Tag Archives: salt

5 Paleo Flavor-Making Juggernauts

5 Flavor BoostersThink back to the best meal you’ve ever had…go ahead, I’ll wait a moment. What was special about it? The flavors…complex yet subtle, layered by the chef to compliment each other left you with an experience. Far from plain chicken breasts and steamed broccoli, right? With a little know-how and a bit of creativity, you can make super tasty, rockstar-status meals.

It’s all about balancing flavors (this could be a long lesson but I’ll keep it to the basics). For novice cooks, try working with this simple triad: salt, acid and aromatics. For example, if a dish just tastes flat, try adding an acid like vinegar or citrus juice to brighten it up.

If you want to go a bit further, you can play with notes of bitter, savory (umami) and spicy.

You can create big flavors, too and it’s as simple as having these five Paleo-friendly, taste-tickling juggernauts on hand. These are my must-haves that I always have around my kitchen.

Vinegars

The options are pretty endless here and it’s generally accepted that vinegars (except for malt vinegar…derived from grain) are Paleo-friendly. Besides the obvious use in dressings or condiments, vinegar is a great way to add a bright note to veggies or heavy dishes like stews.

My favorites: apple cider, balsamic and white wine vinegars

Salts

Okay, this one can be controversial. Some folks who follow a very strict Paleo template don’t use any salt. At all. I tried this when I started Paleo 4 years ago, and it made food pretty boring. By avoiding processed foods, the amount of sodium intake in your diet is already substantially lower. As someone who enjoys cooking and my food, salt is part of the game. I use regular salt during cooking to adjust the overall flavor and sometimes flavored finishing salts as a very light sprinkle before serving. Which type of salt is best? Read this article from Chris Kresser for a comprehensive answer.

My favorites: Maldon Sea Salt flakes, smoked sea salt (pictured), truffle salt

Citrus Juice and Zest

DSC_0033Another option for adding a note of acidity or brightness to your food. Besides the obvious lemons and limes, you may want to experiment with others like grapefruit for savory foods (one of my favorite ceviche recipes uses grapefruit juice). If you’re throwing the zest out with the spent fruit rinds, though, you’re missing a gold mine of flavor! The outermost, colored layer of the skin (not the white pith underneath) contains the citrus oils that make the fruit so fragrant. I use a microplane grater to remove the zest and toss it in everything from dressings and marinades to desserts.

My favorites: lemons, limes and grapefruit

Aromatics

DSC_0035 These form the backbone of your dish…the flavor foundation everything’s built on. Used in cooking from cultures around the world, they can be used as a dominant note (think garlic chicken) or as a subtle layer. I always have plenty of aromatics hanging around! The powdered / ground form is useful for some dishes (especially where you don’t want to introduce a lot of extra moisture) though I lean toward the fresh variety just because the flavor is so much more pronounced.

My favorites: onion, garlic, and ginger

Fresh Herbs

DSC_0037Fresh herbs are so great! Not only are they relatively inexpensive, it’s easy to grow your own no matter your space constraints, from pots on a balcony to huge backyard gardens. Heartier fresh herbs like rosemary hold up well to cooking (like in Rosemary Balsamic Butternut Squash) while more delicate leaves like cilantro do better in cold applications (because they’ll wilt otherwise). They’re great to sprinkle on top of a finished dish for another layer of flavor or to brighten up the colors on a plate.

My favorites: flat leaf parsley, mint and rosemary

Let me know what your flavor-making essentials are in the comments below!

Paleo Chick-fil-A

Paleo Chick-fil-A | stupideasypaleo.com This Paleo Chick-fil-A is dedicated to my friend Ricky, a fellow CrossFit Invictus athlete and friend who’s basically like a little brother to me. 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.

When researching this recipe (because, you know, it’s got to be somewhat true to the original), I came across loads of different versions on the Internet and tried to best tweak it to be grain- and dairy-free. A few that really inspired this one were Gluten, Grain and Garbage Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets from The Domestic Man and Copy Cat Chick-fil-A Nuggets from Chocolate, Chocolate and More and Chick-fil-A Copy Cat from Hilah Cooking.

