Category Archives: Pork, Lamb, Game

Bacon Love Fest: 35 Porktastic Paleo Recipes

Bacon Love Fest: 35 Portktastic Paleo Recipes

This Valentine’s Day, show a little love with everyone’s favorite Paleo treat-meat, bacon. Instead of putting together a collection of traditional chocolatey desserts, I thought I’d compile some of the most nom-worthy bacon recipes from some of my favorite Paleo bloggers.

Here’s my personal take on bacon: I think of it as a condiment, a topping, a savory-salty flavoring agent meant to enhance the flavor of a dish. Personally, I can’t sit down and eat a pound of bacon in one sitting. Perhaps there’s a button broken in my brain somewhere? No matter what your personal bacon tolerance limit is, ensure you pick a high-quality brand with minimal ingredients. (I suggest looking for a brand that contains ingredients such as pork, salt, brown sugar, celery salt and not much more than that.) Why? Pastured animals have healthier fat profiles than factory-raised animals.

But isn’t pastured meat more expensive? Absolutely, but you’re getting what you pay for. Since I only eat a couple strips at a time, I make my high-quality bacon last much longer…*wink wink*.

Now, on to the food!

Bacon Love Fest: Breakfast

Bacon Pancakes from The Paleo Mama

Chocolate Bacon Smoothie from The Paleo Mama

Bacon Guacamole Deviled Eggs from Peace, Love and Low Carb

Frisee Salad with Bacon and Eggs from Stupid Easy Paleo

Apple Cinnamon Maple Bacon Sweet Potato Hash from Stupid Easy Paleo

Paleo Chicken Bacon Mushroom Quiche from Stupid Easy Paleo

Bacon Love Fest: Appetizers & Snacks

BLT Bites from Meatified

Bacon and Guacamole Sammies from Nom Nom Paleo

Bacon Berry Bites from Meatified

Pear and Bacon Bites from The Clothes Make the Girl

Bacon Gremolata from Stupid Easy Paleo

BLT Bites with Chipotle Mayo from Stupid Easy Paleo

Bacon Love Fest: Main Dishes

Stuffed Bacon Guacamole Burger from Meatified

Twice-Baked Cheeseburger Spaghetti Squash from Popular Paleo

Chicken Club Avocado Boats from Peace, Love and Low Carb

Super Porktastic Bacon-Topped Spinach and Mushroom Meatloaf from Nom Nom Paleo

Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs from Stupid Easy Paleo

Spicy Bacon, Lettuce and Roasted Tomato Zucchini Pasta from Ditch the Wheat

Bacon Wrapped Crab Stuffed Prawns by Popular Paleo

Bacon Tuna Boats (Mayo-Free) by Popular Paleo

Zucchini Noodles with Scallops and Bacon from Meatified

Bacon Love Fest: Veggies and Sides

Paleo Alfredo from Meatified

Quick and Simple Stir Fried Kale with Bacon from Nom Nom Paleo

Poblano Bacon Chicken Chowder from Paleo Cupboard

Salty Sweet Broccoli Salad from The Clothes Make the Girl

Easy Collard Greens with Bacon from Meatified

Paleo Sweet Potato Soup from The Clothes Make the Girl

Cantaloupe Bacon Salad from Meatified

Cashew Green Beans with Bacon from Peace, Love and Low Carb

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus from Paleo Cupboard

Bacon Love Fest: Treats

Chocolate Covered Bacon from Healthy Living How To

Salted Caramel Bacon Bark from The Spunky Coconut

Bacon Love Fest: Cooking Tips

How to Bake Bacon from Stupid Easy Paleo

20 Recipes Using Bacon Fat from The Paleo Mama

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Bacon Love Fest: 35 Portktastic Paleo Recipes

What’s your favorite bacon recipe?

Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style

Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style | stupideasypaleo.comPaleo meatballs, Asian-style! These are super easy, have just five ingredients and are Whole30-friendly. Feel free to dress these up with your favorite dipping sauce or serve alongside a salad—like my Green Papaya Salad—for a complete meal. To feed a really hungry crowd or for leftovers throughout the week, double or triple the batch.

Ingredients for Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style

Directions for Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style

  1. Combine the pork, green onions, coconut aminos, sesame oil and fish sauce in a medium bowl. Mix until everything is combined but not over-mixed because that will make the meat tough.
  2. Rolls the meat into balls. I used roughly a heaping Tablespoon of meat per ball. Before cooking all the meat, I like to heat a tiny amount and check for flavor. If it needs more salt, add sea salt to suit your tastes before you proceed.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the meatballs in a single layer, being careful not to crowd them. Brown on all sides. Repeat with the remainder of the batch. Hint: If your balls are bigger (no jokes please!), you may want to quickly brown the outsides, then place them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 350°F (175°C) oven for approximately 10 minutes to cook the insides through.
  4. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce!

