Thursday, February 24, 2011

Comfort Food: Paleo Meatloaf and Mashed Cauliflower "Potatoes"

Comfort Food:  Paleo Meatloaf and Mashed Cauliflower "Potatoes"

I realize this is not the most visually appealing dish, but the taste makes up for its lack of photo-geniality.

The weather around here has really been on my nerves with the flip-flopping of temperatures and had us feeling blah with the recent coating of snow and ice.  I found this to be the perfect comfort food on a nasty winter night. 

Although I'm not typically a fan of ground meats, meatloaf was on my mind, so naturally I had to attempt a Paleo Meatloaf.  My mom would call this "stick-to-your-ribs-food" and rightfully so.

Paleo Meatloaf

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (turkey or bison will work also)
1 cup organic tomato sauce -divided into 2 equal parts(If you don't make your own, an 8 oz. can of organic sauce will work)
1 roma tomato - diced
1/4 cup organic onion - diced
1 clove organic garlic - minced
1/2 organic green pepper - diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 ground pepper
1 organic free-range brown egg - gently beaten
1 tablespoon organic coconut flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl combine ground meat, half the tomato sauce, vegetables, spices, herbs, and coconut flour.  Once ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add the beaten egg and stir well with a fork.   Add mixture to a greased 8.5 in. x4.5 in. loaf dish.  Press down into dish with a rubber spatula to force out any air pockets.  Pour remaining tomato sauce over loaf and spread using a rubber spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  While that is baking, you can prepare the the mashed cauliflower.

Mashed Cauliflower "Potatoes"

2 heads organic cauliflower- broken into florets
2 tablespoons organic grass-fed butter or ghee
1 clove minced organic garlic
1 tsp. chives or 1/2 tsp. italian herbs
1/2 ts. ground black pepper
Sea Salt to taste

Steam cauliflower in a steamer basket inside a large pot of boiling water for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and place cauliflower in a large blender or food processor.  Do not add liquid or your cauliflower with become runny.  Be patient. Stop the blender and stir the cauliflower making sure to push any florets down so they get into the mix.   Repeat until they are consistent and look like mashed potatoes and pour into a medium sauce pan over low heat.  Add butter and stir until melted before adding herbs, garlic, pepper and salt.  Continue stirring over low heat for a few minutes to help the moisture out and thicken the cauliflower mixture.   Serve topped with a thick slice of Paleo Meatloaf and continue to wish winter away, (unless of course you are lucky enough to live on top of a snowy mountain with a great pair of skis)~~~

Friday, February 11, 2011

Orange Beef and Veggies with Cauliflower Rice

After asking for "challenges" from some of the Paleo Parent fans on facebook, I decided to start off with the one I knew I could manage right away with things I had on hand.  Orange Chicken and Mongolian beef or Chinese food in general was the suggestion, so this one's for you, Becca. 

I did a little digging for some paleo friendly products to use for making Chinese food, and bought some, but I wanted to do this without those products first just to see if I could make it work.  The resulting pile of beef and vegetables was delicious and will only get better with some of these products I ordered and can't wait to try.

With soy sauce being a staple in many Chinese dishes, it proved to be a little challenging to make this without any.

Here's how I made this work.  All the ingredients can be adjusted depending on how sweet/salty/spicy you want it.

Orange Sauce

4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1 and 1/2 cups of fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons raw honey (this is key to help thicken the sauce)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic - minced
1 tsp. chives - finely chopped *optional
salt and pepper to taste - this is really up to each individual and the sauce is flavorful enough without it, but the addition of the salt gives it the added touch of what is missing by not using soy sauce that would have otherwise salted it.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter or coconut oil.  Add orange juice and honey, then the remaining ingredients.  Let the sauce come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally for about an hour until sauce has thickened a bit.  It will still be pretty watery even when it's ready to use.  While the sauce is simmering, you can prep the meat and vegetables.

Beef prep:

2- 6oz. sirloin steaks sliced into thin strips
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
6 cups mixed vegetables (I used a bag of frozen organic mixed vegetables- broccoli, carrots, cauliflower)
1/2 cup organic beef broth - make sure it's gluten free

Lay beef strips out on a clean surface and sprinkle desired amount of salt and pepper on each side.  In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Add beef strips and brown them on each side.  Reduce heat to medium, add beef broth and vegetables and cover.  While the vegetables are cooking with the beef, you can make your fried rice.

Cauliflower fried "rice"
1 head of organic cauliflower, rinsed
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Using a cheese grater/shredder run the head of cauliflower over it over a large plate or bowl.  The pieces will look like rice.  Do this until all the florets are gone and only the stalks remain.   It should produce about 2 cups of "rice."  Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add cauliflower rice to it.  Toss rice in the oil stirring frequently for a few minutes being careful not to let it burn.  When rice starts to get slightly browned, remove from heat and keep covered. 

Put it all together -  Pour the orange sauce into the large skillet with beef and vegetables and turn the heat up for a few minutes tossing the mixture to help more moisture out and thicken the sauce further.  Serve over a scoop of cauliflower rice and drizzle any remaining sauce on top. 

The kids won't know the difference - at least mine didn't.  Enjoy, and look out for the Mongolian beef recipe with some of my new products in a few weeks!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kale Chips - Strangely Addictive

Next to Seaweed Chips from Trader Joes, these come in a close second and are easy to make, and easy to eat half, or all of the bowl, by yourself!

A friend turned me on to these and I was shocked at how much I like them. Strangely addictive is what I would call them.  They're different, so don't expect Kettle Chips.  These are delicate and light and satisfy the crispy crunch we miss from our pre-paleo days of snacking on potato chips. 

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut kale leaves off of the main stems of one bunch of rinsed kale.  Then cut into bite sized leaves.  Add to a large mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon Olive Oil and sprinkle with Sea Salt (about 1 tsp. or less).   Spread leaves on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes on  middle oven rack.  Be sure not to let the leaves turn purple or brown and burn.  Trust me, burnt kale chips are utterly disgusting.   If you want to get really crazy, you can season the chips with chili powder, garlic, or whatever other seasoning you are in the mood for.

Indulge with your favorite GF cider beer like Woodchuck or Strongbow today while you enjoy the slew of new and imaginative Super Bowl commercials and try to talk yourself out of eating pizza, fried chicken wings, and whatever other gut buster you encounter.