Category Archives: Recipes

3 Easy Ways to Make Food Taste Good: Ask Steph

3 Easy Ways to Make Food Taste Good—Ask Steph | stupideasypaleo.com

(Want to submit your own question to be feature on Ask Steph? Submit it via the contact form, and use the subject line “Ask Steph!”)

Julie H. writes:

I’m new to Paleo and want to eat better, but I get bored with a lot of the meals I cook. How can I make things taste better so I’m motivated to stick to eating this way?

Julie H.

A lot of readers here are probably not just new to Paleo, but new to cooking a lot at home as well. Creating flavor so that food isn’t boring on your palate is so important, and I’m here to tell you that it’s pretty simple if you remember some basics. When healthy food tastes good, you’re more likely to come back for more rather than turning to processed food loaded with salt, sugar and fat.

A Simple Formula For Max Flavor

When you have a really great meal at a restaurant and the taste harmoniously sings on your tongue, it’s most likely because the chef has done a great job balancing three or four different flavor components:

salt + sour + sweet or umami

The good news is that you don’t need a trip to culinary school to start experimenting with these right away.

Ingredient #1 For Making Flavor: Salt

The most strict of all Paleo diets calls for NO added salt to food. None. I have one word for that: bland. When food lacks salt, the result is a lack of flavor, unpalatable. You don’t want to go crazy in the other direction by over-salting, but adding salt to food is the most basic seasoning technique.

When you’re focusing on real, whole foods and avoiding processed, pre-made foods, your sodium intake tends to drop off dramatically.

There are lots of different types of salt, but sea salt is my favorite because it tends to be less intense than kosher varieties. There’s fine, medium and coarse grain and even flakes. I like a medium-grain sea salt for an all-around variety. What about iodized salt? I tend to avoid it because I’d rather get dietary iodine—an essential micronutrient—from whole foods such as sea vegetables, seafood and eggs instead.

Salt is also important in the cooking techniques like brining or sweating veggies to reduce their moisture content. That could be a whole post by itself!

What are some other ways to add a salty element to your food: using pickled or fermented veggies like sauerkraut or capers, cured meats such as bacon, olives or even coconut aminos.

Ingredient #2 For Making Flavor: Acid

Acidic / sour ingredients really help brighten up the flavors of a dish and are also good at cutting through an overly fatty dish. Typically, I add some acid right at the end of cooking to freshen up the flavor just a bit.

Another great way to add an acidic element to your meal is by incorporating a sauce such as salsa or vinaigrette. I always keep fresh limes and lemons in my fruit bowl for a quick squeeze of acid.

Some other ways to add an acidic / sour element to your food: using fermented or pickled veggies or different types of vinegars—apple cider and balsamic are my favorites.

Ingredient #3 For Making Flavor: Sweet or Umami

Using these two components can depend on the recipe you’re making, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Sweetness doesn’t mean you have to add sugar. Rather, consider sprinkling on some dried or fresh fruit; a drizzle of honey or maple syrup; or even roast veggies to bring out their natural sweetness.

Umami is basically a savory flavor that’s imparted by foods that have the amino acid glutamate. Note: Eating real foods that are higher in glutamate is not the same as using an additive like monosodium glutamate (MSG). Yuck.

Some ways to add umami to your food: using mushrooms (I like shiitakes), broth, tomatoes, fish sauce, coconut aminos or sardines.

Don’t Forget About…

Texture. Adding an element to your plate that breaks up the texture is another way to keep food interesting. If everything is soft, add something crispy / crunchy or vice versa. Some options: raw veggies, chopped nuts, plantain chips, etc.

Spices and herbs. Get your pantry stocked up with these because they’re awesome ways to add flavor. Click here to get my free guide.

Hopefully, this gives you some inspiration to make food that’s never boring!

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3 Easy Ways to Make Food Taste Good—Ask Steph | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below!

Bone Broth 101: How to Make the Best Broth

Bone Broth 101 | stupideasypaleo.com

Bone Broth 101: How to Make the Best Broth

Steph’s note: Today’s awesome tutorial is brought to you by Ryan Harvey, founder of Bare Bones Broth Co. Bare Bones offers hand-crafted broth shipped right to you, but if you’re more of a DIY type of person, Ryan shares some of the secrets for making the best bone broth right here for you.

All About Bone Broth

So what’s the big deal with bone broth these days? It has less to do with bone broth and more to do with the rising awareness of the role our gut health plays in the overall health of our mind, body and soul.

We’re finally starting to acknowledge that what we use to fuel our bodies directly affects the way we think, the things we do and how well we do them. Often referred to as our “second brain,” the human gut is home to over 10 trillion bacteria, a number no human can fully comprehend, yet we’re always looking for and believing in that one all-inclusive lab-manufactured antidote promised to make us feel better.

