Grilled Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Salsa

Winter was my favorite season as a kid.  My family had snowmobiles and a cabin in Cle Elum and we were always playing in the snow.  As a skier, I was happiest on the mountain and in the depths of summer I was pining for powder.  Now, as an adult (and as a parent with small kids), warm weather is a welcome sign of playing outside, camping, grilling, and a sense of ease, of slowing down.  With spring upon us warmer weather is approaching and sunlight shines past 5pm.  We seek bright flavors, Bob Marley in the background, and maybe a mojito (disclaimer: ice, lime, and mint are paleo, rum is not).  This is a great meal for the changing of the season.  Bobby Flay is notorious for having a long list of ingredients but don’t be intimidated, you probably have most of these on hand.  And it takes 10 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to cook.

Grilled Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Salsa (from Bobby Flay)
½ cup olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 scallion, coarsely chopped
1 large Scotch bonnet pepper, stem and seeds removed (I left out for the kiddos and topped my chicken with crushed red pepper flakes)
1 T fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 T finely chopped fresh thyme
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T honey
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
Pinch cloves
1 t allspice
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 t lime juice
4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
4 drumsticks, skin on (I used 10 thin cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

Puree all ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor or blender until almost smooth.  Pierce the chicken with a fork to make tiny holes.  Place the chicken in a large baking dish and rub the marinade into the chicken.  Cover and refrigerate 24-48 hours, depending on how intense you want the flavor.  Grill chicken on each side 5-6 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees).

Mango-Cilantro Salsa
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
2 T chopped cilantro
3 T lime juice
3 T fresh orange juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the mangoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and orange juice in a bowl and gently mix.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like with all fruit, you want to be careful you don’t overeat as they are high in fructose which causes your blood sugar levels to rise.  If you’re going to make this dish, this could be your fruit for the day.

Mangoes are a versatile fruit and can be either sweet or savory.  Serve on top of salads, alongside pork, chicken or fish, mix with BBQ sauce, with curry, topped with nuts and honey, on top of ice cream, or all by itself.  Mangoes from Mexico are in season now through September.  Make sure they are soft to the touch and smell ripe and fruity.  Mangoes are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.  If you can’t transport yourself somewhere topical, eat a mango and it’s almost as good.

Pumpkin Chili, Guacamole, Pumpkin Recipe Round Up

‘Tis the season for everything pumpkin!  What follows are a few pumpkin recipes that I think are good and worthy of sharing.  If you’ve got one you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.

Pumpkin Ice Cream (the perfect after dinner treat)

Carrot Pumpkin Spice Muffins (with morning coffee)

Almond Butter Pumpkin Bars (great to bring to the Halloween party, or to snack on at home)

Pumpkin Coconut Soup (with crispy bacon on top)

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer (honey or maple syrup is a must)

Pumpkin Granola (with a splash of coconut milk, AMAZING)

Pumpkin Chili with Zesty Guacamole (from Primal Cravings)
2 # ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 4 ounce can diced green chiles
1 cup beef stock
2 T chili powder
1 T each cumin, paprika
2 t each coriander, cinnamon, cocoa powder
1 t granulated garlic
¼ t cayenne
Salt to taste

Guacamole
3 ripe Haas avocados
2 t coriander
1 t orange zest
2 T each orange juice, lime juice
Salt to taste

In a large soup pot, place beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the beef is browned.  Add the rest of the chili ingredients.  Let simmer, stirring every so often for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the guacamole.  In a food processor, buzz together all the ingredients.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can place all of the ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to mash everything together.

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Fall Brodo with Squash and Greens

It’s the weekend and it’s October which means soup!  Spend the time it takes to make a true brodo, which means broth in Italian.  It’s flavorful and good for you, and takes the edge off a crisp autumn night.  Use the slow-cooker method and you can’t go wrong.  And this soup is a great way to use greens and squash from your garden.

Fall Brodo with Squash, Greens, and Bacon (modified from Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom)
6 slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
1 ½-2 lb acorn squash, halved, de-seeded, peeled, and cut into bite-size cubes (alternatively, you could buy pre-cut squash)
1 bunch Swiss chard (or other greens), rinsed, stalks removed, coarsely chopped
1 onion, diced
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish, if you’re into that sort of thing

Place a large stock pot over medium heat and fry the bacon.  Once crispy, with a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a plate, leaving delicious fat behind.  Add the onion to the hot bacon grease and brown.  Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.  Add squash and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the chicken and greens, and allow to warm through.  Top with crispy bacon and Parmesan.  Serve.

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You Might Also Like:
Cabbage & Ham Soup
Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Paleo caramel cheesecake bites

I’m posting this now so you can stop by the store on your way home from work tomorrow.  These are a bit time-consuming but are good in the fridge or freezer and are the perfect bite when you’re craving something sweet.  Be adventurous and make these this weekend!  You’ll thank me for it when it’s 10 pm on a Wednesday night and you’re gnawing on one of these.

Original post:

My sister from another mister was in town last week and brought me these little gems.  Aside from my grandmother and my mom, she’s the most thoughtful person I know.  She knows I love caramel and cheesecake, both of which contain dairy, which she knows my gut can’t tolerate.  She, like me, eats paleo (most of the time) and knows I like a sweet bite after dinner (or before breakfast with coffee in hand).  These little bites are the perfect size to satisfy that craving.