Ingredients for Paleo Chick-fil-A

Directions for Paleo Chick-fil-A

  1. Cut the chicken breast into large chunks, and put it in a zip top plastic bag. Pour the pickle juice into the bag. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (I kept it in overnight). 
  2. After it’s done marinating, pour the pickle juice out of the bag.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the beaten egg and coconut milk. Pour that into the bag and let it sit for about 10 minutes while you prepare the spice mix. Paleo Chick-fil-A | stupideasypaleo.com
  4. In another small bowl, mix the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, onion power and garlic powder.
  5. Open the bag and drain out as much egg/coconut milk as you can. It doesn’t have to be 100% dry because you want something for the spice mix to stick to.
  6. Pour the spice mix into the bag, close the top, and really massage it into the chicken. This may take a minute or two but you want all the pieces to be evenly coated. Paleo Chick-fil-A | stupideasypaleo.com
  7. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil until the oil is very hot. Add a single layer of chicken (being careful not to crowd it) to the pan and fry on each side for about 3 minutes or until it’s completely cooked through. It took me two batches to cook one pound of chicken. Paleo Chick-fil-A | stupideasypaleo.com

Change It Up

  • Use a basic salt water brine solution instead of pickle juice (2 Tablespoons salt to 2 cups of water).
  • Serve with Paleo Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce or honey mustard dipping sauce.

Creamy Paleo Avocado Pesto

Creamy Paleo Avocado Pesto | stupideasypaleo.com

Avocado pesto blends the both of avocados and well, pesto in a really tasty and creamy combination. Serving suggestions: mix into zucchini noodles, use as a dip for veggies or spread over eggs.

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time:  0 min     Makes: ~2-1/2 cups

Ingredients for Creamy Paleo Avocado Pesto

  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, depending on your preference
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (or a mixture of pine nuts and pistachios)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ~1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Creamy Paleo Avocado Pesto | stupideasypaleo.com Directions for Creamy Paleo Avocado Pesto

  1. In a food processor combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. 
  2. While the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Add less if you like a thicker pesto and more if you want it thinner.

Paleo Cucumber Mint Raita

Paleo Cucumber Mint Raita | stupideasypaleo.comDipping food in a sauce makes it way more fun to eat, am I right?! Recently, I made some lamb / beef skewers and thought they’d pair really well with a raita. Traditionally, raita is a meal accompaniment in Indian cuisine and is made of yogurt, vegetables like cucumber and spices. It’s meant to cool the palate, especially during a spicy meal.

I knew yogurt wasn’t going to work for this Paleo version, so I settled on coconut cream and the result was pretty awesome. It’s got a hint of sweetness which is balanced out by the lime and the cucumber and mint are refreshing. Raita is best served chilled and eaten while fresh, but you can store it covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Definitely plan ahead so you can chill the can of coconut in the fridge for a day before making the recipe!

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients for Paleo Cucumber Mint Raita

  • 1 (14 oz) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 large English cucumber, finely chopped ( about 1.5 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions for Paleo Cucumber Mint Raita

  1. Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 24 hours so the cream will solidify.
  2. Carefully open the can and scoop out the solidified coconut cream into a medium-sized bowl. Save the water to adjust the consistency of the raita.
  3. Peel the cucumber and cut it lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Chop it finely. Also chop the mint. Add the cucumber and mint to the coconut cream.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. If needed, add a bit of the coconut water to thin the consistency of the raita. It should be relatively thick like a dip, not watery like soup.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill and then serve.

Lemony Herb Sauce

Lemony Herb Sauce | StupidEasyPaleo.com

This sauce got invented to accompany some awesome beef & lamb kofta (meat on a stick) that I made recently. All I can tell you is to hold onto your hat because it packs a wallop of flavor…the brightness of the lemon, the freshness of the herbs and a bit of texture from the pistachios are perfect. I’m typing this and my mouth is literally watering just thinking about it.

