Category Archives: Crock Pot

6 Common Slow Cooker Problems—And How To Fix Them

6 Common Slow Cooker Problems—And How To Fix Them | stupideasypaleo.com

Slow cooker problems can turn one of Paleo’s most useful kitchen tools into a headache. These appliances are utterly indispensable for busy people who want to cook healthy food, so dialing it in can really help your time in the kitchen. From stews to bone broth to roasts and even veggies, with a little know-how, you’ll be well on your way to making satisfying meals.

Here are 6 common slow cookers problems and what to do if and when you encounter them!

Slow Cooker Problems #1: Meat comes out dry / tough.

When you’re cooking meat in the slow cooker, the leaner the cut, the drier it tends to get. That means fattier cuts of meat—think pork shoulder roasts and beef pot roasts—do better than leaner ones, like pork sirloin or chops. If the meat comes with skin or a fat cap, leave that intact to keep the meat from drying out.

It’s also possible that the meat simply cooked too long. Generally, start out with about 1 to 1.25 hours per pound for cooking on high and 1.25 to 1.5 hours per pound for cooking on low.

Slow Cooker Problems #2: The food’s too liquidy.

For slow cookers, you need about half the amount of liquid that a traditional recipe (for the oven or stovetop) calls for. If the recipe isn’t optimized for a slow cooker, cut the amount of liquid by about 50%. In fact, when I cook a whole chicken or pork roast in the slow cooker, I put the meat in without any liquid at all.

If your final dish comes out too watery, remove the lid and turn the slow cooker to high for about an hour. This will allow some of the moisture to evaporate, thickening the sauce / broth.

Slow Cooker Problems #3: There’s no automatic shut off / timer.

This one’s a valid concern with a simple solution. If you can’t be around to switch off the slow cooker and yours has no automatic shut off, purchase a lamp timer! Then, plug your machine into that, set it, and it’ll turn off even if you aren’t home.

Slow Cooker Problems #4: It makes too much food.

Many slow cooker recipes make large portions, especially for small households. Luckily, many meats / roasts, soups and stews freeze well so you can store them for days you’re too busy to cook.

Slow Cooker Problems #5: The food isn’t cooking evenly.

This is a common problem with slow cookers. If you’re making a beef stew with carrots, for example, some carrots may be mushy while some are too hard. Food that’s cut into pieces that are the same size will cook more evenly than food that’s chopped haphazardly. Very soft / fast cooking vegetables can usually be added toward the end of the total cooking time so they don’t break down into mush.

Slow Cooker Problems #6: You aren’t sure whether to use the low or high setting.

Believe it or not, the low versus high settings aren’t different final temperatures. Rather, the high setting gets the slow cooker to boiling point faster than the low setting. Then, the contents will remain at a simmer for the rest of the cooking process. I personally prefer the low setting because I think meat comes out a bit more tender with the longer cooking time.

Want my free Quick Slow Cooker Recipe Guide? Click here! Also, check out my favorite slow cooker cookbook, The Paleo Slow Cooker. Happy eating!

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Paleo Meal Planning: A How-To

Paleo Meal Planning: A How-To | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo meal planning doesn’t have to be intimidating, and you’re going to learn the essentials of putting together a one week menu in this post. Cool, right?

Paleo Meal Planning, Step 1: The Weekly Cook-Up

When you eat Paleo, you tend to cook at home (a LOT) but one thing that can slow you down is cooking every single meal fresh, from scratch. By eating leftovers, you’ll be able to reach into the fridge, grab and reheat a meal without having to start the process from step one.

Instituting a weekly cook-up day is the an important part of meal planning. You’ll need to set aside one day a week to do a big shopping trip and a large amount of batch cooking. (Two or three hours usually does it.) Pick a day where you preferably don’t have to work. If you’re off on the weekend, pick Sunday as your big cook-up day.

With enough planning you’ll be able to create meals for Monday through Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, a small trip to the market and a little cook-up will get you through to the weekend. (Adjust according to your days off.)

My must-have tools for weekly cook-up day: a programmable slow cooker, baking sheets for roasting off tons of veggies, a high-speed blender for sauces and soups, and lots of glass-lock containers to store all your tasty eats.

