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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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

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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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Paleo Mayonnaise (from TCMTG)

*Recipe taken from Melissa Joulwan, The Clothes Make the Girl; find the original recipe and post here

I have to admit. The idea of actually making my own mayonnaise seemed a little intimidating, especially when I noticed in The Clothes Make the Girl’s comments that a few people had some problems with it. But when you really think about the advantages – no extra sugar or added ingredients to ensure a longer shelf-life, peace of mind of knowing exactly what’s in it – the recipe really isn’t such a hurdle. I’ve included some pictures and the steps below for an easy way to your very own delicious homemade mayo, which is perfect for whipping up some quick chicken or egg salad for an easy, guilt-free lunch.  It also serves as a key ingredient in many Paleo dips. No sugar added.

Ingredients:

1 egg (let this sit out awhile beforehand so it is at room temperature)
2 tablespoons lemon juice at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 cup olive oil (light, not extra virgin) at room temperature

*Melissa Joulwan really stresses the importance of using ingredients at room temperature and I think that might by why I was so successful when making this

Directions:

1. Place the egg and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Let them come to room temperature together, about 30-60 minutes. Add the dry mustard, salt, and  1/4 cup of the oil. Pulse until mixed–about 20 to 30 seconds.

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2. This step is super important!  All that is left to do is add the remaining 1 cup oil into the mixture. To do this, you must pour very slowly… the skinniest drizzle you can manage and still have movement in the oil. This takes about three minutes or so.  Eventually, the substance inside the blender will start to look like regular mayonnaise.  Do not lose your nerve and consider dumping! Continue to drizzle.

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The finished product…

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… and once you have the mayo made you can quickly make your egg or chicken salad!

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Note: Check the expiration date on your eggs and add one week to that date.  This will be the expiration date for your mayo.

Plantain Bites

Last night I was in the mood for something sweet and rather than run next door for some ice-cream, I did some googling and stumbled upon this fantastic recipe for fried plantains.  I satisfied my sweet tooth without having to feel guilty afterwards!

*Recipe adapted from Paleo with a Purpose: Fried Plantains

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Ingredients:

1 plantain, ripe
½ tablespoon dark ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tbs. extra-virgin coconut oil

Directions:

Cut plantain into long slices.

Sprinkle slices with cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt coconut oil.

Place the seasoned plantains in the saucepan. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

 

Sautéed Kale with Apples and Bacon

*Recipe taken from Real Simple magazine; find the original recipe here

Sometimes I have ideas for recipes only to find they already exist online.  Occasionally I make adjustments and tweaks to my liking, but in this case I didn’t change one thing.  This recipe from Real Simple is easy, quick, and delicious!

Ingredients:

4 slices of bacon

1 onion, diced

1 apple, diced

1 medium bunch of kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 10 cups)

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool, then crumble.

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Add the onion and apple to the drippings in the skillet and cook until tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

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Add the kale, season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Mix in the bacon and vinegar.

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Serve and enjoy!

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