News flash: There isn’t just one food, one medicine or one supplement. There is, however, bone broth, which can be added to any diet as any or all three of these things. What other real food source contains as many bio-available vitamins and easily assimilated nutrients and extracts of pure collagen (A.K.A gelatin), skin, bone and fat ⎼ you know, the stuff that pretty much makes us human, gives us our silky smooth skin and allows us to grunt beautifully while hitting our max power snatch with ease.

Funny thing about bone broth: It’s nothing new. In fact, broths and stocks have been used for centuries by cultures around the world as a remedy to anything and everything. It also happens to be the base for all cooking, as it’s the first thing you would learn how to make in kitchens around the world as a chef’s apprentice or culinary student.

It’s what stops a stomachache dead in its tracks by soothing and healing the gut, and it quickly returns our joints to normal after an intense workout or rigorous hike. We have the natural occurring gelatin and glucosamine to thank for this; something all commercially available broths lack.

With that said, I want to share a handful of factors that will influence the outcome of your homemade bone broth. Got gelatin?

Factor #1 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Animal’s Upbringing

When deciding how to fuel my body, I always ask where my fuel came from and how it came to be.

Chances are, if you are here reading this then you and I have something in common. It’s no secret that what the animal eats, we eat. This doesn’t just apply to meat. Bones contain marrow, and marrow in turn pretty much contains the essence of our being.

If we’re healthy, that’s great but if we’re sick, our marrow is sick. The same goes for animals. The whole idea is that we’re extracting all this healthy good stuff from the animal and using it as both a food and a medicine for our bodies.

Believe it or not, this all matters on a molecular level, where everything that makes you you is working hard to maintain your optimal health as efficiently as possible. If the animal was factory farmed, ate garbage and didn’t see a pasture a day in its life, you won’t be doing your body any favors in the long run by using its bones.

Pardon my soapbox, but supporting the ranchers and farmers that raise pastured animals and grow organic produce is the only way we’ll ever see a change in our current food system. You want better access to healthy and sustainably raised meats and fresh produce? Then find and support a farm. I’ve seen numerous farms and ranches here in Southern California grow rapidly under the support of enthusiastic communities looking towards a better future in food.

Factor #2 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Animal’s Age 

That’s right. Animals are no different from us in that their bones and joints wear down and degrade over time, reducing the amount of connective tissue and consequently reducing the amount of gelatin that will end up in your broth.

The younger the animal, the more gelatinous your broth will be. Veal bones, joints, feet and necks would yield the most gelatin, as these animals are butchered very young.

You can usually find veal bones at a local butcher for a decent price. Stocks made from veal are a chef’s secret weapon in the kitchen, taking everything from soups and sauces to risottos and braised meats to the next level.

Factor #3 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Bone Type

This is where most people run into trouble.

In my experience the most commercially available bones are usually beef or veal femurs. Femurs are great as they contain a ton of marrow but very little collagen. You want a good mix of bones, joints and feet. I suggest using a 1:1:1 ratio of bones, joints and feet. This will almost guarantee you achieve that victorious gel.

Just remember to always use joints and feet, this is where you will find the most collagen. If you can’t find all of these, go ahead and make your broth with whatever you can get your hands on, you’ll still benefit greatly from the added vitamins and nutrients.

Factor #4 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Bone to Water Ratio 

Whether it’s in a crockpot or on your stove, add water just to cover the bones, and no more.

This is where a lot of folks think they’ve messed up. You’ve spent all those hours simmering away, finally cooling and refrigerating your liquid gold only to wake up in the morning to find no jiggle. You haven’t been defeated! Simply bring your broth back up to a gentle simmer and let evaporation take over. Reduce your broth by an inch or so, cool and refrigerate. If it’s still not jiggling, repeat the process.

A combination of things could have happened here – too much water, bones from sick animals, or you simply didn’t let it simmer long enough. In most cases, the gelatin simply isn’t concentrated enough to give your broth a Jello-like consistency. This is OKAY. Your broth is still loaded with plenty of good stuff.

Try not to get so caught up on the aesthetics. I see people everyday crying out for help because their broth didn’t gel, as if the broth gods are smiting their attempt at glory.

Factor #5 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Time

The beautiful thing about making broth is that once started, it requires very little attention.

The biggest issue here is not letting your broth simmer long enough. We simmer our beef broth for 48 hours and 24 hours for our chicken. Simmering for multiple days is a great way to really get everything out of the bones.

Something we do, and that I highly suggest, is to wait until you have 6-8 hours left to add your vegetables or leafy greens, such as parsley or leaves on your celery. This will prevent any bitter or burnt tastes from being imparted into your broth. The vegetables can only be cooked for so long before they begin to break down, giving your broth and undesirable and often burnt flavor.

It only takes 8 or so hours at a simmer to extract the nutrients and flavor from them, anyway. Anything much longer than this and the vegetables become sponges, soaking up all your hard-earned nutrients.