Paleo Meal Planning, Step 2: Create a Template

This is probably the key to a successful meal plan: Create a template that you can pop recipes into by type. That way, you keep the template and vary the recipes week to week so that you’re taking some of the guesswork out.

Here’s what I mean:

Monday

Breakfast: Reheated frittata, blueberries, cherry tomatoes

Lunch: Slow cooker beef, roasted veggies, avocado

Dinner: Huge salad with grilled or pan-fried chicken, homemade dressing, nuts

Tuesday

Breakfast: Hardboiled eggs, leftover slow cooker meat, roasted sweet potato

Lunch: One-skillet stir fry, raw veggies, olives or coconut flakes

Dinner: Soup or stew, roasted squash, avocado

Wednesday

Breakfast: Leftover pan-fried chicken, veggie hash, homemade ranch

Lunch: Mixed salad with shredded pork, berries and avocado

Dinner: Tacos or enchiladas, fresh salsa and all the fixings

Thursday

Breakfast: Egg muffins, fresh fruit, coconut flakes

Lunch: Leftover enchiladas from the previous day

Dinner: Out to eat

Friday

Breakfast: Hardboiled eggs, smoked salmon, olives

Lunch: Big salad with slow cooker chicken, homemade dressing

Dinner: Oven-baked meatballs and sauce with spaghetti squash, sautéed greens

Saturday

Breakfast: Sweet potato hash, bacon and eggs

Lunch: Collard wraps, avocado and fruit

Dinner: Baked fish with homemade sauce, fresh slaw

Sunday

Breakfast: Forage for leftovers

Lunch: Lettuce-wrapped burgers and sweet potato fries

Dinner: Slow cooker curry with cauli rice

and so on…

Individual preferences and how many leftovers you have will vary.

Paleo Meal Planning, Step 3: Browse for Recipes but KISS

Now that your cook-up days are scheduled, it’s time to decide what you’ll make. For a majority of meals, KISS. Don’t try to get involved in fancy schmancy techniques and complicated recipes for everything. Stick to recipes with ingredients that are easy to find in your local market. Running all over tarnation for random ingredients is not a great way to maximize your time.

If you need inspiration, check out sites like Pinterest. You can browse boards quickly and save pins to your own boards for later. Dig into your favorite cookbooks or visit your favorite blogs. My favorite for simple recipe ideas are Nom Nom Paleo, The Clothes Make the Girl, Paleo Cupboard, Popular Paleo and Meatified. These five are my go-to sites besides my own. *wink*

I recommend doing this a day or two before your weekly big cook-up, plugging it into your template (see step 2) and making a list of ingredients.

Of course, there is no one right or wrong way to do this. Experiment and find out what works for you!

Other Paleo Meal Planning Tips

Get creative

You don’t have to slave over a soup pot for hours and hours to create every meal. By including a variety of techniques, you can actually minimize cooking time. Eating a mix of raw and cooked veggies will help.

Every week I like to include:

Soups or stews

Slow cooker meals

One-skillet meals

Baked egg dishes

Hardboiled eggs

Vegetables hashes

Roasted vegetables

Sautéed vegetables

Raw salads or slaws

Grilled, pan-fried or baked meats / fish

Easy sauces or dressings

Meals that can be frozen for later

Be flexible

You can eat breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. The first meal of the day does NOT have to be a Paleo version of a traditionally carb-heavy dish. You can really eat anything for breakfast. In fact, mine is usually eggs with leftover meat and raw veggies or fruit. Simple.

Try a meal exchange

Rope a couple other Paleo friends into creating a meal exchange. Basically how it works is this: Cook and prepare a main dish, side dish and sauce for your friends and yourself. Swap meals and you’ll have instant variety!

Plan one meal out to eat

Fill a gap in your template by going out to eat. Many restaurants are Paleo-friendly if you ask for substitutions.

Have fun with it

Learning to meal plan and balance your time with other demands in your life takes practice, but the more you do it, the more innate it’ll get it. Pretty soon, you’ll be planning meals like a pro!

Or…if all else fails, let someone do the planning for you!

The Paleo meal plans from Holistic Squid are great. You can even get a free sample to try before you buy!