Change It Up

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What’s your favorite meatball flavor?

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs…part curious oddity, part absolutely tantalizing mash up of burger and egg. My scotch egg inspiration is none other than Mel from The Clothes Make the Girl. You may know her as the fantabulous creator of cookbook Well Fed 2. Her Scotch Eggs recipe in Well Fed (the original) were nothing short of mind-blowing, and I’ve loved them ever since.

This is one of the 30 recipes featured in my upcoming ebook, The Paleo Athlete, coming in January! Click here to check out a preview chapter.

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

What’s a Scotch egg? Take seasoned ground meat, envelope a perfectly boiled egg inside and you get the protein-packed snack you see here. Traditionally, Scotch eggs are breaded (yuck…gluten!) so all we do is leave that part off. Easy peasy. There are as many conceivable combinations for seasonings and meat as you can imagine, but I was looking for a way to use my Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix with cinnamon, ginger and other warm spices. My mind wandered from pork to breakfast to breakfast sausage (and I remembered Popular Paleo made a breakfast-y Scotch egg recipe) and out popped these (ha…no pun intended). Another plus? They’re great as a pre-workout snack!

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Ingredients for Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs (makes 6):

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pound (500 grams) lean ground pork
  • 1 Tablespoon homemade gingerbread spice mix (click for recipe)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (optional)

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Directions for Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs:

  1. Boil 6 eggs. To prevent the yolks from getting grey, I cover the eggs with water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and turn the heat off. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the hot water and cover with cold water for a few minutes. Peel and set aside. (You can boil the eggs ahead of time to save this step). Don’t use very fresh eggs…they’ll be harder to peel.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, gingerbread spice mix, salt, pepper and honey (optional). Mix until combined but don’t over mix…that’ll make the meat tough. Now it’s time to assemble the scotch eggs.
  4. For each scotch egg: Fill a 1/3 cup measure with the seasoned ground pork and turn the lump into your hand. Flatten the pork into a wide circle (like you’re making a burger).Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  5. Put the egg in the center.Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  6. Carefully fold the meat circle up, gradually flattening as you go, until the egg is shrouded in meaty goodness.Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  7. Make sure there are no cracks and that the meaty suit of armor is uniform.Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs
  8. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Eat hot or cold.

Change It Up:

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Have you ever tried Scotch eggs? Do you have a favorite flavor combo?

Paleo Breakfast Sausage Scotch Eggs

Paleo Mediterranean Meatza Pies

DSC_0023 Meatza. Meat + pizza.

One of my favorite portmanteaus – two words smashed together to make a new one, like bromance and spork – it’s like pizza but with a meaty crust (and let’s be honest, there’s never enough meat on any pizza). Now, I definitely can’t take credit for dreaming up the concept of meatza (drat!), and one of my Paleo heroines, Melissa of The Clothes Make the Girl, along with other bloggers like PaleOMG and Civilized Caveman have all posted their interpretations.

And behold, mine.

I was absolutely longing for something with Mediterranean flair…thoughts of tangy sundried tomatoes, luscious kalamata olives, and peppery basil materialized in my mind. In the end, I made two versions – Italian and Greek – and the ingredients for both are below. Feel free to sub out anything you don’t like or add anything you do. Your imagination is the only limiter. Know what would be killer? A ground chicken meatza crust with Paleo BBQ sauce, red onion, pineapple and cilantro! YUM!

For the Incomparable Italian Meatza (pictured above):

Makes 2.

Crust:

  • 1 lb. (500 g) lean ground beef
  • 2 Tablespoons mixed dried herbs (any kind really…I used an oregano, thyme, parsley mix)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Suggested toppings (about 1/2 cup of each topping should be plenty):

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the crust ingredients – ground beef, dried herbs, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the meat in half. Press half the meat into an 8″ round pie pan. Repeat with the other half. [No pie pan? Use any baking dish you'd like. You could even do a 13" x 9" rectangular pan to make one big meatza. Use what you've got!]
  4. Bake for 10-15 min or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and drain off any liquid in the pan.
  5. Now it’s time to do the toppings. I added the tomato sauce and red pepper first, then popped it back in for another 5 minutes to soften those up. Then, I took out the crust, added the rest of the toppings – arugula leaves, sundried tomatoes, artichokes and olives – and chopped it into 4 pieces while it was on a cutting board.
  6. Mangia! (In case you’re wondering, I was able to eat a whole meatza myself, but I was very very hungry from back squats. It’s pretty filling!)

