At least during our Paleo Challenge in the months of March and April this year, I’ll post our weekly menus here. It seems like many times I’ll come up with the main portion of a meal easily, but then space out on an accompanying item in the veggie area. I’m hoping that this might inspire me to break away from the same ol’ stuff on our dinner table each week. And as a bonus? I’ll include the kid rating, which may or may not be pretty with my picky eater being on the board.
Monday: “Spaghetti” and meatballs; tossed green salad with roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, and mushrooms
Tuesday: Paleo Pizza and various toppings
Wednesday: Garlic Chicken; vegetable medley; tossed green salad
Thursday: Five Spice Stir Fry (recipe here)
Friday: Grilled Strip Steak with carmelized onions; freshly sauteed green beans w/ garlic and wheat-free tamari sauce
Saturday: Pork Shoulder; roasted carrots; guacamole and paleo chips
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti squash generally comes with a handy sticker that has instructions on how to cook it. Follow that, and once cooked, scrape the “noodles” out with a fork. In a bowl, put a handful of torn FRESH basil (tearing prevents bruising) and throw in some roughly chopped roasted garlic (roast whole in an oven with olive oil for about 20 min or until soft), almond slices, and a dash of olive oil. Mix well and add to your serving of spaghetti squash. Serve hot.
Add your favorite tomato sauce (watch the sugar content on your tomato sauce or prepared sauce! It can be very high.), and throw in some meatballs. I make mine with grass-fed beef or bison, freshly chopped garlic, onion powder, Italian seasonings, a little sea salt, and pepper. Roll them into balls (I use a cookie scooper; makes me a superfastsupermom), and bake until done.
Review: Hmmm. I expected the spaghetti squash “noodles” to be al dente, not have a crunchy bite to them. Although that was a shock, it was surprisingly yummy! Just not what I would call a pasta “substitute.” Kid rating? The squash actually was not finished cooking in time for their tummies, so we’ll have to give another go; but they loved the meatballs and seasoned broccoli feast on their plates.
Update: My 5yo LOVES this. He rarely ate spaghetti and meatballs made with real pasta, but this? He ate three gigantic helpings and asked if he could have this meal again for dinner the following day. We are thrilled.
2 c almond flour
2 egg whites
1 t sea salt
1/2 t each: cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, ground coriander
1 t each: onion powder, garlic powder
Roll this out between two pieces of parchment paper. Leave the crust on the bottom sheet of parchment paper, slide it onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. *Also makes very awesome and yummy “chips” for guac dipping. Just cut slices into it with a pizza cutter before baking for easy removal sans a lot of breakage.
After crust is baked, add toppings of your choice and bake until toppings are how you like them. We made three pizzas: marinara & cheese (for the boys); pesto, sun-dried tomato and shredded, cooked garlic chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken – it’s faster); and shredded, cooked garlic chicken and BBQ sauce (again, watch the sugar content – be smart!).
Review: Huge hit. Huge. The 5yo said it was the best pizza I’d ever made and ate and ate and ate. The 2yo liked it as well, giving me the head-back-eyes-closed “mmmmmmmmmyummmmmeeeee.” Hank and I fought over what they left for us. Note to self: double the recipe next time.
This is a recipe that I adapted from The Joy of Cooking, which has a lot of wonderful recipes that can be Paleo-ized, by the way. To start, I have a Schlemmertopf, which is a clay pot for cooking. It’s amazing. If you don’t have one, get one. It’s different than a crockpot and it’s the only way I’ll cook an entire chicken ever again.
Take a couple packages (or a “family size” package) of chicken thighs. Follow the Schlemmertopf instructions on preparing your pot for cooking, then add a bit of chicken broth (not a terrible lot; the pot’s lid will produce steam) to the base. Put in a layer of chicken thighs, and add a lot of chopped garlic on top. A lot. A LOT. Ok, so the original recipe was called “40-clove Garlic Chicken” or some such thing, so pile it on. (I buy chopped garlic by the jar and just heap spoonfuls on the chicken.) Sprinkle some thyme, rosemary, and sage over the garlic, then make another layer the same way. Put the lid on and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour and a half. Done. And just so you know, you won’t smell like garlic after eating this; for some reason it’s not that strong once it’s baked.