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Paleo Meal Planning: A How-To | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comments below!

Slow-Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole from The Paleo Foodie & A Chance to Win

Slow Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole | stupideasypaleo.com

Slow-Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole is the perfect blend of two worlds: simple cooking and huge flavor! When my friend Arsy Vartanian, author of the brand new book The Paleo Foodie Cookbook, asked me to share one of her recipes with you, I jumped at the chance. I know you all love chicken recipes, and slow cooker food definitely fits my criteria of stupid-easy. While it may seem like there are a lot of ingredients, they’re integral in creating a savory, complex mole sauce with a richness and depth of flavor.

If you love the sound of this recipe, go check out Arsy’s cookbook. She’s also got two awesome bonuses for you: We are giving away a copy of her book (sorry, contest is now closed) and you can get a free copy of her ebook, The Paleo Dinner Party, if you pre-order (details also at the bottom).

Ingredients for Slow-Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole:

  • 2 pounds (900 grams) chicken pieces (breasts and legs work well), bone in, skins removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 grams) ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 6–7 whole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 5 dried New Mexico chili peppers, rehydrated and chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) almond butter
  • 2-1/2 ounces (70 grams) dark chocolate (70% or above)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon guajillo chili powder
  • Avocado, cilantro and jalapeño, all chopped (garnish)

Directions for Slow-Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole:

  1. Generously salt and pepper the chicken.
  2. Place a pan over medium heat and add ghee. Once the ghee has warmed, add the chicken and brown on all sides. This may need to be done in batches. Move chicken to the slow cooker.
  3. Add onion to the same pan and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer onion and garlic to slow cooker.
  4. Add the tomatoes, chili peppers, almond butter, dark chocolate, salt and spices (cumin, cinnamon, chili powder) to the slow cooker.
  5. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the chicken is tender and pulls apart easily. If you are home when making the dish, lift the lid once and give it a stir to make sure all the ingredients are well combined. Remove chicken bones. Top mole with avocado, cilantro and jalapeño and serve!

To enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of The Paleo Foodie Cookbook:

The winner is… lynn.s****@e*******l.com. Thank you to all who entered!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to complete your entry! (This is how the winner will be drawn, so don’t skip this step!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends March 23, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PST, and the winner will be announced here on the blog by March 25, 2014. Be sure to check back to see if you won!

The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number to claim the prize. Open to US residents only.

To get your free copy of The Paleo Foodie Dinner Party eBook:

Head over to Amazon and pre-order The Paleo Foodie Cookbook (pictured below). Then, email your receipt to paleodinnerparty@gmail.com.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole | stupideasypaleo.com

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Slow Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole | stupideasypaleo.com

Creamy Leek Soup (Dairy-Free)

The autumn months are here. Longer nights. Colder days.

DSC_0096  It’s getting to be soup weather (though I love soup all year long).

This creamy, really simple dish is modeled after vichyssoise, a silky soup made with potatoes and cream or milk. My friend Claudette made me her Paleo version this summer, and I was shocked to find out that instead of potato it contained….

…cauliflower.

When I served this to my unsuspecting taste testers and asked them what was in it, they could not guess cauliflower. Haha…fooled ‘em! A traditional vichyssoise is served cold, and while you could do that, I liked it better warm.

And for an extra added special factor, I sprinkled mine with some Bacon Gremolata or just crispy bacon, crumbled up. You’re welcome :)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of leeks, dark green ends removed, roughly chopped (~2 large leeks)
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, chopped (4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup onion (~1 medium)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 Tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DSC_0087

Directions:

  • Wash the leeks well. I usually cut off the root end then slice it down the middle lengthwise. Hold under running water and separate the leaves, rinsing well (especially the outermost leaves). Sandy soup is not delicious. I usually cut off the top 1/3 of the leek and save that for making stock. Chop the leeks roughly. Add to a large soup pot.
leeks

Cut the tough, dark green leaves off (save for stockAdd to a large soup pot.

