Category: Main Dishes

02 May 2020

Loaded Buffalo Chicken and Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole

I posted a recipe similar to this a while back and it has become somewhat of a family favorite so I decided to do a revamp.  This time around I amped up the flavors in the sauce and added sliced red onions and bacon.  Just a few tweaks took this average casserole and transformed it into an amazing one!  (There’s just something about bacon that makes everything taste better!!)  

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil, for roasting vegetables
  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into larger cubes
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into chunks or shredded
  • 4-6 slices of uncooked bacon, cut into pieces (I used Applegate Organics Uncured bacon)
  • 1-1½ cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand)
  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach, torn into larger pieces (optional)
  • ½-¾ cup Primal mayo (or other approved mayo)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (optional)
  • 1-1½ tsp oregano
  • 1-1½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.  Place the sweet potatoes and red onion onto the pan.  Drizzle with the avocado oil, toss together and season with salt, pepper and half of the oregano, garlic powder and paprika.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking time.  (It is not necessarily for these to be completely tender as they will go in the oven a second time.)
  4. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, hot sauce, mustard, honey and remainder of the spices.  Set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, add the cut-up chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and onions, spinach and half of the shredded cheese.
  7. Pour the prepared buffalo sauce over the top and gently stir.  Place into a greased 9×13 casserole dish.
  8. Distribute the bacon pieces over the top and sprinkle the remaining cheese over entire casserole.
  9. If desired, shake some smoked paprika over the cheese for a touch of color.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until bubbling and warmed completely through.
08 Apr 2020

Spaghetti Squash Tuna Casserole

I think most of us know by now that spaghetti squash makes a great substitute for pasta.  Well, this tuna casserole is no exception.  If you grew up with the “classic” tuna casserole (noodles, cream of mushroom soup, tuna and canned peas), then this casserole will bring back old memories but with a new and healthier twist! 

Note:  I happen to love ginger so any opportunity I can take to add it to a dish, I will!  If you don’t have fresh ginger, substitute a teaspoon or so of ground ginger or there is always the option of omitting it all together. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded
  • 3 small sized cans of tuna (wild caught variety)
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • ½ cup approved mayo (made with avocado oil)
  • 2 Tbsp dijon or brown mustard
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1-1½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
  • ½-¾ cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil, for sautéing
  • ½ tsp salt (I use Redmond’s Real Salt)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 cups grated parmesan cheese (or cheese of choice)
  • chopped chives, garnish

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the spaghetti squash.  Carefully slice squash in half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in glass casserole pan, face side down.  Add a small amount of water to the pan.  Bake for about 40 minutes.  Check doneness by poking with a fork.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. Using a fork, remove the squash from the shells with long strokes to create strands.  You can do this into a separate bowl or directly back into the casserole pan (making sure there is no remaining water and that your pan is sprayed or greased).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tuna, mayo, mustard, green chilis, grated ginger, garlic powder, half of the salt and pepper.  Mix and set aside.
  5. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in the onions, and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and ginger and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk, flour and spices to the skillet.  Whisk together with the onions and mushrooms.  Allow this to cook so the sauce can thicken.
  7. Add sauce in with the tuna mixture.  Stir to combine.
  8. If spaghetti squash is in a bowl, add it to the prepared casserole pan.  Layer the peas over the top of the squash.
  9. Pour the tuna and sauce mixture over the squash and peas.  Spread evenly over entire pan.
  10. Lastly, spread your cheese over the top and sprinkle with a little extra paprika.
  11. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or when casserole is bubbly and warmed through.  I made mine in the morning and put it in the fridge until evening.  In this case, it will take longer to bake than if your ingredients are still somewhat warm.
  12. Allow to sit briefly before cutting.
26 Feb 2020

Italian Turkey and Vegetable Soup

Did you know there was a National Soup Day?  Yep, February 4th was officially National Homemade Soup Day!   Of course, I think every day is a great day to celebrate soup.  And the best thing, even an “average” cook can pull off a great soup! 

There are just a few notes I would like to share for this soup recipe:  1) The ACV is optional.  It adds a nice little zing and contrast to the heat undertones which I happen to like.  It also pairs nicely with the tomato base of the soup.  2)  I thickened my soup with 1-2 tsp of arrowroot flour.  I added a little too much broth and  I prefer a thicker, heartier soup. I simple scooped out about ¼ cup of the soup broth, whisked in the arrowroot flour and then stirred it back into the soup when it was at a low boil.  3)  You will notice that the last picture shows that I added some Shirataki noodles.  If you are not familiar with these, they are a gluten-free/grain-free option for pasta.  They are made from the Japanese konjac yam and are translucent and gelatinous in texture.  They come packaged in a fishy-smelling liquid but don’t let that scare you.  Just drain, rinse and they are good to go.  No need to cook them so add them at the end.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-1½ lbs organic ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • ½ large red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ can tomato paste (about 3-4 Tbsp)
  • 1-1½ cup packaged shredded carrots (roughly chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used fire roasted)
  • 2-4 cups of beef or chicken broth (based on your thickness preference)
  • 2-3 cups of fresh spinach or 1-2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp ACV (optional)
  • 1 package of Shirataki noodles (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper, onion, bell peppers and garlic.  Sauté until turkey is browned through.  Stirring throughout.
  3. Add spices, tomato paste and carrots.  Stirring continuously, cook for 4-5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and broth.  Stir to combine and bring to a low boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low.  Add ACV, if desired.
  6. Cover and allow to simmer for 30-60 minutes.
  7. Add spinach approximately 10 minutes before cooking time is done.
20 Feb 2020

