Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

I owe a big thanks to my old friend, Katie, for introducing me to the Paleo lifestyle.  It was through social media, namely Facebook and Instagram, that I would find myself salivating at her pictures and recipes.  One day I finally messaged her with some questions, bought the book It Starts with Food, and the rest is history.  Her blog, The Daily Diehl, continues to be a great source for Paleo inspiration and recipes and I encourage you to check it out for some new ideas.  Her recipe for spaghetti squash with ground turkey meat (found here) is what inspired this post.

 

spaghettisquash

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

1 lb. grass-fed beef

1 28 oz. can Hunt’s tomato sauce (no salt added)

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare your spaghetti squash.  Click here to see how.

Sauté your onion, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium-low heat, until onions become transparent.

Add grass-fed ground beef and allow to cook through.

Add tomato sauce and basil and allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes, then bring to a simmer.

sauce

Combine the sauce and spaghetti squash, add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

 

BLT Bites

Who doesn’t love a BLT?  Sometimes it can be hard going to parties because there are so many tempting non-Paleo foods around.  To avoid this, I brought these BLT Bites (recipe adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo) to a Fourth of July BBQ and they were gone within minutes!  These were a little bit time consuming, but the final product was pretty amazing.

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*Recipe adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo, BLT Bites, click here for original post.

Ingredients:

10-12 pieces of bacon (I used Applegate Farms, look for nitrate-free/uncured, sugar-free if Whole30)

Coconut oil

Grape tomatoes

Romaine lettuce, chopped

Paleo mayo, to top

*2 mini-muffin tins

Directions:

Prepare Paleo mayo ahead.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.

Use coconut oil to grease the inside of one mini-muffin tin and the outside of the other.  The bacon will eventually be cooked into little cups using these as molds.

Place one muffin tin face-down.

Cut each strip of bacon into thirds and criss-cross the pieces over the cups.  (You might choose to cut the strips in half, instead).  It should look like the picture below.

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Place the other muffin tin on top and press down firmly.

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Put the muffin tins on the cookie sheet and bake in the oven.  Note: The original recipe suggests baking for 20-25 min., then removing the top muffin tin and cooking for an additional 5 min..  I had to cook mine for closer to 45 min..  I’m not sure if this was because of the bacon, my oven, or something else, but I suggest starting baking for 20-25 min., then adding additional time as needed while monitoring them closely.  When you decide they are ready, remove from the oven.

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Chop up romaine lettuce and add some to each bacon cup.

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Cut grape tomatoes in half and place one on each cup.

Top with Paleo mayo. Enjoy!

Berry Doodle Dandy with Coconut Cream

Do your paleolithic forefathers proud with this quick and festive July 4th dessert!

It’s important to use coconut milk that has been refrigerated overnight (Thai Kitchen is the brand I prefer). You can serve as shown, or use the coconut cream as more of a dip for the berries.  Enjoy!

Fourth of July Dessert

Ingredients:

Strawberries, sliced

Blueberries

1 can coconut milk (use regular, not lite)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 tablespoons raw honey

Directions:

Open the coconut milk.  The cream should have separated from the clear liquid in the can.  Spoon the cream into a mixing bowl.  The remaining liquid can be saved for various drinks and/or other recipes if you like.

Add the vanilla and raw honey.

Use an electric mixer to whip the ingredients on high until it begins to thicken.  I used a Kitchenaid stand mixer, though I think a handheld mixer would work well, too.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Greek “Pasta” Salad

This is a super easy, great-tasting, quick meal that can easily be thrown together.  It one of my favorite ways to use leftover chicken.

greeksalad

Ingredients:

2 zucchinis

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Greek olives

1 tablespoon feta (Whole30–leave this out)

chopped basil

Tessamae’s lemon garlic salad dressing (available at Whole Foods or online)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Using a julienne peeler, make your zoodles.  Just scrape the peeler down the zucchini and the the zucchini will take on the appearance of noodles.

zoodles

Prepare the chicken however you like.  I put 3 chicken breasts in a slow cooker, added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and cooked on high for 4 hours.

Combine the zoodles, chicken, olives, feta, basil in a bowl and drizzle with Tessamae’s lemon garlic dressing.