In my opinion, those are the most important things to keep in mind when making bone broth. As with most things, the more you make it the better you will get. And the better you will get at noticing all these little idiosyncrasies during the process, like waiting to add your veggies until later in the process. It took me several burnt, bitter and off-flavored batches before I finally started figuring out at what times to add what ingredients.

A Simple Bone Broth Recipe

Run through this simple checklist when making any bone broth your gut desires:

  • Roast any bones beforehand for added depth and flavor, except fish.
  • Put bones in pot and add water just to cover bones.
  • Add your acid to help draw out the good stuff. We use apple cider vinegar.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  • Skim, skim and skim some more. Scum and impurities rise to the top during the initial simmer phase. Simply skim, discard and keep simmering.
  • Once there is no longer any scum rising to the surface, keep simmering, adding water only to cover the bones as necessary.
  • Prep your veggies. Peel onions, as the peel can impart a burnt or bitter flavor.
  • After about 15-18 hours for chicken and 35-40 hours for beef, add your veggies, herbs and spices. Wait until the final hour to add parsley or celery leaves.
  • Return to a simmer for the final leg, and this time don’t worry about adding more water. You want the nutrients and gelatin to concentrate as we bring in the flavors from the veggies and herbs.
  • Add your parsley and / or celery greens if desired. Let simmer for another hour or two.
  • That’s it. You’ve done it! Strain your broth and cool it down or use immediately for making your favorite soup, stew, sauce or meat dish!

If you’re ever short on time or can’t seem to procure bones from healthy animals come check us out at Bare Bones Broth Co.! We’ll ship our broths directly to your door, nationwide!

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Bone Broth 101 | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions about making bone broth? Leave them in the comments below!

The Performance Paleo Cookbook Update!

Time for an update on The Performance Paleo Cookbook!

The Performance Paleo Cookbook Update | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s been a crazy past few months working on the cookbook, but we’re at an exciting stage. I’ve turned in the manuscript and completed the photographs (still need to finish editing those) which means the lion’s share of the creative content is done. I’m still catching my breath a bit!

Originally, I wasn’t planning to take the photographs myself, but the opportunity arose and I knew we’d get the best possible outcome if I stepped up to the plate (no pun intended). What followed was a hectic month.

We—the hubs and I—built wood backdrops and shopped for props. (I definitely have too many bowls now.) I cooked every recipe again from scratch and according to spec to check the flavors one more time. I styled and photographed 90 of the 100 recipes in the cookbook here in the dining room of our tiny, 100-year-old cottage. I made a literal mountain of dishes and went through a figurative ton of food.

It was all worth it because I know the cookbook is going to be on point for y’all! So, what happens next?

Now, the book will be formatted, arranged and edited over the next few months, then it will go off to the printer so it’s ready for its debut on January 6th. (Remember, this is an actual print book!) I know it seems like a long time to wait, but the time will fly by, I’m convinced. The good news is that you can pre-order now and lock in the early bird price of 25% off! Click here for Amazon or here for Barnes and Noble. It’ll also be formatted into a digital version if e-readers are your cup of tea.

What’s going to be in The Performance Paleo Cookbook?

  • 100 recipes with 90 full-color photographs,
  • 50 recipe combo ideas to make full meals,
  • 7 different fueling protocols to help plan for whatever time of the day you train,
  • Pre- and post-workout snack ideas,
  • Tons of protein-rich and carb-dense recipes,
  • …and more!

Awesome, right?

So for now, I’ll be turning a lot more attention back to the site (we have a site refresh coming up to make it more user-friendly) and working on some awesome new resources. Thanks for all your continued support!

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The Performance Paleo Cookbook Update | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question about The Performance Paleo Cookbook? Leave it in the comments below!

Easy Paleo Chicken Curry

Easy Paleo Chicken Curry—The Merrymaker Sisters | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: I’m really chuffed to introduce you to my guest bloggers Emma and Carla, the dynamic sister duo behind The Merrymaker Sisters! These two creative minds come up with all sorts of amazing Paleo food, both savory and sweet. Emma and Carla are well-known in the Australian Paleo world, and I know you’ll love what they’re doing down under. Definitely check out their site and social media for lots of great inspiration. Take it away, ladies!

Serves: 4  Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients for Easy Paleo Chicken Curry

  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup (237 mL) canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (118 mL) water
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 g) ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon (3 g) turmeric
  • 1/2 Tablespoon (3 g) paprika
  • 1 teaspoon (0.6 g) red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) cumin

Easy Paleo Chicken Curry—The Merrymaker Sisters | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Easy Paleo Chicken Curry

  1. In a large saucepan over high heat, melt the ghee. Add the onion and spices and sauté.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until the sides have just turned white.
  3. Turn down the heat to low and add the pureed pumpkin and water. Stir until combined and then cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. At the 10 minute mark, add the zucchini and mushrooms.
  5. Serve with a dollop of coconut cream, fresh cilantro / coriander and a side of cauli rice! Make sure you make enough for leftovers! Curries are always better the next day right?!