For the My Big Fat Greek Meatza (sorry, no picture…we ate it too fast):

Makes 2.

Crust:

  • 1 lb. (500 g) ground lamb
  • 2 Tablespoons mixed dried herbs (any kind really…I used an oregano, thyme, parsley mix)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Suggested toppings (about 1/2 cup of each topping should be plenty):

  • Green bell pepper, sliced
  • English cucumber, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Olives, any kind, sliced
  • Arugula leaves (rocket)

Dressing:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the crust ingredients – ground lamb, dried herbs, dill, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the meat in half. Press half the meat into an 8″ round pie pan. Repeat with the other half. [No pie pan? Use any baking dish you'd like. You could even do a 13" x 9" rectangular pan to make one big meatza. Use what you've got!]
  4. Bake for 10-15 min or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and drain off any liquid in the pan.
  5. Now it’s time to do the toppings. I added the green bell pepper first, then popped it back in for another 5 minutes to soften it up. Then, I took out the crust, added the rest of the toppings – arugula leaves, cucumber, tomato, red onion and olives – and chopped it into 4 pieces while it was on a cutting board. Drizzle with the dressing before serving.

 

Paleo Smashed & Loaded Sweet Potato

41c75aad24e7dde300b846f350af9535One of my favorite things to do with leftover roasted sweet potato is to smash it and brown it in a pan with ghee. It gets all caramelly and crispy and drool-worthy. I wanted something different for breakfast today, so I smashed my sweet potato then loaded it with pan-fried eggs, leftover shredded kalua pork, buttery avocado and crispy homemade bacon bits. Get creative and use any leftover meat that you want! Is your mouth watering yet? [Hint: roast a bunch of sweet potatoes on a foil-lined sheet in a 400°F oven for about 45-60 min. Refrigerate. When cold, the skins come right off.]

Prep time: 5-10 min     Cook time:  10 min     Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 roasted medium-sized sweet potato, peeled
  • Ghee, coconut oil or fat of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • Toppings: leftover shredded or cubed meat (I used shredded kalua pork), avocado, bacon, jalapeño rings, etc. Get creative!

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high (I like cast iron for this job). Add ghee or your fat of choice. 
  2. Put the pre-cooked sweet potato in the skillet. Press flat with a fork or spatula. Fry on each side for 2-4 minutes or until the sweet potato caramelizes (but doesn’t burn). Remove to a plate.
  3. In the same pan, add more ghee. Fry two eggs (or more if you’re hungrier) in whatever style you’d like. I made mine over-easy so the yolk would run all over my potato. Tasty.
  4. Stack your smashed and loaded sweet potato: add the eggs on top of the sweet potato then layer with your toppings of choice.
  5. Rejoice in how tasty your breakfast is. Consume.

Note: great for post-workout if you go easy on the avocado and bacon.

Coconut Wild Boar Burger

DSC_0800 Juicy, coconutty (yeah, I made that a word), and smoky with a hint of ginger. YUM.

Recently, I picked up a package of ground wild boar meat from Sprouts and was trying to think of something that would go with the peach mango chutney simmering away on my stovetop. Coconut popped into my head but instead of putting it on the outside, I mixed it into the burger meat.

If you don’t have access to wild boar – which is hard to find in some places – pork or chicken would certainly be great substitutes. I used unsweetened shredded coconut, and the texture was just perfect. Double your batch and make extras for your weekly food prep day.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time:  10 min     Makes: 1 lb. of burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground wild boar or pork
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fat of choice (ghee, coconut oil, lard, etc)

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Gently mix to combine. Don’t overwork the meat or it’ll get tough, and the burgers will be dense. 
  2. Shape into small patties (I got about 6 out of a pound of meat). You could certainly make larger burgers or smaller sliders.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a spoonful of your fat of choice – I used ghee because of its very high smoke point – and cook for 3-4 min per side or until completely cooked through.
  4. Serve with your choice of burger fixins’…I used lettuce, tomato and a tasty peach mango chutney.

Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken

DSC_0197As an urban apartment dweller, I don’t have a grill (womp womp!), so finding a way to cook chicken breasts that didn’t result in a dry chunk of protein became a priority. I’m also in love with brining chicken and pork prior to cooking but that requires some planning and extra time to let the brine sit, so this has become my go-to method for quick prep.

