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Paleo Veggie Beef Chili

31 Jan
I just made this tonight for the second time and had to share–it is SO GOOD!  I wish I could remember where exactly I got this recipe, but I don’t, so here it is, with my (very minor) modifications.
Paleo Veggie Beef Chili
2 tablespoons bacon grease, coconut oil, or olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves (small in size), finely diced
1 pound grass-fed beef
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 zucchini, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add oil to heat.  Add diced onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until onion are translucent.  Add beef and break up into crumbles as it cooks.  Cook beef until no longer pink in color.  Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, oregano, sea salt, cayenne pepper, diced zucchini, diced carrots, diced sweet potato, can of crushed tomatoes, and chicken broth and stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for  until vegetables are tender–at least 30 minutes, but I like to simmer mine for over an hour to marry the flavors..  Add cilantro and stir to incorporate.
Serve chili with diced avocado and a dollop of sour cream, if you eat dairy.
Makes about 6-8 servings

Buffalo Chicken Dip

12 Mar
2 8 oz containers whipped cream cheese
1 rotisserie chicken
1 bottle Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/4 cup melted butter
Some shredded cheese (anything you have on hand–I have used mozzarella, sharp cheddar, pepper jack)
1. Spread cream cheese in a 9×13 pan.
2. Pick apart the chicken and shred into bite-sized bits. Add the butter and wing sauce , stir well, and spread over the cream cheese.
3. Sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese over the chicken mixture. You don’t want too much because it will congeal as the dip cools. Really just a nice light dusting is perfect.
4. Throw in the oven with whatever else you have cooking and keep an eye on it. On Saturday I wasn’t using the oven for anything else so I cooked this at 375 for about 25 minutes, but I have put it in at 350 and 400.
5. Serve with some pita chips (my preference) or tortilla chips (Matty’s fave) or both!


12 Mar
1 cup superfine white sugar (Baker’s Sugar)
1 1/4 cup evaporated whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1. Place sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and turns a golden amber color, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully once syrup begins to change color, because it burns easily. Carefully pour the melted sugar syrup into a flan mold or pie pan (I used a pyrex pie pan). Let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Pour evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into a blender, and blend for a minute or so, until the mixture is smooth. Pour in the cream, and pulse several times to incorporate the cream. Pour the mixture over the cooled caramel syrup in the flan mold.
4. Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place the flan mold on the towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until the center of the flan is set but still slightly jiggly when moved, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the flan cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. To serve, run a sharp paring knife around the inside of the mold or pie pan to release the flan. Invert a plate on the mold, flip the mold over, and gently remove the mold to unmold the flan and reveal the syrupy caramel topping.

Pastel de Tres Leches

12 Mar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6. Combine the 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
7. Whip remaining whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. We also like to add drained maraschino cherries (my little brother Adam decorated this masterpiece!).  Be sure and keep cake refrigerated.  Buen provecho!

**Please ignore the background mess in this picture–it is the only one we got of the cake!

Gnocchi with Asparagus and Pancetta

8 Mar

I love this very quick, easy meal but had not made it in forever. I finally cooked it tonight. Matty and Ruby both loved it!

6 oz pancetta, diced
Some extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat a large sauté pan)
A few shallots, sliced thinly
One bunch of asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
One lb of gnocchi
The juice of one lemon
Shaved Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

2. Cook the pancetta in the olive oil over medium heat until it is nice and crispy, then drain on paper towels.

3. Add the shallots to the pan, season with some salt, and cook until fairly soft and translucent, then add the asparagus and cook for a few minutes (you want the asparagus to stay pretty crisp) .

4. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook just until it floats to the top, then remove it with a spider or slotted spoon and put it directly into the pan, along with about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.

5. Add the lemon juice, Parmesan, and pancetta to the pan and combine everything. Serve with some extra Parmesan on the side and a glass of wine. Enjoy!



Eggs for Ruby

3 Mar

Ruby just got really fussy and when I looked at the clock I realized it was past her normal dinner time. My kitchen is fairly bare, but I quickly whipped up a delicious little dinner.