Twofer Tacos

I have always loved Taco Bell.  How much exactly?  Enough to convince an employee to allow me to operate the drive-thru one night (…or early morning).

tacobellphoto

I even love Taco Bell enough to use their taco seasoning when cooking at home.  Now, I’m not a nutritionist nor an expert on reading food labels.  However, a recent Google search allowed me to take a peek at what is actually in this seasoning.  Some of the lesser appetizing ingredients included artificial sweetener and …sand (appearing under the alias of silicon dioxide).

This led me to make my own taco seasoning using several spices that I had on hand.  The end result was quick and delicious.  I don’t know that I can confidently say I have ended things with Taco Bell for good, but I can say that I now read labels and follow one simple rule.  If there are ingredients that I cannot easily identify or pronounce, I don’t buy it.

Taco Salad (for B&P)

2 tbs. cumin

1 tbs. chili powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. garlic salt

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef

1 mango, cubed

1 bell pepper, diced

1 avocado, cubed

1/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved

spinach leaves

1/3 cup EVOO

1 lime

cilantro (optional, garnish)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the spices in a small bowl.

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Add the spices to the ground beef.

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Brown the meat in a skillet over Medium heat until cooked.

Put the spinach in a large salad bowl and add the meat, mango, avocado, tomatoes and bell pepper.

Drizzle the olive oil and squeeze the juice of one lime over the salad.

Toss and serve!

saladphoto

While I have you here I thought I’d share another very quick way to use this taco meat.  This is really a non-recipe and it involves two of my favorite shortcut ingredients.

Shortcut #1: Mango Salsa with Tomato (Conventional) (pre-made from Whole Foods)

According to the label on this salsa it contains: mango, onion, tomato, cilantro, fresh hot peppers, salt, and lime juice.

Shortcut #2: Guacamole (Traditional) (pre-made from Whole Foods)

According to the label this guacamole contains: avocado onion, tomato, fresh hot chile pepper, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and salt.

Shortcut Paleo Tacos

Ingredients:

Taco meat

Bibb lettuce

Whole Foods mango salsa with tomato

Whole Foods guacamole

Directions:

Place meat, salsa, and guacamole on lettuce leaves

tacophoto

Oven Baked Pork Ribs (from Paleo Cupboard)

Tamitaylor

Remember Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights? You know, the devoted coach’s wife whose BBQs could solve any problem her family faced? This rib recipe from Paleo Cupboard is one that would surely make Tami and the Dillon Panthers proud. Enjoy, y’all!

*Taken from Paleo Cupboard, click here for original post

Ingredients:

4 pounds pork ribs
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 250˚F.

Combine all spice ingredients together in a small bowl and stir to combine.

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Rub both sides of the ribs with the spice rub and place the ribs on a baking sheet, rib side down.

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Bake the ribs for about 2 hours and 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Broil the ribs for 5-10 minutes.

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Cut them up and enjoy!

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Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Pasta is one of my guiltiest pleasures–Penne alla Vodka, Fettucine Alfredo, Spaghetti Bolognese–you name it, I love it. Of course these dishes are not compliant with a Paleo lifestyle, but spaghetti squash is and it’s fabulous! I’ve found that I can make a lot of my favorite pasta dishes Paleo-friendly just by swapping out the pasta for spaghetti squash.

Now, pesto is one of the very first things I ever learned to make in the kitchen thanks to my longtime friend, Jamie. It’s so easy and simple that even I, as a 22 year old living in a studio apartment with a closet for a kitchen, could make it. It kind of became my party trick for awhile. Whenever I was asked to bring a dish to a party I was always quick to offer up pesto because it was easy, colorful, and tasted great! Fast forward a few years, I realized that this pesto is Paleo-friendly and has therefore become a staple in my diet. Big thanks to JVL for the cooking lesson back in 2004!

*My friend Jamie went on to open her own restaurant in Costa Rica. You can follow her on Instagram @mamasarestaurant*

Ingredients for Spaghetti Squash:

1 spaghetti squash

Olive oil

Directions for Spaghetti Squash:

photoCut the spaghetti squash lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds in the middle.

Coat the inside of each half with some olive oil.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350˚

When it is done in the oven, turn each half over and use a fork to scrape out the “noodles.”

Ingredients for Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Parmesan (optional, Whole30- leave this out)

Cherry tomatoes (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions for Pesto:

Toss the basil, pine nuts and garlic into a food processor. Pulse about 10 seconds until everything is chopped.

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Add 1/2 cup olive oil and pulse about 20 seconds until everything is blended.

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Toss spaghetti squash with pesto and add tomatoes for garnish and sprinkle parmesan, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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