Stay in touch with The Merrymaker Sisters on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Easy Paleo Chicken Curry—The Merrymaker Sisters | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for The Merrymaker Sisters? Leave them in the comments below!

Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders

Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome my guest blogger Ashley from Livin Paleo! I first learned of Ashley through her Instagram account where I saw her throwing around heavy barbells, so needless to say, she became an instant girl crush. She’s a CrossFit badass—competing in the NorCal Regionals soon—and a whiz in the Paleo kitchen, coming up with all sorts of simple but really tasty eats to fuel her endeavors. Definitely check out her blog for lots of awesome gluten free bites. Take it away, Ashley!

Serves: 6      Prep Time: 15 min      Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients for Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 grams) black pepper
  • 1/4 pound (115 grams) bacon
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 tablespoon (22 mL) lime juice
  • Olive oil or fat of choice for cooking
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce

Directions for Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  2. Wash the sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) slices.
  3. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper, lightly coat one with olive oil or fat of choice and lay out the sweet potato slices. You will need 12 slices. Lay out the bacon on the other sheet.
  4. Bake both for 20−25 minutes. Flip the bacon and sweet potatoes halfway through. While the sweet potatoes and bacon cook prepare the burgers, bell pepper and onions, and smash the avocado.
  5. In a medium bowl combine the ground beef, minced garlic, salt and pepper and form into six patties.
  6. Heat olive oil or fat of choice in a large skillet over medium heat and add the patties. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side.
  7. Heat olive oil or fat of choice in a separate small skillet over medium heat and cook the bell pepper and onions until soft and slightly charred.
  8. In a medium bowl smash together the avocado and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Assemble each slider by topping a sweet potato slice with lettuce, a burger patty, bacon, smashed avocado, bell pepper and onions and another sweet potato slice.

You can connect with Ashley via social media here: blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for Ashley? Leave them in the comments below!

5 Recipes To Ease Your Real Food Transition

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo, Primal and real food lifestyles are gaining in popularity by the day. While the benefits—such as fat loss and stable energy—are enough to convince most people to take the leap and leave their processed food-based diets behind, for others the transition can be pretty overwhelming. If you’re just starting out on your journey to Paleo, this post is dedicated to you.

These five recipes I’ve compiled from my archives can help you make the switch to a gluten- and dairy-free nutrition plan a LOT easier. And, if you don’t tell anyone what they’re about to eat is Paleo, they’ll probably never know!

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast. 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. Whole30-friendly.

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Simple Paleo Tortillas

Are Simple Paleo Tortillas really possible?! If you’re looking for a really easy Paleo version of a flour tortilla—or a French crepe—look no further. These are pretty much foolproof and are much more flexible than other Paleo tortillas I’ve tried before that mostly use coconut flour as a base. I had a huge bag of arrowroot powder to use up (a gluten-free flour alternative) so this fit the bill quite well. These Paleo tortillas hold up to folding or rolling and can be used in sweet or savory applications, and it’s easy to make a double or triple batch in advance and save them for upcoming meals. They’d also be perfect for making up some tasty lunches on the go, and I think they’d be super popular with kids (of all ages)! I tested these to see how well they’d freeze. I rolled the tortillas up, froze them, and they thawed flexible and easy to fold!

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Chick-fil-A

This Paleo Chick-fil-A is dedicated to my friend Ricky. Being from the south, he’s been rattling on about Chick-fil-A for SO long, I finally decided to make a Paleo version for him. It came out so tasty that I’m going to bring some to party this weekend for him to officially try. The secret’s in the pickle juice! It basically brines the chicken which makes it super moist and tender. The recipe easily doubles. Whole30-friendly.

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Watermelon Mojito Salad

This Watermelon Mojito Salad recipe was inspired by a Southern California road trip I took with one of my best friends. There may have been some mojitos consumed. I decided to make a mojito-esque—but clearly non-alcoholic—dish that would capture the flavors of this iconic Cuban drink. Plus watermelon. I love watermelon. Whole30-friendly.

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Cinnamon French Toast Panna Cotta

Cinnamon French Toast Panna Cotta is a riff on a traditional Italian panna cotta, but mine is dairy-free. Usually panna cotta is made from a combination of milk, cream, sugar and gelatin—creamy with a slightly firm texture. Of course, there’s no actual bread in my version, but I incorporated all my favorite French toast flavors: the butteriness from the ghee, richness from the egg yolks, warmth from cinnamon and of course a bit of sweet from maple syrup. A bit of crumbled crispy bacon on top gives a savory counterpoint to the sweetness. And of course, I used coconut milk to keep it dairy-free. Seriously delicious. Keep in mind that this panna cotta doesn’t set up like super-firm gelatin desserts. I serve it in small Mason jars for a few small, rich bites.

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5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

What’s your favorite Paleo recipe to serve to non-Paleo eaters?

Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash (Paleo)

Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash | Popular Paleo for StupidEasyPaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome Ciarra from Popular Paleo back to the blog. Not only is she a close personal friend of mine, she’s a whiz in the kitchen AND she’s just finished writing a cookbook (releasing December 2nd so click here to pre-order) called The Frugal Paleo Cookbook: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Paleo Cooking. I know y’all are going to love it because she’s done an amazing job. (I got to test drive some of the recipes!) This Chicken Florentine dish is representative of the budget-friendly bites she’s known for. Take it away, Ciarra!

I have a not-so-secret love affair with spaghetti squash, but in my part of the country (the Pacific Northwest) it can get expensive depending on the time of year. Since I make one Paleo-friendly meal to feed my little semi-Paleo family of four each night for dinner, I’m always looking for ways to stretch a pricier ingredient. For spaghetti squash, I do that by mixing it up with chicken Italian sausage and fresh organic baby spinach for Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash Boats. I like to serve it all in the shell of the spaghetti squash and top it some fresh herbs and pine nuts if I have some hanging around in my pantry.

Serves 4

Ingredients for Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash Boats

  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) chicken Italian sausage (organic, gluten-free)
  • 1 organic white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups (700 grams) organic baby spinach leaves, packed into measuring cup
  • 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon (7 grams) pine nuts and chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions for Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash Boats

  1. First things first, let’s get that spaghetti squash in the oven to roast while we prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Using a large knife and steady hand, split the squash in half lengthwise. The best way to do this is usually by scoring the squash and then inserting the tip of the blade into an end. Apply strong and even pressure on the knife, using it more like a splitting wedge on a large log rather than the familiar slicing action of a blade. Once the squash is split open, use a spoon to remove the seeds and pulp (just toss that stuff). Place the halved squash cut-side down on a roasting pan, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated oven.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken Florentine portion of the dish. Heat a large skillet to medium-high and drizzle in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Once it comes to temp, crumble in the chicken Italian sausage, garlic and diced onion. Cook and stir until the sausage is fully cooked and the onion is translucent—this should take about 12 minutes or so. A few minutes before the meat is done, pile the baby spinach on top of the sausage so that it wilts as the rest of the items in the pan finish. Stir the spinach into the sausage mixture as it cooks down. Then set it aside until the spaghetti squash has finished roasting.
  3. After you pull the squash out of the oven, turn them over so they cool a little faster. Once you can handle them comfortably (or if you can manage holding them with an oven mitt), use a fork to scrape with the grain of the squash to harvest the strands. Transfer the harvested strands into the pan with the sausage mixture, season with sea salt and black pepper to taste and the pine nuts if you want to use them. Toss the squash strands with the sausage and spinach so everything gets evenly combined.
  4. I like to serve this plated inside the spaghetti squash shell or “boat-style.” It’s pretty and, well, if I can save myself another dish to wash, then I’m all for it. Top with some toasted pine nuts and / or fresh flat-leaf parsley and dig in!

P.S.: If you happen to have any leftovers, this makes a great frittata for breakfast or a to-go lunch the next day!

Be sure to follow Ciarra and Popular Paleo on: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

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Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash | Popular Paleo for StupidEasyPaleo.com

Questions for Ciarra? Leave them in the comments below!

Avocado BLT Egg Salad

Steph’s note: I’m really chuffed to be featuring Lexi from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen on the blog today! I first noticed her drool-worthy recipes on Instagram, and her dishes are really approachable and simple. Lexi specializes in gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo recipes that are packed with nutrient-dense ingredients. Make sure you keep up with her on social media because I guarantee you’ll like what you see: FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest. Take it away, Lexi!

Avocado BLT Egg Salad | Lexi's Clean Kitchen for stupideasypaleo.com I love egg salad. Also on the list of things that I love are: avocados, tomatoes, bacon, and scallions, to name a few. This is the absolute perfect lunch. For one, it combines all of those favorite things listed. And two, it is packed with protein and healthy fats to fill you up throughout the day, while being super simple to throw together! This recipe replaces the standard mayonnaise that is ordinarily in egg salad with avocado. It is perfectly creamy and full of flavor!

 

 

 

 

 

Prep Time 10 min – Cook Time 10 min – Total Time 20 min

Ingredients for Avocado BLT Egg Salad

  • 1 avocado
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt, more to taste

Directions for Avocado BLT Egg Salad

  1. Make your hard-boiled eggs. Once done, peel, set aside in the refrigerator and let cool.
  2. While they are cooking, make bacon using you desired method and cook until crispy.
  3. In a medium bowl combine eggs, avocado, garlic and salt; smash with a fork until combined.
  4. Add in bacon pieces, tomatoes and scallions. Mix well.
  5. Taste and add additional salt and ground garlic as desired.

Notes

Serve over fresh spinach or lettuce or in lettuce wraps!

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Avocado BLT Egg Salad | Lexi's Clean Kitchen for stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for Lexi? Leave them in the comments below.

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!

