

  • Broth (chicken, vegetable or beef)
  • Jar of diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • Celery, chopped
  • Carrots, sliced
  • Chard, julienned
  • 1 pasilla chile, diced
  • Seasonings to taste: Menudo or pozole mix, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika

Throw everything in the slow cooker. Let it be.

Albondigas

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-4 Tbsp. almond meal
  • Cilantro
  • Seasonings to taste: Menudo or pozole mix, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Layer a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper (optional).

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Form into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Place on cookie sheet and throw them in the oven.

The meatballs took about 30 minutes to cook. When I pulled them out, they did have a little bit of goop around them (from the fat I think). I just rubbed the meatballs against a paper towel to get that off (it was just unattractive).

Once the meatballs are done, throw them into the broth and allow them to simmer together until you serve it.

Top with sliced avocado, chopped green onion and cilantro.

Dinner’s Done (early, too!)!!!!

Variations: You can cook the meatballs in the slow cooker in the broth. I just wanted the meatballs to have a little more texture. That’s why I baked them. You can also cook them in a hot pan over the stove.

If you’re hosting vegetarian friends, leave the meatballs out of the soup. You’ll end up with a delicious Mexican-style vegetable soup.

For your non-paleo friends/family-Serve the albondiga soup as-is, over steamed rice, or with some tortillas.

Spicy Lemon Herb Chicken and Ratatouille

I impressed myself with this one. I had no idea what to make for dinner, and I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store after finishing my wod at RC Crossfit. I figured there would be something I could pull together from what I had at home.

The spicy lemon herb chicken was a no-brainer. I had plenty of chicken in the freezer and an abundance of fresh lemons in my fruit bowl (I left a bag of freshly-picked lemons at RCCF, have you been grabbing them??!). I knew I could bring the two together easily, but I had no idea what to do for a side dish. I looked at the vegetables I had in the fridge–leftover unadulterated eggplant from yesterday’s recipe, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and lonely little zucchini glared at me. Then it hit me, ratatouille!!

Today’s recipe is super easy. You can cook the ratatouille while the chicken is in the oven. I used chicken tenderloins so they cooked up super quickly. Enjoy!

Lemon Chicken

  • Olive oil
  • 5 chicken tenderloins
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Seasonings to taste: Garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper flakes (I use a blend from Sprouts), salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put a little olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange your chicken tenderloins. Season liberally then squeeze about half of the lemon juice over the chicken. Place in the oven. The chicken tenderloins took about 20-30 minutes. Halfway through, I flipped them, lightly seasoned the other side and squeezed the rest of the lemon juice over the chicken.

Ratatouille (The amounts I used are in the paragraphs, makes about 2-4 servings–two generous servings, four small servings)

  • Olive oil or other fat of choice (I have this amazing olive oil infused with garlic and this other amazing olive oil infused with basil.)
  • Eggplant (about 3 or 4 leftover medallions from yesterday’s eggplant recipe), diced
  • Zucchini (1 small little guy), diced
  • Bell Peppers (half of one green, though any color would be fantastic), diced
  • Carrots (half of a carrot, leftover from the chicken wrap slaw), diced
  • Tomatoes (one and a half), diced
  • Fresh parsley or other herb of choice (optional, I used about a Tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley)
  • Seasonings to taste: Garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, lemon juice

*There are a few ways to make ratatouille. I didn’t want my vegetables to turn into mush, so I went with the slightly more time consuming method. I will cover the other method in the variations.

Heat a pan with a little bit of your fat of choice. Grab a clean bowl to keep nearby.

Add your eggplant to the hot pan and season lightly with your Italian seasonings, pepper, and a little bit of salt.

We will be salting and seasoning the veggies throughout, so don’t oversalt or overseason. You just want the salt and seasonings to help bring out some of the moisture and get a little flavor on your veggies.

Once the eggplant is just slightly cooked, remove from the pan and place in your bowl. Set aside.

You may need to add more oil to your pan between veggies. Use your own discretion. Add the diced zucchini to the hot pan. Season lightly. The hotter your pan, the better color and carmelization you can get on your veggies. Once your zucchini is nice and carmelized, remove and place in the bowl with the eggplant you set aside.

Re-oil your pan if necessary, add your diced peppers and lightly season. Remove and set aside with the eggplant and zucchini once they’re slightly softened.

Repeat the above steps with your carrots. Once they’re caramelized, remove. Ideally, your carrots will still have a little bite to them.

Now, add your tomatoes to the pan and repeat. These should be heated the longest to fully break them down and almost create a sauce. Once your tomatoes have thoroughly mushed, add the veggies you had set aside. Season to taste. This was when I added a splash of lemon juice to impart some acidity to the dish and tie my ratatouille to my chicken.

Dinner’s done!! Enjoy.

Eggplant

It’s my last day off before school begins again next week. Tomorrow it’s orientation/collaboration between the professor, writing instructors and other TA’s I work with. It appears I will be on campus Tuesday-Friday this semester, but I may add on another class. I’m hoping I can juggle everything fairly efficiently this semester.

I decided to make this dish because I had leftover meat sauce from a zucchini pasta dish I made the other day. I really wanted to use up the rest before it went bad, so I bought an eggplant from Sprouts.

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • Ground beef
  • Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
  • Canned/jarred diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste

Heat pan with a little olive oil, and add ground beef and seasonings. When the beef is fully cooked, add the tomatoes, sauce and paste. If the consistency is too thick, add water. If it’s too thin, add more tomato sauce or paste. Add more seasonings to taste. Set aside.

Eggplant:

  • 1 smallish eggplant (I got  9 medallions out of mine)
  • Almond meal or coconut flour (I used coconut flour)
  • An egg (or two depending on the size of your eggplant)
  • Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and cut the ends off of the eggplant. I peel the eggplant every inch or so around it (sometimes I find the skin too tough to cut through).

Cut the eggplant into (approximately) 1/2″ medallions.

Lay them on a cutting board and salt them to bring out some of the moisture.

Meanwhile, set up your other ingredients. You’ll need an egg, mixed with a little water in one shallow bowl or dish and in another shallow bowl or dish, place your almond meal or coconut flour with a generous mix of your seasonings (distribute with a fork).

Dip you eggplant medallions into the egg, then into your coconut flour mixture. Place the “breaded” medallion onto a cookie sheet. Repeat.

Once you’ve finished “breading” your eggplant, drizzle with a little olive oil (to help with crisping) and place into the oven for about 20-30 minutes (flip medallions about halfway through the cooking time).

Top with your meat sauce, then dinner’s done!

*Note. This was my first time making eggplant with coconut flour. Initially, I was thrilled that it had a texture more like flour, but I found that too much coconut flour caked on the eggplant does not cook well in the oven. If I were to use coconut flour again, I would probably pan fry. Almond meal works great either way, but it imparts a grainy texture that I don’t always appreciate. Try both and see which you prefer.

Variations:

Cook on the stove top. Heat a pan with your fat of choice and pan fry the eggplant medallions. This will usually get them a little more crispy. But unless you feel like babysitting a hot pan, putting the eggplant in the oven allows you to get some other things done.

For your vegetarian friends/family: Simply use a meat-free marinara sauce. Just don’t add the meat.

For chicken: Prepare the chicken breast just as you would the eggplant for a delicious main course option (I would probably use a meat-free marinara sauce if I was eating the chicken). This would go great with zucchini pasta!