First I melted some butter in a sauté pan. We had leftover broccolini and cinnamon curry roast chicken, so I chopped up some of each and added them to the pan. Then I added some chopped tomato, and then a beaten egg. I cooked, stirring with a spatula just until the egg was cooked through, let it cool, and rounded out her meal with two pieces of buttered whole wheat bread. She devoured everything so quickly I didn’t even get a picture.

This was such a quick, easy little meal. Usually Ruby just eats whatever we do, but we are running late tonight and she couldn’t wait any longer. I often give her eggs but loved adding the meat and veggies. Give it a try sometime for your little one–any combination of meat and veg will do!

Super Spinach

29 Feb

We We have recently been getting a ton of spinach in our weekly boxes from Abundant Harvest Organics .  We love spinach and two days ago I whipped some up at the last minute using a new technique.  It was so good that I made the same recipe last night.  Here it is–super quick, easy and delicious (I seriously cooked it up while our steaks rested last night).  Enjoy!

1.  Prep your spinach (however much you want to make).  Tear off the tough ends and give it a quick rinse.  If you are using the pre-washed baby spinach in a bag you can skip this step–your spinach is ready to go.

2.  Coat a saute pan with some extra virgin olive oil.  Add a few peeled and lightly crushed garlic cloves (you want to keep them pretty much intact) and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Turn the burner on to medium-high heat and cook just until the garlic starts to brown and becomes really fragrant., then remove the gloves from the pan and toss them out–they have fulfilled their garlicky destiny.

3.  Add your spinach and salt to taste (I pretty much always use kosher salt) and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, for a minute or two.  You want the spinach fairly wilted but still a beautiful vibrant green.  Serve immediately.

Sort-of Shepherd’s Pie

9 Nov

Daylight savings began on Sunday, a fact that Matty and I completely forgot about, thus completely wasting our extra hour of sleep and disembarking from our cruise an hour earlier than we meant to.  When we flew back into San Diego on Sunday night there was a slight chill in the air and it appeared that fall had truly come to sunny SoCal.  Within about 30 minutes of me getting home from work yesterday it was pitch black outside.  I hadn’t planned anything for dinner and was busy trying to catch up on laundry and finish unpacking, so Elise and I decided to make one of our childhood favorites, Shepherd’s Pie.  Fairly quick and easy with simple ingredients, it is definitely comfort food that warms you from the inside.  We had most of the ingredients on hand, but just as we were about to roshambo to see who would run to the market, our baby brother Adam called to say that he was on his way over.  Problem solved; he picked up the few things we needed.

I say “sort-of” because traditional Shepherd’s Pie uses lamb rather than ground beef, but our mom always used beef and Matty doesn’t like lamb, so beef was on order last night.  I also added just a few extra ingredients to kick up the flavor a bit, and as an added bonus Adam picked up country gravy mix rather than the brown gravy mix I had in mind.  I decided to go ahead and use the country gravy and will continue to do so in the future–it added a creamy, peppery element that I loved.  Here is the approximate recipe I used, but feel free to add in extra veggies ( I hate peas but if you like them they are a traditional ingredient) or make any other changes–just let me know how it turns out!  We served it with some sautéed chard that we had on hand in the fridge.

Sort-of Shepherd’s Pie (makes one 13×9 inch pan, or about 8-10 servings)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook 1.5 lbs ground beef, 2 finely chopped carrots, 2 diced onions, and a few minced cloves of garlic in a saute pan until the beef is cooked through.  Drain the fat then stir in prepared country gravy (directions are on the package).  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, boil about 4 large or 8 small potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, whichever you prefer) in a pot of salted water until nice and soft.  Drain and mash (I just throw them in my Kitchen Aid mixer).  Mix in a few tablespoons of butter, about 1/4 cup of milk, a few chopped green onions, about 1/3 cup sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble spray a 9×13 inch pan with Pam and spread the meat mixture on the bottom.  Layer two drained cans of corn on top of the meat and the potatoes on top of the corn.  Sprinkle liberally with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and enjoy.