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken by Beyoutifully Delicious

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome Candace from Beyoutifully Delicious to the blog again. A couple weeks ago, I featured her PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw, and it’s gotten rave reviews. Candace is all about good food with big flavor, and this recipe will not disappoint. Without further adieu, take it away Candace!

Last Easter I came up with a fresh strawberry dressing that gave a subtle sweetness to a spring green salad. For the protein to compliment the slaw, I updated it as a marinade with some heat. There’s nothing like salty, sweet AND spicy. Now we’re talking game-changer.

I love this marinade on mahi-mahi, it’s a flakey fish that has a really clean taste to it. None of that “fishy” business that tends to draw people away from ocean proteins. If seafood is not your thing, this is perfect for chicken too.

You can easily flavor swap blackberry or apricot for the strawberry as they work well with chili peppers. I would use fresh apricots rather than dried just because I want to keep my sugar in check. It’s very easy for that to get crazy if I’m not intentional about food preparation.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

This is enough for two (6 ounce or 340 grams) filets of mahi-mahi or chicken breasts.

  • 1-1/4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried strawberries, crushed into a powder (sub: 1 Tbsp apple juice)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried Thai chilis or 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Directions for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

  1. In a blender, add all the ingredients except coconut oil and blend on high.
  2. Turn down the speed a little and slowly drizzle in coconut oil.
  3. Marinate the meat or fish for at least 2 hours and grill it until it’s no longer pink inside, about 4 minutes per side. Discard the leftover marinade. Or, bring the leftover marinade to a boil and cook it for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria.

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Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comment box below!

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Give a hearty welcome to my guest blogger, Cassy from Fed & Fit. Cassy is a quadruple threat: She has mad kitchen skills, is an ace behind the camera, gets her sweat on at CrossFit and is one of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. On her blog Fed & Fit, Cassy brings approachable yet flavor-packed recipes with her signature step-wise photography that always leaves me drooling on my keyboard. I’m super excited to introduce you to her today! Make sure to make these Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers and go follow her on social media…you won’t be disappointed. Take it away, Cassy!

Oh my word…I’m on Stupid Easy Paleo! I just adore Steph, and you know what? I adore you, too. I adore you because you’re here, you’re a part of the Real Food movement, and you probably have a thing for crispy chicken fingers. All reasons we can be great friends.

Crispy buffalo chicken fingers and I go way back. Once upon a time, I was a student at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and I LIVED off of buffalo chicken fingers from a lovely little dining establishment called Wings ‘n More. While my health was rapidly declining, I was rapidly falling in love with comfort foods. Since going Paleo about 4 years ago, I gave up those delicious little strips of perfectly spicy, salty, gooey, but still miraculously crunchy chicken wonders. I gave them up plus the fries and ranch dressing that went with them.

Like a message was sent to me from above, I woke up one morning with the conviction a Paleo version MUST exist in this world. It needs to happen for you, for me, and for all those 20-something college students who think the gluten-coated, MSG-dusted, filler-fed restaurant chicken is their only option.

This Paleo-friendly crispy buffalo chicken finger is made possible by my good friend, the pork rind. Sometimes called chicharrones, sometimes called cracklin’s, pork skins are a crunchy, light, fluffy chip made by frying pork skin in it’s own rendered fat. They make for an occasional crunchy treat or can substitute as breading!

In an effort to create that reminiscent thick buffalo breading, I crafted a hybrid between my famous Paleo buffalo sauce and an egg wash.

Keep scrolling for my step-by-step photo instructions, tips and tricks.

I also recommend you check out my Paleo-friendly ranch dressing! Crispy buffalo chicken fingers and ranch dressing are a match made in heaven. Just saying.

Our recipe starts with about one pound of (ideally, pastured) chicken strips.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Next up, the buffalo egg wash! Crack two eggs into a bowl.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Now add 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Then the juice of one lemon.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Now add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

2 teaspoons of onion powder.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

And then 2 teaspoons of paprika.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Now you get to choose your level of spice! For HOT add 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, add 1 teaspoon for medium, or add ½ teaspoon for mild. I opted for medium.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Lastly, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt or sea salt.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Got all your ingredients loaded up?

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Whisk until well combined and set aside while we focus on our crunchy breading.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

The most important thing to remember when you’re buying pork skins is to read the label. You want to make sure the ingredients only read, “pork and salt.” Avoid bags with anything else listed.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Measure out about 5 cups of pork skins into a gallon-sized plastic bag.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Smash ‘em up! You’re also welcome to pulse the pork rinds in a food processor for a few minutes but A) I like to avoid washing more dishes than necessary and B) think smashing things is fun and therapeutic.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Once they’re mostly broken up, pour them in a bowl.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Make sure your oven is set to 400°F (200°C) and grab all your components!

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Dip each chicken strip in the buffalo sauce.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Make sure it’s well coated.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Then lay it in the breading.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Pull it out when the crunchy pork goodness has it all covered up.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Lay the strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Ta-da!