It’s versatile enough to drizzle over really any kind of meat or fish and even fresh veggies. YUM!

Prep time: 5-10 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes: ~3/4 cup

Ingredients for Lemony Herb Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients for Lemony Herb Sauce

  1. Chop the parsley, mint and pistachios. Combine in a small bowl with the sea salt.
  2. Squeeze the juice from one lemon (~1/4 cup) into the bowl, being careful to catch the seeds. I squeeze the lemon into my cupped hand, letting the juice strain through my fingers.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk at the same time.
  4. Serve with meat or veggies of your choice. Will keep refrigerated for 1-2 days but is best used fresh because of the herbs.

Lamb Kofta (Meat on a Stick)

Lamb Kofta (Meat on a Stick) | stupideasypaleo.com Recently, 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 for Lamb Kofta (Meat on a Stick)

  • 1-1/2 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 for Lamb Kofta (Meat on a Stick)

  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.

Creamy Sweet Potato Mash

Creamy Sweet Potato Mash |stupideasypaleo.com

Sweet potatoes and avocado don’t normally sound like a perfect match, do they? Well, guess again!

It’s not a rarity these days for folks to throw recipe ideas my way and ask me to bring them to life. This one’s no different! The concept for this super simple dish came from a CrossFit buddy, Justin. I’d never thought of combining these ingredients together so I was pretty pleased / surprised with how it came out. If you use sweet potato as a post-workout source of carbohydrate, you may want to save this tasty mash for a different meal since the fat from the avocado will slow digestion / absorption of the carbs.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time: 0 min*    Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients for Creamy Sweet Potato Mash

  • 1 large roasted** sweet potato, skin removed
  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Creamy Sweet Potato Mash

  1. Combine the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Let it rip! You may need to scrape down the bowl at least once so that there are no chunks remaining (I mean, unless you like that sort of thing).
  3. I dipped crispy bacon into mine almost like it was dip (mmmm!) but consumption with a spoon is just as practical.

*If the sweet potatoes are  roasted ahead of time.

**Bonus tip: Roasted sweet potatoes are easy to make in advance and keep throughout the week for quick additions to meals. To roast the perfect sweet potato, set the oven to 425°F (~220°C). Line a baking sheet with foil. Place washed sweet potatoes on the tray. Roast for ~45 minutes (depends on how big they are…size, uh, matters), flipping upside down once during cooking. If you let them COOL completely, the skin should easily peel off. If you’re in a hurry and have asbestos fingers, you can go for the hot-peel method but it’s not pleasant!

Super Bowl Bites: Simple Guacamole

Super Bowl Bites: Simple Guacamole | stupideasypaleo.com

Milestone alert: this is Stupid Easy Paleo’s 100th post! Looking forward to the next 100 because I seriously love making all these recipes and sharing them.

There are about a million different ways to make guacamole, but I fancy mine plain and simple: avocado with a healthy dose of lime and salt [fun fact: the word "guacamole" comes from an Azetc word that basically means "testicle"]. I like my guacamole really tangy, so start with one lime and go up from there if you want more punch. When I was thinking of what to serve alongside to dip into it, I thought back to a few of the trips I’d taken down to Baja to race my bike several years back – immediately the memory of eating pepino con chile y limon (cucumber with chile and lime) from a vendor’s cart after a race – hit me. Crunchy and tart with a bit of smoky chile flavor, cucumbers with lime and chile make the perfect dipping platform though you can try any other veggies you like. I made my own chile powder by grinding down 3 dried ancho chiles and 3 dried guajillo chiles (seeds removed) in the Vitamix – you could use a spice grinder instead. I happen to live in Southern California where many markets have vast assortments of the dried chile pods, but feel free to use any store-bought chile powder you can find.