  • Cut the core out of the cauliflower and trim off any leaves. Roughly chop it. Add that to the pot.
  • Add the onions, chicken broth, coconut milk and ghee to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the veggies are tender.
  • Allow to cool, then puree until smooth using a blender (be careful…you may need to do two or more batches so the blender doesn’t overflow).
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

p.s. You can make this in the crock pot. Add all the ingredients and cook on low for 3-5 hours. The flavor is the same but the consistency won’t be as thick. To troubleshoot that, you can remove the crock pot lid for the last hour of cooking so some of the liquids evaporate.

Do you think you might try this recipe? What toppings would you use?

October Giveaway: Deluxe Crock Pot

It’s time for another giveaway here at Stupid Easy Paleo because y’all are such phenomenal fans!

crock pot giveaway 2

Starting in October and continuing monthly, I’ll be hosting a free giveaway for a wonderful ware that’ll help make your Paleo cooking easier. I’m kicking it off with this kickass crock pot – and it’s not just any old slow cooker. It’s a deluxe 6 liter programmable slow cooker from Crock Pot brand (a $60 value)!

I’m a firm believer that slow cookers are one of the top three kitchen tools to make healthier cooking – despite a busy lifestyle – that much simpler. For a PDF of my favorite crock pot recipes, click here.

How to Enter to Win

Contest is now closed. Congratulations to Nadine A., the winner of the deluxe Crock Pot!

It’s simple…use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

You MUST sign up for my mailing list to be eligible to win. After you complete your entry, be sure to check your email inbox and confirm your subscription (your email address remains private, and I don’t spam…EVER).

You can earn bonus entries for doing the following:

Check out the awesome features of the crock pot here, and tell me what you plan on making in the comments below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest will end on October 31, 2013 at 11:59 PST. The winner will be announced on November 1, 2013 on the Stupid Easy Paleo blog and must claim the prize by November 30, 2013.  This contest is open to all readers, regardless of country. If you live outside the United States, you’ll receive an Amazon gift certificate in the amount of the prize.

 

Crock Pot Chicken Yellow Curry Soup

DSC_0012 Last week on Facebook, I asked which you – fantastic fan – would like more recipes for: veggies, meat or crock pot, and the slow cooker was the winning vote by far. Here’s my guess on why: crock pots do everything for you…except clean up. Yup. It’s true. Put it in and walk away…it’s like the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie Oven for the busy Paleo eater (I know you remember those “Set it and forget it!” Saturday morning infomercials).

I took one of my most adored recipes from my Crock Pot Recipe Guide and gave it a slight makeover. What resulted was a warm, filling, and savory curry that’s not at all spicy hot. Best part, it’s free from the weird ingredients found in most premixed curry pastes. and you don’t have to worry about that lonesome jar of rarely used curry powder getting stale because you’ve made it fresh. Makes about four servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb. (~700 g) boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into chunks
  • 6 cups of veggies, chopped (I used one cup each of onion, carrots, green beans, broccoli, tomatoes and red bell pepper. Use what you like or have on hand.)
  • 1-14 oz can (~400 ml) of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup water (for a thicker, curry-like sauce, omit the water)
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken and veggie into medium-large chunks. Put everything into the crock pot.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, and crushed tomatoes. Then add the spices: cumin, ground coriander, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Add the water. Stir to combine everything.
  3. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. [I cooked mine for 8 hours overnight since my current crock pot does not have an automatic shut off function, though, at it came out perfect nonetheless.] 
  4. If the you want it more like a curry and less like a soup, omit the 1 cup of water above. You can also remove the lid from the crock pot for the last hour of cooking so some of the moisture evaporates.
  5. Season to taste with salt.
  6. Serve. Would be great over cauliflower rice, but it’s tasty on its own, too.

Kickin’ BBQ Shredded Chicken Guest Post

I had the distinct honor of writing a guest post for the one and only, incredibly creative, OG of Paleo food blogs, Michelle T. of Nom Nom Paleo. Her site’s has been a favorite of mine since my early days of Paleo, and she’s been a huge inspiration regarding clean and tasty eats.

nomnom

 

If you’ve never checked out her site, now’s the time! You can find my recipe for Kickin’ BBQ Shredded Chicken there – and trust me when I say it’s an easy one that can be made ahead to fit your busy schedule and utilizes my favorite kitchen secret weapon…wink wink.

Click here for the recipe –> Kickin’ BBQ Shredded Chicken!