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

I recommend you plate with some crunchy vegetables and a side of Paleo-friendly ranch dressing.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Enjoy!

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers:

Directions for Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Whisk the eggs, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Dip each chicken strip into the buffalo egg wash then lay in the pork rind breading, coating both sides.
  4. Place breaded strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Follow Cassy on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter

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Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers—Fed & Fit | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for Cassy? Leave them in the comments below.

The Perfect Burger

The Perfect Burger | stupideasypaleo.com

Okay y’all…the perfect burger. It’s not every day you hear a burger claim to be “the one”, but this may very well be it. Perfectly flavored beef, parsnip crisps fried in coconut oil and a decadent avocado mousse…have I convinced you yet?

The Perfect Burger is just one of the awesome meaty recipes you’ll find in The Paleo Kitchen, a brand new cookbook coming out this June from none other than George Bryant and Juli Bauer. If you like the looks of The Perfect Burger, head over and pre-order their cookbook. And, if you do it before April 10, you can enter into a pretty sweet giveaway…a 3-day, all-expenses paid trip for 2 to San Diego. (Trust me, it’s an awesome city!)

Ingredients for The Perfect Burger:

Serves 3.

For the burgers

For the shoestring parsnip fries

  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) coconut oil, melted

Garnish with

  • Sliced red onions
  • Avocado mousse (also from the cookbook)
  • Romaine hearts
  • Shoestring parsnip fries (from above)

Directions for The Perfect Burger:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the burgers without overworking the meat.
  2. Divide meat into 3 equal portions and form into ½-inch (12-mm)-thick patties. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each burger. Set aside.
  3. Using a spiral slicer or julienne slicer, cut the parsnips into strings.
  4. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat, and preheat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Once grill is hot, place the burgers on the grill and close the lid. Cook 6 minutes.
  6. While the burgers are cooking, add the coconut oil to the saucepan. Test the oil by placing one parsnip shoestring in the oil to ensure the oil bubbles. Add the parsnips to the oil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. When the parsnips finish cooking, place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  7. Flip the burgers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare, or until desired doneness. Remove the burgers from grill and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. To assemble the burgers, place each on a bed of lettuce and top with sliced red onions, ¼ cup (60 mL) avocado mousse, and parsnip fries.

Click here to pre-order The Paleo Kitchen!

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

Paleo Zucchini Frittata Guest Post

Paleo Zucchini Frittata is one of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts, perfect for busy folks and athletes. You can make up a batch ahead of time, slice it when it cools and take it with you for post-workout or just along for the ride to work.

Paleo Zucchini Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

I created this recipe specifically for Breaking Muscle, sohead on over there to check out the ingredients and how to get one of these beauties baking in your oven today!

Click here for the recipe → Paleo Zucchini Frittata!

Tasty Taco Salad by Living Loving Paleo

Tasty Taco Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing | stupideasypaleo.com

Please welcome Kristen, my guest blogger and a special friend of mine, to the blog. I’ve come to know Kristen through her Instagram, and her story of sickness to wellness so touched my heart that I knew I had to share it on the blog. (Click here to read it, then come right back!) Kristen’s passion for food is clear in her super awesome blog, Living Loving Paleo, and her recipes are simple, approachable and nourishing. Take it away, Kristen!

One thing I super, duper missed when I first changed my diet to a Paleo diet was definitely sauces and dressings, especially creamy ones. I honestly thought I’d never see them again. I drew a blank when it came to making my own, as I never had before. Honestly, making my own dressings intimidated me, and I figured it would be difficult and time consuming (neither of which I’m a fan of). Then, I discovered just how easy and fast it is to make your own, and I knew I could never go back!

My life was completely turned around by changing the food that I put on my plate, and for the first time in a really long time I was healthy. I was determined to make recipes for my own sauces and dressings that fit my new lifestyle, and that were completely delicious! I love a great salad, and to me, a salad is completely made by the dressing. I must say, the dressing that I created for this taco salad makes it extra special. Store bought dressings don’t even compare! I hope you all love it as much as my family did. Happy cooking!

Ingredients for Tasty Taco Salad:

For the base of the salad, I used romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes & avocado. Feel free to use any veggies you like.

Ingredients for Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 teaspoons cilantro, minced

Directions for Tasty Taco Salad:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the coconut oil has melted, add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink. Add the taco seasoning to the meat and mix well.
  3. While the meat is cooking, make the simple dressing. Place the oil, egg, mustard powder, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic and salt in a tall container. (I use a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup). Place an immersion blender at the bottom and turn on. Once the mixture starts to blend together and become thick, move the immersion blender towards the top, until it is well blended. This should take less than a minute! Stir in the cilantro. [Steph's note: No immersion blender? Place the egg, mustard powder, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic and salt into a blender and let these come to room temperature. Run the blender for about 30 seconds, then with the blender on medium speed, very slowly (in a thin stream) drizzle in the avocado oil until the mayo has thickened.]
  4. Top your salad with the meat and dressing! Enjoy!