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 0 min    Makes1-1/2 cups

Ingredients for Simple Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 limes
  • Salt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp chile powder

Directions for Simple Guacamole

  1. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop the green yumminess into a glass bowl. 
  2. Roll the limes on the countertop to mobilize the juice inside. Squeeze the juice of two limes into the bowl (save the 3rd lime for the cucumbers). Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  3. Mash the guacamole with your hands or with a fork. Hands are more fun, just be sure to wash them first.
  4. Peel and slice the cucumbers on the bias (diagonal cuts give a longer piece). Squeeze the juice of one lime on top and sprinkle with chile powder and a bit of salt.
  5. Consume.

Super Bowl Bites: Orange Ginger Chicken Wings

Orange Ginger Chicken Wings | stupideasypaleo.com

Stupid Easy Paleo, coming at you with another snack for your Super Bowl party (or any time you damn please). I recently read that chicken wing consumption is at an all-time national high which explains why I couldn’t find any the first time I went to the store. Luckily, my persistence paid off. When I was thinking of what flavors to baste these little flappers with, my mind automatically went to orange and ginger with a bit of heat. These wings are pretty damn Paleo and though there are a couple tablespoons of honey in the recipe, it really helps to give it that sticky glaze that we all love to lick off our fingers. Easily double the batch to feed your hungry bunch!

Prep time: 20 min     Cook time: 40 min    Makes: 1-1/2 pounds (about 12 wings)

Ingredients for Orange Ginger Chicken Wings

  • 1-1/2 pounds (~750 grams) chicken wings
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1-1/2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 serrano pepper* (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Directions for Orange Ginger Chicken Wings

  1. Preheat the oven to 375C (190F). Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the sauce in a small saucepan: Remove the zest from one orange using a microplane or grater, then add the juice of both oranges to the pan. Grate about 1 tbsp of ginger into the juice using the microplane. Add the apple cider vinegar, honey, coconut aminos, minced serrano pepper (remove the seeds and inner pith for a milder flavor) and salt. 
  3. Simmer the glaze on medium-low heat until it reduces and thickens, coating the back of a spoon. This may take several minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel and fry on each side to crisp / brown the skin a bit. Remove and drain on some clean paper towels.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the wings with the orange-ginger glaze. Remove wings from the glaze with a slotted spoon. Arrange wings on the baking sheet and save any excess glaze.
  6. Bake for 15 min, remove from oven, flip them over and baste with glaze. (NOTE: discard any unused glaze at this point as it’s been in contact with raw chicken).
  7. Bake for 15 more min or until completely cooked through.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and EAT.

*Note: Serrano peppers are hotter than jalapeños, so substitute those if you’d like or leave them out entirely. Wash your hands well immediately after handling the peppers and for goodness sake, don’t rub your eyes (or your nether regions).

Cucumber Tomato Bites

IMG_3688

Every once in a while, I miss crackers and it’s most evident when it comes time for parties or get-togethers. It always seems cheese and crackers and different variations of it are more than plentiful on plates and platters, circulating around and tempting me. These tasty bites use cucumber as the crunchy (cracker-like?) component upon which to pile the rest of the ingredients. In any case, I’m not the brain child behind these (that would be Z), but they’ve gone through a bit of an evolution in the past few weeks and have ended up as a virtual salad in one bite. Z really likes his with goat’s cheese, but if that’s not your thing, I used avocado instead. For a variation, try a toothpick through the top to hold it all together with an olive stuck on top.

Makes about 16.

Ingredients for Cucumber Tomato Bites

  • 1 English (seedless) cucumber
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 a white or purple onion
  • 1/4 a ripe avocado
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 oz (~60 g) soft or hard goat’s cheese, optional
  • Sea salt and pepper

Directions for Cucumber Tomato Bites

1. Slice the cucumber into rounds, about 1/8″ thick. You can use a piece as a top and a bottom or just as a base. If using a slice for a top, cut out the middle from those pieces so it will sit on top of the tomato without falling off. Season the cucumber slices with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice onto the slices.

2. Next, spread the goat’s cheese on the bottom cucumber slice. If you aren’t using the cheese, add sliced avocado instead.