Review: We’ve had this a lot over the last few months, and it’s always a yummy dinner. Kid rating? Pretty high, although they do prefer their chicken with a side of kethcup. We’re working on it.
Get one. Put it in a crockpot, first thing in the morning. Cook it all day, adding your favorite spices. For instance, I use a bit of beef broth, cumin, gourmet pork seasoning (like a rub), a little sea salt, and voila. I also like to carmelize some onions while the pork is resting, right before we eat, just to add some muy bueno yumminess.
And now for those recipes that I promised you last week.
Sweet Potato Hash
Super easy. Start with a couple sweet potatoes; peel them, dice them, then saute them in olive oil just to start getting them a bit soft – but don’t overdo it or your hash will be too wet. Bleh.
Dice an onion and bell pepper. Add to those cooking potatoes. Now throw in some spices! Just use whatever sounds yummy, but I like cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, garlic salt, etc.
Cook some Italian sausage (about 2 links) and breakfast sausage (about 6 links); then slice them into bite-sized pieces. Cook them separately (to save the potatoes from getting too mushy), then toss everything together, throw it all into a casserole, and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees to heat through.
*Tip: for a yummy breakfast, fry an egg and top a helping of hash with it.
Review: Picky Eater only eats the sweet potatoes and sausages; 2yo eats it all off of his plate and starts in on mine (I usually run away with my plate, don’t worry); and Hank and I inhale this. It seriously only lasts in our house about two days, though we always hope for more.
1/2 c coconut flour, sifted
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves or 2 t pumpkin pie spice mixture instead of individual spices
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 c cooked pureed pumpkin
6 eggs, beaten
4 T coconut oil or unsalted butter, gently melted
1/3 c pure maple syrup or honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 c coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
3/4 c semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (greater than 65% dark chocolate)
Preheat oven to 400. Grease pans or use muffin liners. Sift dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, salt, spices). Place pumpkin and eggs into the bowl and mix well. Add butter or oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and mix well. Add flour mixture to egg mixture until blended. Add nuts and/or chocolate if using.
Bake until done; toothpick inserted in the middle should come out mostly clean.
Egg Quiches (or Muffins)
12 eggs whisked
8 pieces cooked bacon
2 handfuls spinach
1 c cooked chopped butternut squash
1 c chopped cooked red bell peppers
1/2 c raw cheese grated (optional)
1/2 c chopped green onion
(You can really put in anything you want, by the way.)
Grease muffin trays (I would not recommend using muffin liners; the eggs stick too badly). Beat the eggs and mix all ingredients together. Scoop mainly solid filling in the patty pans (I just HAD to leave that term in; my Aussie friend submitted this recipe and I love that – “patty pans”) and then top with the rest of the egg mix. If you need more eggs, just whisk up more to top it off. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until egg is cooked in the middle.
And for a bonus? This delicious treat, from Whole Foods, reminds me of cookie dough. It’s just that good.
Chocolate Earth Balls
Makes about 30
Kids love making and eating these chocolate earth balls, a less fancy version of grown-up truffles. The best part? No baking required! From The Whole Foods Market Cookbook.
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons carob powder or unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1/2 cup raisins (we used unsweetened, dried cranberries)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (gluten-free, if desired)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.)
Before measuring the peanut butter, stir it up well.
Mix the peanut butter, honey and carob or cocoa powder until well combined. Stir in the raisins and 2 tablespoons of the coconut. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Place the remaining coconut, sesame seeds and nuts into 3 separate bowls. Using a spoon, scoop small heaps of the peanut mixture from the bowl; roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Rolling is easier if you form a rough ball, roll in the coconut, and then continue rolling into a more perfect shape. Roll each finished ball in more coconut, sesame seeds and chopped nuts. Arrange the balls on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Review: Let’s just put it this way: I house these little treasures on the top shelf of the fridge, much too high for the little squirts to eat them all before Hank and I have our fair share. They’re seriously like sneaking bites of cookie dough goodness.