Mexican Beef Stew

If you know me at all, you know that I am a big fan of anything Mexican!  However, going out to a Mexican restaurant is most definitely a splurge for me which is why I love making Mexican at home.  If I get the chance to put a Mexican twist on a dish, I will and this Mexican beef stew did not disappoint.  Cooking the stew “low and slow” in the oven is really what makes this stew extra tasty.  All those flavors have time to come together and the meat is so tender, it literally melts in your mouth.

The last time I made this stew I made the mistake of only using 1 lb of meat.  Well, it was soooo good that I knew if there was a next time, I would be doubling the recipe.  So here you go!  Adjust your amounts according to how spicy you like it and on how much meat you’re using.  In other words, “you do you”!!

Note:  If you do not have an ovenproof pot, you could also allow this to simmer on the stovetop over very low heat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs organic (grass-fed) stew beef, cubed
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil, for browning
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning beef during browning
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large can stewed tomatoes (you could also add some salsa in with this)
  • 1 can of green chiles
  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1½ Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • juice of ½ lime (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the oil to a dutch oven (or oven proof pot) and heat over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the stew meat and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and allow the meat to cook just until browned (about 3-4 minutes).  Stirring throughout.
  6. Add the onions, garlic and seasonings.  Stir and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Stir in the chiles, stewed tomatoes and beef broth.
  8. Briefly bring to a boil.  Turn heat off, cover and move to the oven.
  9. Bake for approximately 2½ hours.  Check halfway to make sure there is enough liquid.
  10. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top before serving.

 

** Enjoy this stew served along side a fresh salad or vegetable or served over a favorite dish such as Mexican cauliflower rice or quinoa.

31 Jan 2020

Cashew Chicken Liver Stir Fry

I know, I know…another liver post!  This one has an Asian twist to it and is delish and super easy make!  The most important thing to remember when cooking liver is not to overcook it.  It cooks up very quickly.  Give it a try!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed chicken livers, cut up (pat dry and season with salt and pepper)
  • 2-3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp avocado oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter ( or almond butter)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari)
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • chopped green onion, topping

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together sunflower seed butter, coconut aminos, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.  Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add half of avocado oil.  When hot, add broccoli, onion and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.
  5. In the same skillet, add remaining oil and return to medium heat.  Add the chicken liver. Cook for about 2 minutes on one side.  Flip and cook until browned and cooked through.  It doesn’t take long!
  6. Add vegetables back into skillet and combine with the liver.
  7. Pour sauce over entire mixture and toss to combine.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in the cashew pieces.
  9. Serve over cauliflower rice or enjoy as is!
23 Jan 2020

Primal Meatloaf

I think we’ve all had an experience with a dried out meatloaf and we wonder where we went wrong!  I can, with great confidence, guarantee that this meatloaf will not disappoint and could very well become a family favorite.  This meatloaf is so moist and the sauce on top is like icing on a cake…they just go together!

The other great thing about this recipe is that there aren’t a lot of extra ingredients.  It’s very possible that you have everything you need in your pantry and refrigerator right now!  So what are you waiting for? 

 

Meatloaf Ingredients:

  • 1 lb organic or grass-fed ground beef
  • ½ yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 tsp jarred minced garlic
  • ½ Tbsp oil, for sautéing
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 5 Tbsp almond flour
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper

 

Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • dried parsley, optional

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, add all of the meatloaf ingredients.  Mix with your hands or a large spoon making sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Place meat into a sprayed loaf pan and lightly press down to form a loaf shape.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, add the sauce ingredients and whisk together.
  5. Pour the sauce onto the meatloaf and spread evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the meatloaf is completely cooked through.
  7. Allow to rest in the pan for about 10 minutes before slicing.
08 Jan 2020

Sausage with Cabbage Slaw and Apples

Sausage, cabbage and onions together in a meal is the epitome of your traditional hearty meal.  But to take this dish to the next level and add another layer of flavor, I like to throw some apples in the mix!  What I also love about this dish is that the ingredients cook very quickly so your meal comes together in no time!  Oh, and I would be remiss to mention that it is very economical and prepared in one skillet for easy clean up! 

As should always be the case, have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go for quick and easy assembly.  You may even have most of these ingredients on hand.  I always keep several packs of the pre-cooked sausage in my freezer because they are a great “go to” in a pinch. 