Paleo Caramel Cheesecake Bites (modified a bit from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind)
For the crust:
1 heaping cup raw pecans
1 T coconut oil
1 T creamy almond butter
2 T coconut flour
2 T pure maple syrup
A pew pinches pink Himalayan salt, sea salt, or kosher salt

Put pecans into a food processor or rocket powered blender (with tamper tool) and grind into a fine meal.  Add the rest of the crust ingredients and process until well combined.  Line a mini-muffin tin with mini-liners, then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the liners.  Place the pan in the freezer to set while you prepare the filling.  Wash the food processor or blender jar.

For the filling:
1 heaping cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
½ cup peeled and diced zucchini
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 T canned coconut milk, full fat, room temp
2 T pure maple syrup
1 T coconut sugar
½ T vanilla extract
1/8 t pink Himalayan salt, sea salt, or kosher salt
Juice of ½ to 1 medium lemon (add ½ and taste, add more to taste)

In the clean food processor or blender jar, process the drained cashews.  Add in the rest of the filling ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.  If necessary, add a bit more coconut milk until a smooth and creamy batter is achieved.

Pour the cheesecake batter into a piping bag or a plastic ziplock bag (snip the tip) and pipe the batter onto the crust, almost to the top, leaving a little room for the caramel.  My batter was smooth enough to pour directly out of the blender jar.  Put tray back into the freezer and let set while you make the caramel, about an hour.

For the caramel:
½ cup grass-fed butter or ghee (or regular butter if you don’t have either of these)
½ cup canned coconut milk, full fat, room temp
1 cup coconut sugar
½ t vanilla extract
Pink Himalayan salt or any large flake salt, for garnish, optional

Melt the butter, then whisk in the coconut milk.  Bring everything to a soft boil, then whisk in the coconut sugar.  Stir in the vanilla and bring it to a rolling boil.  Let boil for 3 minutes, remove from the heat, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth again.  Return to the heat and repeat this process 3-4 times.  It should get thicker each time.  If you have a beautiful caramel color and consistency before 3-4 times, trust your gut and remove from heat.  It took me just the 1st time to get the necessary consistency, like thick soup.  You definitely don’t want the caramel to burn.  Let cool; it will continue to thicken as it cools.

Using a spoon, dollop the caramel on top of the bites and spread evenly.  Top with salt, if desired.  (The ones I’ve had did not have salt and I don’t think they needed it.)

Store bites in the freezer, take out about 15 minutes before serving.  Or if it’s 90* outside, eat directly from the freezer.  Use leftover cream cheese and caramel on top of these waffles.

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You might also like:
Paleo Coconut Cake
Dark Chocolate and Orange Scones
Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Pops

Jambalaya, Cauliflower Rice

Dinner tonight.  Why?  Because the last time I made this I doubled it and threw one in the freezer for a night such as this.  A night where I have no plan other than we will need to eat at some point.  Freezer meals might be time-consuming up front but pay off in the long run.  Get some friends together and make a bunch to share.  Meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, chili, roasted meat, chicken and sweet potato bakes are recent freezer meals to fill our freezers.

Original Post:

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and is next week.  This is when people indulge in rich, fatty, delicious foods and excessive partying before Ash Wednesday and Lent, which is a period of fasting and penance.  Mardi Gras or Carnival is celebrated worldwide, in the US most notably in New Orleans.   New Orleans during Mardi Gras has been on my list of things to do but I’ve heard it’s not a very wholesome, kid-friendly environment, so it may have to wait a bit.  My kids are already asking how babies get in your belly, the last thing I need to answer is why you have to show your boobies to get a beaded necklace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a dish that originated in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Traditionally it is served over rice, which has been subbed out for cauliflower rice.  Tabasco can be added to the main pot or kept out for sensitive palates and added to individual dishes.  I usually double the recipe.

Jambalaya (my grandma’s recipe)
1 T coconut oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ pound ham, kielbasa, or andouille sausage, cubed (read the labels)
1-14 oz can chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1-14oz can diced stewed tomatoes (no salt added)
1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
½ t Tabasco
½ t dried ground thyme
1/8 t allspice
½  pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed

Melt oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat.  Add the trinity (onion, green pepper, celery), garlic and ham and cook until veg is soft, about 10 minutes.  Add broth, tomatoes, and spices and simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes.  Add shrimp and allow to cook through, about 5 minutes more.  Serve in a bowl over cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower “Rice” (from The Food Lover’s Kitchen and from the cookbook Make it Paleo)
1 T coconut oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 head cauliflower, grated on a cheese grater or pulsed in a food processor or VitaMix
Salt and pepper, to taste

Use the large holes on a cheese grater and grate the cauliflower.  In a large sauté pan over medium heat melt the oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the “riced” cauliflower and stir to combine.  Let cook until cauliflower has softened, but be careful not to overcook to mush.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this delicious, healthful, and filling jambalaya you can enjoy Mardi Gras with your shirt on.  Or not, if that’s your thing.