Tag Archives: spinach

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!

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Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash | Popular Paleo for StupidEasyPaleo.com

Questions for Ciarra? Leave them in the comments below!

Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata

Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata | stupideasypaleo.comFrittatas are one of those classic one-skillet meals that are more delicious the next day. This one is based off a spinach frittata from the book “It Starts with Food” by Whole9 (they’ve got a Whole30 starting today by the way) - I’ve taken the basic idea and jazzed it up just a bit. I recommend using a cast iron skillet since it goes right from stovetop to oven. As long as your skillet is properly seasoned, the eggs won’t stick and the frittata should come out cleanly.

You can use any type of ground meat you’d like. Since ground meat can be fattier than other cuts, I try to stick to higher quality when I can. Experiment with different types of veggies, too!

Ingredients for Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata:

  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 8 to 12 oz. of raw ground grassfed beef 
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 oz. package of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and excess moisture squeezed out
  • 1 tomato, sliced

Directions for Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (~175°C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs together with the smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, saute the meat until it’s cooked through.
  4. Add the onion and mushrooms and saute until they are softened and slightly tender.
  5. Add the defrosted and drained spinach. [Hint: start the spinach defrosting in the microwave after you preheat the oven so you aren't waiting for it to be done. You need to drain this well by squeezing out the extra moisture or your frittata will end up soggy.] Stir to combine.
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Turn off the heat and stir the ingredients to combine.
  7. Lay the tomato slices on top.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are set and not runny.
  9. Serve directly from the skillet or slice and store for leftover.

Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

Do you love frittatas? What’s your favorite flavor combo? Let me know in the comments below!

Cinco de Mayo Steak Salad

DSC_0163Living in San Diego, you could say that Cinco de Mayo is a pretty big deal around these parts. All over the city – and pretty much the rest of the US – folks will be gladly using this holiday to eat vast quantities of guacamole and drink lots of tequila. I hate tequila. It all stems back to a Jimmy Buffet concert in October 2008, but I digress. Safe to say, no NorCal margaritas for me!

I made a version of this salad the other day, and it was so punchy with flavor that I had to make it again. And then it hit me! The colors are red, white and green and most of the ingredients are common to Mexican cuisine. In celebration of the Fifth of May, the Battle of Puebla and the love of drinking fermented agave, I bring you this festive salad. Substitute any cooked meat you’d like if you don’t like steak. I topped mine with a pan-fried grassfed New York strip steak sliced thin.

Prep time: 5 min     Cook time: 10 min    Makes: 2-3 cups of salad (plus meat)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe tomato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup jicama, cubed
  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1 tsp Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

DSC_0161

Directions:

  1. Combine the spinach, tomato, jicama, avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice on top and drizzle with olive oil. 
  2. Taste and season with salt and pepper if you like.
  3. Top with cooked meat of choice. I used steak, but grilled chicken would be a great alternative!

Note: I earn a small commission if you use the links in this post to purchase the products I’ve featured. I personally use and believe in the products I recommend.

Breakfast of Titans

Do you have 5 minutes? Literally 5 minutes, including time to heat up the pan (okay…5:02)? Then you have enough time to cook up a nutritious dish instead of deferring to something processed or pre-made. Contained within is a solid dose of protein, healthy fats and some good carbs. Breakfast of Titans is one of the easiest things to make. Why Titans you ask? They were gods of unmatched strength, and plus Craig Zielinski of @bamfathletics named it so…and I’m not one to argue with that. If you don’t like smoked salmon, you could substitute in any leftover meat of choice. Another suggestion to make this breakfast even simpler is to roast a bunch of sweet potatoes (375 degrees for about 45 minutes) in the oven once or twice a week to always have them on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz wild smoked salmon
  • 3-4 eggs
  • Big handful of spinach
  • Coconut oil or fat of choice

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Directions:

1. Heat a medium-sized skillet on medium heat. Add a spoonful of coconut oil, butter, bacon fat, etc.

2. Add smoked salmon, break up into chunks and cook for about a minute.

3. Crack eggs directly into the pan and scramble.

4. When the eggs are almost completely cooked through, add spinach on top and stir around until wilted.

5. Serve with sweet potato on the side.

delicious

“I do not like them, Sam-I-Am!” or so says the main character in Dr. Seuss’s famous book. My friend and training partner Trish took me to a popular Encinitas eatery recently and swore that their green egg scramble was amazing…and it was!

It did happen to contain pesto (which traditionally contains parmesan cheese) and feta, so it wasn’t technically Paleo-friendly for me, as I don’t eat dairy. Intrigued by all the flavors, I decided to make a version that’s dairy-free and every bit as tasty. The extra pesto can be made and stored for other dishes (or even frozen in an ice cube tray). The quantities in this recipe served two very hungry people, but you could adjust accordingly. (Note: I, for once, did NOT use my iPhone for these pictures…learning how to use the big-girl camera slowly but surely!! Aren’t you proud?!)

Ingredients for the pesto:

  • 2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the eggs:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, cut into julienne matchsticks
  • 2 green onions
  • Avocado
  • 1-2 Tablespoons coconut milk (from a can), optional

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Directions:

1. In a food processor, combine basil, garlic and pine nuts. Grind down until everything is chopped finely.

2. Add the olive oil and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 3. Prepare the veggies: microwave the spinach and squeeze out the excess moisture. Julienne the zucchini and cut into matchsticks (I cheated and have a special julienne peeler which I absolutely love!). Slice the green onions thinly (whites and about half of the green tops).
4. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and add coconut milk (if desired). Whisk until smooth.

5. In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of your fat of choice (ghee, coconut oil, lard, etc).

6. Quickly cook the zucchini and green onion until soft, ~1-2 minutes.

7. Add spinach and eggs and scramble the eggs until firm.

8. Stir in the pesto.

9. Top with avocado, serve with a side of (good quality…sugar-free for Whole30) bacon and consume!

 

This is one of my favorite ways to use up veggies and leftover meat from the fridge. Use anything you’d like and create your own combinations!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 small bell peppers (from the CSA box so they are tiny; normal sized pepper from grocery = use 1/2), chopped
  • 1 small summer squash (again tiny; use 1/2 a normal sized squash), chopped
  • 3 large cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup leftover cooked meat (I had ground turkey)
  • EVOO, coconut oil, bacon grease, etc

Directions:

1. Prep all veggies…chop your little heart out. Tip: to ensure even cooking, try to chop your veggies into roughly the same size pieces.

2. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil/fat.

3. Cook onion, pepper and squash together for ~3-4 minutes.

4. Add tomato and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

5. Top with spinach and stir until it cooks down.

6. Throw in pre-cooked meat.

7. Crack eggs into the pan (I don’t scramble them first…wastes a clean dish) and scramble those puppies until cooked.

8. Serve with avocado slices, salt and pepper.

Makes 2 normal-sized servings or 1 if I’m really hungry!