Crock Pot Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast

DSC_0858-2 copy

Crock Pot mocha-rubbed pot roast. Slow cooker. What’s not to love already?

You’re probably thinking, “Coffee? Pot roast? What?!” but rest assured that it’s not like downing a cup of joe. The coffee adds a subtle depth of flavor that the spices alone can’t achieve. The end result was fall-apart tender.

If you have time, I highly recommend taking the liquid from the crock pot and reducing it down by boiling until it becomes thicker. It’s nice to drizzle on top, almost like a gravy. Of course, if you’re in a rush, you can skip that step. If you don’t have access to this awesome cold-brew coffee, and java will do. This recipe is easily doubled.

Ingredients for Crock Pot Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast: 

For the mocha rub (you will have extra):

For the roast:

  • 2 lb. beef roast (I used grass-fed chuck)
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (I used Chameleon Cold-Brew)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 6 dried figs, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions for the Crock Pot Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast: 

  1. Prepare the mocha rub by mixing together the finely ground coffee, smoked paprika, black pepper, cocoa powder, Aleppo pepper (sub: sweet paprika), chili powder, ground ginger and salt in a small bowl. You won’t use the entire batch if you’re making a 2 lb. roast. It stores well in an airtight container. DSC_0780
  2. Pat the beef roast dry with a paper towel. Spoon 3–4 tablespoons of the mocha rub mixture over the roast and rub it in well with your hands—my preferred method. Or, place the roast and 3–4 tablespoons of mocha rub in a plastic ziptop bag and shake until it’s evenly coated.  DSC_0787
  3. Combine the brewed coffee, beef broth, onion, figs and balsamic vinegar in a blender. Puree until liquified. DSC_0776
  4. Pour the liquid into the crock pot and place the roast gently on top.
  5. Cook for 5–6 hours on low.
  6. Remove the meat and shred with two forks. You can then boil the liquid until it reduces and thickens or simply serve as is. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste DSC_0842 DSC_0859

Crock Pot Caribbean Oxtails

IMG_4063What the heck is oxtail? Most of what we – and by we I mean Americans – call oxtail is actually tail sections from a cow. It contains a center bone and can be a bit fatty, but when cooked low and slow, the meat becomes super tender. Sounds like a perfect job for the crock pot though you could certainly braise these on the stove top instead.

Have I told you how much crock pots rule? Yes, I have, but it bears repeating: if you are strapped for time and think you don’t have the chance to cook,  a slow cooker is probably the single best use of $30-40 that I can think of. It’s the ultimate in lazy smart cooking because once the food goes in, you literally have to do nothing but wait. Win!

When I researched Caribbean recipes for oxtail, most of them had Paleo-unfriendly ingredients like flour or sugar. Ick. Instead, I’ve given you all the amazing flavor without any unsavory additions. This would be super tasty served over cauliflower rice. For an even *faster* version, eliminate steps 2-4 and just throw everything into the crock pot together. I think the extra couple minutes it takes to brown the meat is well worth it though.

If you can’t find oxtail, you could substitute stew meat instead.

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 6 hours    Makes: 2 lb of meat plus veggies

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (1 kg) beef oxtails
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
  • 2 cups beef stock, homemade or organic is best
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon allspice berries (or 1 teaspoon ground allspice)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (I like Red Boat Fish Sauce)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Coconut oil or fat of choice
  • Sea salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare all the veggies: dice the onions and carrots. Mince the garlic and ginger. If using jalapeño pepper, you can remove some or all of the seeds and mince. If you like it spicy, you can keep the seeds or even add a hotter pepper such as habanero (Scotch bonnet).
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add a spoonful of coconut oil. Sprinkle the oxtails with salt and pepper. Brown them on all sides, and place them in the crock pot. 
  3. In the same skillet, add the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger and jalapeño. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, allspice berries, fish sauce and thyme. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up all the browned bits from the oxtail. If you want to get fancy, this is called deglazing the pan and the bits are called fond. Fun with cooking!
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the contents into the crockpot to cover the oxtail.
  6. Cook on high for 6 hours.

Paleo Memorial Day Menu

IMG_4131It’s almost Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means: Sun’s out, guns out! Yussss! Summer is almost here!