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taco salad 2

 

Paleo Chicken Piccata by Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine

Paleo Chicken Piccata | stupideasypaleo.com

Please welcome my guest blogger Ashley from Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine to the blog. Ashley’s pretty special to me for two reasons: 1) She was my science student more than a dozen years ago and 2) she taught me what a blog was. True story! I’ve had the pleasure of watching Ashley transform into a bright, sharp-witted young woman and a passionate food blogger. She’s been exploring gluten-free / Paleo foods more recently, and though that aspect of her blog is developing, I knew I had to introduce her to you. In this post, Ashley’s got a super yummy Paleo Chicken Piccata recipe. Take it away, Ashley!

Before age 25, I just didn’t care about what I ate. Anything and everything, with a few bouts of meat-eater-guilt that resulted in short term vegetarianism (dating two vegans in a row didn’t help that), and a lot of bouts of “the drunchies” aka drunken munchies. As long as it was delicious, I ate it.

Little did I know, the “full” feeling you feel after a meal shouldn’t actually hurt. Bloat, tightness, pain, it was all because I just ate too much, right? Whatever, my waist stayed slim and my eating habits stayed…terrible.

Then I turned 25 and, as I like to say, the Butt Fairy paid me a visit. Suddenly, none of my pants fit me anymore (even my “that time of the month” pants—yikes!) and for the first time in my life I realized that every action has a reaction, and every double bacon cheeseburger has to GO somewhere. I also noticed the telltale signs of a gluten allergy and lactose intolerance, and though my first introduction to paleo was from a jerk coworker who scoffed at my sandwich lunch and bragged about his new diet that was “totally going to get him RIPPED”—I was a bit more intrigued when Steph saw my Facebook plea for gluten / dairy free recipes and suggested I try out Paleo.

Honestly, my first true experiments in Paleo were simply a way to lose weight. And, even more honestly, I did not lose weight. However, I noticed that after a meal comprised mostly of meat and veggies, I felt happily full, without the pain. After a week devoid of wheat and starchy carbs I felt more awake, less moody, and my head felt more clear. It was an eye opening experience in a lot of ways, and has influenced my cooking ever since.

I’m a food blogger and a food lover. I know that I’m never going to totally give up that cheeseburger, but the “clean” feeling I get from clean eating is hard to pass up. These days, I go by the 75 : 25 principle: during the week, I eat as paleo as I can, and on the weekends I cheat a bit. However, I still try to balance the 25. If I know I’m going out for drinks with friends on Saturday night, I’ll try to pass up the plate of nachos at lunch and go for a more paleo option on Saturday afternoon. If you look at my blog, from the past year it, too follows the 75 : 25, with most of my recipes being Paleo, nearly-Paleo, or at the very least gluten-free, with a few extras thrown in.

My favorite thing to do is find a recipe that is nearly Paleo, and tweak it just a little. This way, I don’t feel like I’m eating an impostor, and I still get the flavors and textures I’ve always loved. Chicken Piccata was my favorite dish when I worked at an Italian restaurant, and I think I like this version even better! Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.

Ingredients for Paleo Chicken Piccata

  • 4 chicken cutlets or two breasts butterflied and pounded thin
  • 1 cup (100 grams) almond flour
  • ~5 Tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil or your oil of choice (coconut leaves a bit of a taste I am not fond of, but some advise against cooking with olive oil in high heat)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ an onion
  • ½ cup (120 mL) chicken stock
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) white wine (use chicken stock if you don’t cook with wine)
  • 3 lemons, two juiced & one sliced
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

 Directions for Paleo Chicken Piccata

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of the the butter / ghee and 2 Tablespoons of the oil.
  2. Season chicken cutlets on each side with salt* and pepper. Dip into almond flour and cover well.**
  3. Two at a time, cook the chicken in the skillet until browned on each side and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side, depending on how thin you sliced them.
  4. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside, covered with foil or put in the oven on 200°F (100°C) to keep warm. Add a bit more oil to the skillet and scrape browned bits well to deglaze the pan. Or, if you’re me and you want a nice, clear sauce, scoop out any toasty almond bits that were left behind.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are translucent.
  6. Pour in wine, chicken stock and lemon juice. Turn the heat to high and let liquid reduce by half. Add remaining ingredients, and reduce heat to low.
  7. Add the chicken to the pan and let it warm back up or, if chicken is to your liking, simply spoon sauce over the chicken on a plate. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of crushed red pepper. Serve with veggies***.

Ashley’s notes: *I used vanilla salt that I received as a gift and it tasted lovely. Experiment with flavored salts here if you desire. **For a thicker, crispier crust, dip your chicken in egg before coating in almond flour. ***Pictured is broccoli tossed with a bit of truffle oil.

Connect with Ashley and Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine on her blogFacebook pageTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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Paleo Chicken Piccata | stupideasypaleo.com