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 precooked sausage links (I used an apple chicken variety)
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 9 oz bad of cabbage slaw
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large apple, diced (a harder variety holds up better to the heat)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2-3 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper

 

Directions:

  1. In a cast iron skillet, add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and heat on medium heat.
  2. Add the sausage links and cook until browned, turning several times so all sides are a golden brown.
  3. Remove sausages from the pan, place on a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add additional oil, if needed.  When oil is heated through, add onions, red pepper, cabbage slaw, ACV, mustard, maple syrup and spices.  (I like to whisk the ACV, mustard, maple syrup and spices together in a small bowl before adding.)
  5. Sauté together, stirring continuously, until vegetables cook down and are tender (about 3 minutes).
  6.  Turn heat down to medium and add the apples.  Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Add sausage back into the pan.
  8. Enjoy with some fresh greens!
14 Dec 2019

Paleo Pancakes

Do you feel as though you’re missing out on that beloved stack of pancakes?  That comfort breakfast that you use to occasionally enjoy before deciding to take your health seriously and go grain-free?  If so, this recipe is your answer.  These pancakes are light and fluffy and taste like the ones you remember.  Just kidding…they taste even better and they won’t leave you feeling like you’re in a carb coma!

I used a pre-packaged Paleo flour.  For convenience purposes, this is a quick option.  You can also make your own and store it like you would your other flours.  Paleo flour is a combination of 4 grain-free flours: almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour.  If you google the recipe, you will find slightly varying amounts of each, but I honestly think any of them will work.  Here’s one that I’ve used:

  • 1½ cups almond flour (sifted)
  • 1 cup arrowroot flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour 

 

Ingredients: (makes 10-12 pancakes)

  • 1-1½ cup Paleo flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk from  the can (could also use almond milk though they may not be as fluffy)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp himalayan salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar substitute (optional)
  • ¼-½ cup water

 

Directions:

  1. Add all the dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl.  Stir together and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the eggs, applesauce and coconut milk and whisk together.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until incorporated.  You do not want to over-mix.
  4. Let the batter rest while warming a skillet with approved oil (butter or spray) over medium heat.  If the batter appears too thick when you’re ready to start, mix in a small amounts of water to achieve desired consistency.  Too much and you will have runny batter and flat pancakes.
  5. Using a ¼ measuring cup, pour batter into the hot skillet and spread batter out with the back of a spoon, if necessary.  Flip when lightly browned or bubbles start to form.
  6. Serve your stack drizzled with maple syrup or some berries of choice.  Enjoy!!
22 Nov 2019

Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup

I love the flavors of this soup!!  The combination of the spices with the roasted vegetables is so delicious and gives me that warm, cozy feeling.  And the beautiful golden color is perfect for fall and Thanksgiving!  

For a time saving tip, roast your vegetables the day before and store in the refrigerator.  You will appreciate one less step when the time comes. 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (bite size)
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • 1½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • (additional salt and pepper for roasting vegetables)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add cauliflower and sweet potatoes to a prepared sheet pan.  Drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil and season with salt and pepper according to taste.
  3. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time.
  4. In a small bowl, combine all the spices and set aside.  This makes it much easier as you will be adding them all at once.
  5. Add remaining oil to a dutch oven or stock pot and heat over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add garlic and spices and cook for 2 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.  If too dry, add a small amount of water or oil.
  7. Add the broth, coconut milk and roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
  8. Stir to combine and simmer briefly over low heat.
11 Nov 2019

Mexican Chili with Tomatillos

Chili season has rolled around once again and I wanted to put a little spin on this recipe.  I already had gound pork thawed in the refrigerator so I used that for my meat but you could also use beef or turkey.  I also had some tomatillos on hand so my mind went to Mexican!  If you are not familiar with tomatillos, they are basically little Mexican tomatoes, green in color and wrapped in a dry, leafy husk.  Give them a try!   

Just a few additional notes:  Instead of the red bell pepper, I used some roasted mini sweet peppers that I had leftover from dinner the night before.  This is not going to make or break your chili, but if you have the extra time to roast some, they add a nice flavor.  Lastly, I happen to like bigger chunks of tomato in my chili so I used stewed tomatoes in addition to the diced tomatoes.  If that’s not your thing, just use tomato sauce instead.  

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp approved oil
  • 1 lb organic ground pork, beef or turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 tomatillos, chopped
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes, roughly chopped with juice
  • 1 -14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
  • ½-1 cup salsa
  • 1 – 4.5 oz can green chiles
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can black beans, drained (if tolerated) I only used ½ the can.
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1½ Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ½-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ ground pepper

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix all the spices and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot.  Add onions and cook until translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Add garlic, tomatillos, red pepper and spices.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  If mixture is dry, add 1-2 Tbsp water.
  4. Add ground meat and break apart.  Continue to cook and stir until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add stewed and diced tomatoes, salsa, green chiles and black beans (If using roasted sweet peppers, add these as well.).
  6. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes to enhance the flavors.  It will be even better the next day!!