Parties and BBQs with friends and family will be had. Days are still getting longer and evenings are getting warmer which makes for perfect outdoor dining. And, it’ll now also be socially acceptable to wear white pants – I won’t be taking advantage of that because I ruin anything white. Anyone who can explain where that rule came from will win my adoration forever.

In case you need some party-dish inspiration for the weekend ahead, I’ve pulled together some of my favorite summertime recipes in one place. See, I love ya! Leave a comment and tell me what YOUR favorite summer party take-along dish is.

Drinks

  • Coconut water with frozen berries
  • Seltzer water with lime and olive garnish
  • Watermelon Slush

Appetizers / Snacks

yamsSalads / Side-Dishes

Meat

plantainDesserts

Honey Mustard Crock Pot Spare Ribs

DSC_0193I have this thing about getting my hands sloppy and messy with finger food. It kind of freaks me out, and I’m not sure why. Back in college, I was a cake decorator at a local grocery store chain, and getting frosting all over my hands would make me come undone. True story. Luckily, these ribs are so tasty that I didn’t even notice I was tearing in with my paws until they were almost gone.

My amazing Australian pen pal (yes, I have a pen pal) Georgia sent me the most thoughtful care package last week, and inside was a super tasty brown mustard. I thought there was no better way to enjoy it then to make a sweet and spicy honey mustard glaze for the ribs. The ribs came out so tender.

Do you have not as much time to cook as you’d like? You’re not alone. Okay, now go and order yourself a crock pot if you don’t already have one (I recommend one with a digital timer and keep warm function) and make this recipe. Smile and enjoy your tasty meal knowing that it basically cooked itself. This recipe is a mashup between two non-Paleo one’s from Rachel Ray and the White On Rice Couple. I adapted them and put them together. Voila! This batch of ribs was relatively small (1.5 lb of meat) because, well, I’m a single person. Double your recipe (or more) depending on how many people you’re serving.

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 6 hours    Makes: 1.5 lb of ribs

Ingredients:

For the ribs:

  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (look for gluten free options, I used Lea & Perrins)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 cup broth, any kind
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 star anise
  • 1.5 lb (700g) of spare ribs, pork or beef

For the honey-mustard glaze:

  • 1/4 cup mustard, any kind (I used brown)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare the braising liquid for the ribs by combining the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, mustard, hot sauce, and broth in a small bowl. 
  2. Put the ribs in the crock pot. Cut to fit, if needed. Pour the braising liquid over and drop in the ginger and star anise.
  3. Cover, set to low, and cook for 6 hours. I flipped the ribs over once during cooking.
  4. For the sauce, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until it has reduced / thickened a bit. Stir often.
  5. I kept it simple by removing the ribs from the crock pot (gently because they will probably fall apart) and basting them with the honey mustard sauce. I served with extra sauce on the side for dipping.
  6. NOMS.

Crock Pot Puerco Pibil

IMG_3855

Pork shoulder, citrus and spices come together in this super-easy crock pot dish that I guarantee will be a huge punch of flavor. I adapted the recipe from one I found on a pressure cooker website and had to modify the achiote paste portion using dry ingredients from scratch because I couldn’t find it at my local market. Puerco pibil (roast pork shoulder with achiote and spices) comes from the Yucutan region of Mexico. It’s traditionally cooked in banana leaves but since I didn’t have those (nor did I have a pit to bury it in – the traditional way of cooking puerco pibil) I just threw everything in the crock pot and let it go for about 8 hours on low. The next morning I was greeted with a savory broth and fork tender pork.

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 8 hours (crock pot)    Makes: ~4 pounds

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 15 ounce can of diced fire-roasted tomato
  • 2 Tbsp annato powder (sub paprika if you can’t find annato)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 5 lb (~2.5 kg) pork shoulder roast (I bought two smaller roasts)
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the annato, cumin, black pepper, 1 tsp salt and pinch of nutmeg. Stir in a bit of water until the spices have a thick, paste-like consistency. photo-572
  2. Slice the onion and add to a skillet with a spoonful of fat (coconut oil, etc) over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until translucent, then add the can of tomatoes. Cook for a few more minutes until softened.
  3. Prepare the pork by trimming off any large pieces of external fat (if there is fat on the inside of the meat, most of it will cook out). Slice each roast into long pieces about 1.5″ wide. Season with salt.
  4. In the crockpot, mix the juice of one orange with the cider vinegar. Add the annato / spice paste and stir until dissolved. Lay the pork into the liquid. Top with the tomato / onion mixture.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (longer is okay, too). Skim the excess fat off the top while it’s still warm or refrigerate and the fat will solidify on top and can be scooped off.
  6. This was delicious with a couple of eggs for breakfast!