Bonus points for using a microplane or small grater to add the zest of the lemon to the mix.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a plastic zip top bag, combine the chicken breast, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Press the air out of the bag and seal.
  2. Use a meat pounder or rolling pin to flatten the chicken breast into one even thickness. I have also used an empty Nalgene bottle for the same purpose when I didn’t have a meat pounder. Improvise. Be a MacGuyver.
  3. Let the chicken marinate for at 30 minutes for best results but you can cook it right away if needed.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add more of your fat of choice, such as coconut oil.
  5. Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side or until completely cooked through.
  6. Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

 

Easy Paleo Lamb Sliders

Photo Jun 29, 5 14 24 PM The other day, I was really craving a Greek salad (score for salad cravings, right?!). I had all the veggie components in the fridge, but I definitely wanted to top it with something meaty, so I came up with a quick batch of lamb burgers. In the end, I wound up making them more like sliders – smaller than a burger – and served them with my salad, some Paleo Tzatziki Sauce, and a squeeze of lemon.

Lamb a bit strong for your palate? Try mixing it with half beef to make the flavor milder. My Greek salad was a combo of tomato, cucumber, sweet onion and olives, drizzled with Kasandrinos olive oil.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time:  15 min     Makes: 6-8 sliders (1 lb. of meat)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground lamb (or half beef, half lamb)
  • 1/2 an onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: 

  1. Mix the ingredients gently in a large bowl until well combined. Overworking the meat will cause it to be tough. 
  2. Shape the meat into burgers however large you’d like. I made 8 small sliders. Don’t pack the meat in too tightly or the burger will be dense.
  3. Grill or fry in a pan over medium-high heat until cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. If preparing in a pan, I like to quickly sear both sides then throw the burgers in a 350F oven for ~10 minutes to finish cooking through.
  4. Serve with Tzatziki for dipping!

Paleo Carnitas Egg Muffins

DSC_0618 Breakfast muffins are a really easy way to use up leftover cooked meat and make for portable protein as well. I woke up the other day, threw these together and considered them tasty enough to post on the blog. Use any kind of cooked shredded meat (or even ground meat) you have lying around and make sure you cook the veg ahead of time so it doesn’t make the muffins soggy.

These make a perfect pre-workout snack.! Add cooked cubed sweet potato for some carbs and you’ve got a decent post-workout meal.

Prep time: 15-20 min     Cook time: 30 min    Makes: 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced small
  • 1 spoonful of bacon fat or fat of choice
  • 1 cup shredded pork carnitas or other shredded/ground meat
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

*Heavy cream is part of my Paleo way of eating because I’ve learned I can tolerate it, even though I can’t tolerate milk. If you don’t eat it, sub full-fat coconut milk, almond milk, or just leave it out. It adds a bit of fluffiness to the eggs so they aren’t so dense.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners. I used silicone muffin cups.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, soften the onions in the bacon fat for about 5 minutes. When they are translucent, add the tomato and cook on medium until the tomatoes begin to soften. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cooked shredded pork until combined.
  3. Combine the eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper and beat until combined.
  4. Now it’s time to build the muffins: put a large spoonful of onion/tomato/pork into each cup. Evenly distribute the filling to 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into each cup until about 3/4 of the cup is full.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until fully set. The cups will come out very puffed up and then fall a bit as a they cool. It’s science, yo!
  7. Enjoy with a bit of salsa!

 

Lamb Kofta (Meat on a Stick)

DSC_0490Recently, I ate dinner at a restaurant that served Azerbaijani ground lamb on a skewer, and the taste exploded on my tongue. If you need a geography refresher, Azerbaijan is just to the east of Armenia (which is just to the east of Turkey). The meat was perfectly flavored and tender and let’s be honest…any kind of food on a stick is just more fun than the rest. I found myself on a mission to make something similar and ended up with a mashup of kofta – basically seasoned ground meat usually shaped into meatballs – and kebab.

I polled my Facebook readers (if you haven’t, go like my page now because I post up content that doesn’t make it onto my website…unashamed self-promotion!) to see if they’d prefer  lamb or beef in a recipe (this one) – and a majority said beef. Kofta can come in many variations with different ground meats, so I decided to make mine with a mixture of lamb and beef. To be honest, ground lamb straight up is too strong for my tastebuds! If you wanted, you could do all beef, all lamb or something else.