3. Then, slice thin pieces of onion and add a couple on top of the avocado (or cheese). Raw onion is usually overpowering for me, so I added just a little to give a bit more flavor.

4. Next, slice the tomatoes in half and add it to the stack.

5. Top with another piece of cucumber (or not…after all, it’s your show!). Alternatively, stick a toothpick into the stack and top with an olive.

Easy Oven-Baked Meatballs

Easy Oven-Baked Meatballs | stupideasypaleo.com

These spheres of meaty joy are super easy to make and baking them in the oven frees you up to do the rest of your food prep or other tasks. Try varying the type of ground meat or go with what’s available – I made them with lean ground pork because it was on sale. You could serve these with tomato sauce and spaghetti squash, homemade Paleo ketchup or just as a post-workout protein source (if the % of fat is pretty low). I made a double batch (recipe below) which yielded 24 meatballs, and these freeze well after being cooked.

Ingredients for Easy Oven-Baked Meatballs

  • 2 pounds (1000 grams) ground meat of choice (I used lean pork)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (or 3 teaspoons dried rosemary)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Fat of choice

Directions for Easy Oven-Baked Meatballs

1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Line a sheet pan with foil.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in a spoonful of your fat of choice until softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, onions and all the spices.

4. Form into ~2″ balls and arrange on sheet pan.

5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs

Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs | stupideasypaleo.com

One thing that continues to fascinate me is how it’s virtually impossible to get American-style bacon here in Glasgow. Sure, there are rashers and even streaky bacon (which looks like American bacon) but nothing tastes quite the same. It doesn’t have any of the sugar normally added to the bacon in the States, but even the no sugar added sizzle strips I’ve tried back home weren’t like what’s available here. No matter, I wanted to make baked chicken thighs and decided to make them a bit more special. Smoked paprika – one of my favorite spices – adds another layer of savory flavor.

Ingredients for Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs

Directions for Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Trim the skin and excess fat from the chicken thighs.
  3. Season the chicken with smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  4. Wrap one piece of bacon around each chicken thigh and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

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Creamed Kale

Creamed Kale | stupideasypaleo.com

Until recently, my kale preparation methods was limited to steaming or roasting in the oven (aka kale chips). While making dinner the other night, I realized there was no room in the oven for a pan of kale chips, so I raided the pantry and made this super-fast creamed kale. The coconut milk gives it a hint of sweetness while the spices / nutmeg adds a bit of warmth.

Ingredients for Creamed Kale

  • 1 bag of pre-washed and cut kale (or 1 bunch of kale)
  • 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Coconut oil or fat of choice (I mixed coconut oil and butter)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Creamed Kale

1. If the kale isn’t pre-washed and cut, do that first. If you bought pre-washed / cut kale, pick through the leaves and discard and hard stems.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a spoonful of your fat of choice.

3. Saute the kale until softened, stirring often…about 5 minutes.

4. Add the coconut milk and nutmeg. Cook until the coconut milk thickens a bit, about 5 more minutes.

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes | stupideasypaleo.com

White potatoes have been making their way onto my menu more recently as a post-workout (PWO) carb replacement. I know…Paleo purists are probably somewhat horrified right now, but the fact remains that potatoes of all kinds contain glucose which is preferable to fructose (the sugar found in fruit) for muscle glycogen replenishment. While white potatoes have a higher glycemic index than yams, they also have more micronutrients like magnesium and potassium. These are super tasty and very simple to make. Pop in a huge batch when you do your big food prep for the week and take them with you for PWO.

Ingredients for Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) miniature new potatoes
  • 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

1. Steam the potatoes whole until tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400F (about 200C). Line a sheet pan with foil.

3. Chop the rosemary and garlic finely.

4. Slice the potatoes in half-lengthwise.

5. Mix all the ingredients together on the baking sheet and toss. Roast for 20 minutes (stir once about halfway through) until golden brown.