Paleo Cabbage Rolls (Golumbki)

Paleo Cabbage Rolls (Golumbki) | stupideasypaleo.com

Say it with me…”go-wump-key”…it’s a fun one.

These satisfying little rolls of meat and cabbage take me back to my childhood, and having a Polish grandmother meant that golumbki were often on the menu when we went to visit. When I made this recipe, I instantly reminisced about her standing in the kitchen cooking for all of us. Traditionally, golumbki are made with rice so I substituted cauliflower to give a similar look and texture. Grandma always used a can of Campbell’s tomato soup (contains corn syrup and gluten!) to pour over the golumbki while they cook, but I used plain crushed tomatoes to give the same flavor without any weird ingredients. This one takes a little bit of time to prepare so to make up for it, I threw it all in the crock pot on low for 5 hours – you could bake them in the oven at 350°F for about 90 minutes. Or to make the process super easy, layer the ingredients in a dish, lazy-style.

Ingredients for Paleo Cabbage Rolls:

Directions for Paleo Cabbage Rolls:

1. Rice / grate the cauliflower. I use the grating attachment on my food processor or you could grate by hand – but it’s a pain in the ass. Save 1-1/2 cups for this recipe and the rest for something else…it’s tasty fried up in this side dish.

2. Dice the onion finely.

3. In a large bowl, mix the beef, pork, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

4. Put a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. To prepare the cabbage for rolling, you’ll lightly boil it whole and peel the leaves off a few at a time. Cut the core out of the cabbage and place in the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. As the leaves soften, you can peel them off with a spoon. Take care not to rip them in half. The whole process usually takes about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can throw the whole cabbage in and let it simmer for about 15 minutes – the outermost leaves will become very soft but still usable. In either case, peel as many of the leaves off as you can and let cool a bit.

5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat put a spoonful of coconut oil or your fat of choice. Add the onion and grated cauliflower  and and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onion is translucent and the cauliflower is softened. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

6. Combine the onion / cauliflower with the meat and mix by hand to incorporate all the ingredients.

7. Roll the golumbki by taking a cabbage leaf – concave side up with the stem toward you – and placing a large spoonful of the meat mixture at the stem end. Then roll forward, fold the sides in and end with the seam down.


8. Mix the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce (not pasta sauce) in a bowl. Put ~1 cup in the bottom of the crockpot (or casserole dish). Lay the golumbki in with the seam side down. Cover with the remaining tomato mixture once the crock is full.

9. For a crockpot, cook on low for 5 hours. If using the oven, cover the top of the dish with foil and bake for 1.5 hours at 350°F (175°C).

Crockpot Italian Meatballs

…with a twist.

Lately I’ve received many requests for crockpot recipes, so I decided to keep it simple and create something with Italian flavors but with a special addition.

I’ve had two pounds of grass-fed calf’s liver sitting in my freezer for months now, unsure of what to do with it. Liver is known as one of the most potent superfoods and is ridiculously high in micronutrients. I recently tried sheep’s liver fried in butter and onions and while it wasn’t utterly terrible I didn’t find it great either. The idea of hiding the liver in something else (meatballs) came to me, and so I pulled the calf’s liver out of the deep freeze and grated it into the meatball mixture. You could very easily make these meatballs with any type of ground meat you’d like (bison, turkey, elk, pork, etc) and certainly leave out the liver if you prefer. I made two pounds of meatballs and in the future might even do three pounds at a time since they will freeze well or make great leftovers throughout the week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (1 kg) grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/3 cup calf’s liver, frozen and grated*, optional
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup olives (any kind), chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 jar (24 oz) organic pasta sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes

*add more or less to suit your taste

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Directions:

  1. Prepare the vegetables: chop 1/2 of a red bell pepper into small dice and slice the other bell pepper thinly; slice the green onions thinly (white + green parts); chop the olives; mince the garlic.
  2. In a large bowl, add the ground beef, vegetables, egg and spices together.
  3. Grate frozen liver into the beef mixture. You can add as much as you’d like, but I went with a small amount (1/2 cup) to start. Omit liver if you’d prefer.
  4. Mix all the ingredients to combine. Shape into balls. I made them fairly large and got 20 total.
  5. Heat a skillet to medium and add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides and add to the crock pot. This took two batches.
  6. Sprinkle the sliced red bell pepper on top of the meatballs and pour pasta sauce and diced tomatoes on top.
  7. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  8. Serve with spaghetti squash, over sautéed kale, or just as is.

Crockpot Turkey Breast

Crock Pot Turkey Breast  Stupid Easy Paleo

Recently on my Facebook page, I asked what sorts of recipes you all were interested in, and more than one of you mentioned crock pot meals. This recipe is as easy as it gets, and the crock pot (being one of my top 3 favorite kitchen gadgets) is in heavy rotation in my kitchen. These flavors blend nicely for fall and turkey should be increasingly easier to find in the market, but feel free to get creative and mix up different combinations of spices and vegetables (or even use chicken instead). I’ll post some suggestions underneath the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb. (1-1.5 kg) bone-in turkey breast
  • 1 large onion
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 lemon or orange
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Herbs de Provence
  • Sea salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Prepare the veggies: rough chop the onion and slice the carrots (fairly chunky since you don’t want them to disintegrate in the crock pot).

2. Put the onion and carrot into the crock pot.

3. Place the turkey breast on top of the veggies.

4. Sprinkle the turkey breast generously with Herbs de Provence, sea salt and pepper.

5. Slice the lemon or orange, and arrange the pieces on top of the turkey.

6. Pour the cranberries over the top.

7. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the crock pot.

8. Set the crock pot on LOW for approximately 5-6 hours (you may want to increase the time if the turkey breast is very large).

Other vegetable / spices combinations:

3 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

A couple weeks about, my Twitter pal @XFPH asked, “What are your 3 favorite kitchen gadgets?” to which I immediately responded “knife, cast iron skillet and Crock Pot!”

Seriously folks, it’s important to have kitchen tools and gadgets that help make your life easier and cooking more enjoyable. Would you use a hammer to put a screw into wood? I think not. I’m not saying you have to spend your life savings on every gimmicky gadget out there but with some good quality basic supplies, cooking will not be as much of a struggle.

First up…a knife. DON’T BE CHEAP! You don’t need a 15 piece knife set to start out. My blade of choice is a 7″ JA Henckels santoku knife. It does a majority of the chopping/slicing/prep work that I need in the kitchen. Find a knife handle that fits comfortably in your hand and has good weight. While you’re at it, pick up a steel or sharpening stone and learn how to use it. Here’s a video link of Gordon Ramsey demonstrating how it’s done…because he’s bloody sarcastic and I love him. Dull knives suck…and are dangerous. Click here to see the one I showed in the video. $40-$70 will give you a good range to shop from.

Next…cast iron skillet. No icky, weird non-stick coating to flake up and you can use metal utensils. The iron will heat up evenly and goes easily from stove top to oven (just beware of hot handles). Plus, you can do bicep curls with it! Kidding…sort of. $20 or so will get you a decent-sized skillet.

And last but certainly not least…Crock Pot. Can’t say enough about this bad boy: it’s the epitome of lazy cooking. Throw in your ingredients, set it and forget it (did anyone flash back to Ron Popeil of infomercial fame there?!). Spend the extra $5-$10 and get one with a digital timer and auto-shut off so you can truly walk away. Keep your eye out at Target, etc and you can find them on sale. The crock (ceramic) part of mine recently broke and couldn’t be replaced so I picked up a new one for $29.99 on sale. Check out my free Crock Pot recipe guide here.

What are your 3 favorite kitchen gadgets?

(and p.s. If I could pick a 4th, it would be my Vitamix!)