If you don’t have skewers, you could make these into meatballs or even burger patties. Let your creativity and your tastebuds be your guide…no need to be fussy! I served mine with two dipping sauces – a Paleo version of an Indian raita and a lemony herb sauce. Both were super damn tasty but are in no way mandatory.

Prep time: 20 min     Cook time: 15-20 min    Makes: ~12

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb ground lamb (I used half lamb / half beef)
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds (or 1 tsp ground coriander)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Soak 24 bamboo skewers in water for at least 6 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  3. Combine the ground beef with the onion, garlic, salt, herbs and spices in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands to distribute the ingredients.
  4. Shape the meat into sausage-sized cylinders around two skewers (about 1/3 cup meat per skewer). Place in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through but not overdone. You could also grill the skewers.
  6. Serve with lemon herb sauce or Paleo cucumber mint raita for dipping.

Braised Mustard Greens with Bacon

IMG_4047

I try to eat as many greens as I can, and this is gives a nice smoky flavor to the mustard greens which can have little taste on their own.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time: 15 min    Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of mustard greens
  • 4 slices of bacon (sugar free bacon if on Whole30)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and roughly chop the mustard greens.
  2. Chop the bacon.
  3. Heat the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat to render out the fat. Once the bacon is crisp, add the mustard greens in batches, stirring until it’s wilted enough to add more. Continue until all the mustard greens are in the pan.
  4. Add the chicken stock and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 10 more minutes until the greens are tender.
  5. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

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

Epic Bars Review

DSC_0247I’ll cut to the chase with the quick version: Epic Bars. YUM. Get some.

Now, for the details.

The best way to describe Epic Bars is like tasty, meaty bars with a hint of fruit for sweetness and nuts for crunch and texture. It reminded me of taking what I love about jerky packs – the meat, fruit and nut trinity – and rolling it all into one convenient, hand-held option.

Besides using high quality meats – 100% grassfed beef and bison for example – Epic Bars have made a conscious effort to make these bars perfect for the Paleo crowd with minimally-processed ingredients: the bacon used in the bison bar has no nitrates / nitrites added, for example. As you’d come to expect, they are free of dairy, gluten and grains as well. Win. Each bar has at least 11 grams of protein, a good dose of healthy fat and is pretty low in carbs. No funky whey protein isolates or frankenfood here.

Okay, so how do they taste?

Really damn good.

DSC_0241What impressed me the most is how distinct the flavors are…there’s nothing worse than picking up bars of different varieties only to find that they taste pretty much the same (Lara Bars and 50 Shades of Dates, anyone?).

Thankfully, with Epic Bars, that wasn’t the case. Bison with Bacon + Cranberry is decidedly smoky with a hint of barbeque flavor. The Beef with Habanero + Cherry has a just the right bit of spice from the peppers. Finally, I think my favorite was Turkey with Almond + Cranberry because it’s spiced with warm notes of cumin and coriander. The flavors are wisely put together and well-balanced.

Check out the map to find a retailer near you or simply order them from the Epic Bars website directly.

Now if every convenience store in America starts to carry these, THAT would be amazing!!

BLT Bites with Chipotle Mayo

dsc_0225 copyGrowing up, we used to eat BLT sandwiches a lot and the other day I got a hankering for one, sans bread of course.

What resulted was nothing short of the tastiest thing I’d put in my mouth in a long while.

I used mini muffin tins but you could use regular tins and end up with something bigger than bite-sized. These little morsels were the perfect size for finger food and would be fun party eats. You can make as few or as many as you’d like…it’s really up to you. Depending upon the bacon you use – how thick it’s cut, how wide the pieces are, etc – you may have to adjust your layering technique or the cooking time. Bottom line…have fun with it!

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 30 min    Makes: 4 pieces

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Grease the bottom of one muffin tin and the inside of the cups of the other with a thin layer of coconut oil. Start with one muffin tin upside down.
  3. Cut each strip of bacon in half (again, it depends on the size of the bacon…remember that it’ll shrink when cooked so some overhang is okay). On one of the inverted cups, cross the bacon pieces, one on top of the other. Repeat until you’ve used up all the bacon. See the gallery for a photo.
  4. Now place the other muffin tin on top of the bacon and press down firmly. I weighted mine down with a cast iron skillet.
  5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Carefully remove the top muffin tin and bake for 5 more minutes or until the bacon cups are as crisp as you like them.
  6. Let cool and then fill each one with tomato and lettuce and a drizzle of chipotle mayo!

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.