Glazed Pork Belly

Glazed Pork Belly | stupideasypaleo.com

The first time I ever had pork belly was at the Ad Lib, a restaurant in Glasgow back in September. To say that I was dumbfounded by how good it tasted would be an understatement. It seems to be relatively tricky to find in the States – at least in non-specialty stores in my area, and I’d been unable to shake it from the back of my mind since I came home. As good fortune would have it on a recent trip to Marks & Spencer (a somewhat posh department / food store here), two lovely pork bellies sat on the 1/2 price meat shelf just waiting for me to scoop them up. After some quick research on how to best prepare them, I set out on my pork belly adventure. I made homemade applesauce while the pork was cooking. Store-bought applesauce will probably be too watery for this application unless you try to reduce it a bit on the stove. The homemade sauce is quite simple to prepare and just takes a bit of time. This is a great recipe for making on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Ingredients for the Glazed Pork Belly

For the Pork Belly

  • 1-1/2 lb (700 g) pork belly
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey

For the Applesauce

  • 4 apples (I used Pink Lady but any will do)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp butter

Directions for Glazed Pork Belly

  1. Score the fat on the top of the pork belly lengthwise. Sprinkle liberally with salt, rub into the score marks and place back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 275F (140C). Line a baking baking dish or tray with foil.
  3. Smash the garlic cloves with the back of a knife. Place the pork belly onto the baking dish with the fat facing down. Spread the smashed garlic cloves onto the meat. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and the dried sage. Turn the pork belly over so the fat is facing up. Add about 1/2″ of water to the pan.
  4. Bake for 2.5 hours at this temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the applesauce by peeling and dicing the apples. Put the apples and cinnamon in a medium sized pot. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Cover with a lid (but crack it so that steam can escape) and cook on low for about 45 minutes or until the apples are very soft – exactly how long depends on the type of apples used. At the end, add the lemon juice and butter and mash the apples to the desired consistency. I like mine a bit chunky.
  5. After the pork has been in the oven for 2.5 hours, remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 425F (220C). Mix about 1/3 cup of the applesauce with 1 tbsp honey and spread over the top of the pork. Return to the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is crispy and brown.
  6. I served mine with extra applesauce and kale chips. So good!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash | stupideasypaleo.com As autumn is upon us, the selection and quality of hard squashes available in the store or the farmer’s market is rapidly increasing. No time like the present to pick one up and start rotating in some seasonal veggies (seriously, it may be time to start backing away from tomatoes, zucchini and other summer veggies for a bit)! This recipe is similar in concept to the Stuffed Delicata Squash that I blogged last year, yet the flavor profile is quite different. If you are going to use ground beef, try to opt for grass-fed and organic whenever possible. Trader Joe’s now carries a 1 pound package for about $6.50 which is pretty reasonable considering I’ve seen the Whole Foods here in SoCal sell it for $9.99 / lb. This recipe is very easy to double to give you leftovers for the week…work smarter, not harder!

Ingredients for Stuffed Acorn Squash

*Note: when it comes to herbs and spices, I absolutely hate measuring them and usually just eyeball it. This is cooking, not baking, so quantities don’t have to be precise for the recipe to work out just fine. Adjust quantities to your taste or what’s available but just remember, it’s always possible to add more but very hard to take away!

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Directions for Stuffed Acorn Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (185ºC). Line a baking sheet or dish with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Place on the baking sheet and roast until the flesh is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to the touch. **While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing. Hint: You can always do this step ahead of time.
  3. Dice the apple and onion into medium-sized pieces. Slice the bacon into pieces.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the bacon. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the apples and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the bacon / onion / apple mixture to a large bowl.
  5. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. (Note: If the beef has yielded a lot of fat and is not grass-fed, you may want to drain it before adding the spices and herbs). Add all spices and herbs: rosemary, thyme, fennel seeds, sage, pepper, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Pour the ground beef into the same large bowl. Stir to combine.
  6. When the squash is cool to the touch, use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh and mix into the beef.
  7. Use a spoon to fill the squash boats with the beef mixture.
  8. Return the squash to the oven and bake another 15 minutes at 375ºF (185ºC) until everything is heated through.