Category Archives: Paleo Pantry

{Paleo Pantry} Cinnamon Bacon Braised Beef Stew

Hey Monday! Did you hear? The Broncos are going to the Super Bowl … yeehaw!*  That game was a good way for the weekend to make up for the storm that was indeed a heartbreaker. Not only did we not get two feet of snow, we didn’t get a single flake!?! We spent all day Saturday waiting for the storm to come. TimTheFarmer had the plow blade on the truck, I got my workout in early, the chicken fence came down, and I had the stew meat defrosted. See? Country song. While we didn’t get a storm, we did have some great stew.

I was feeling so dejected by the storm that I was having trouble putting any effort into dinner (I might like snowstorms more than really good food) and found a recipe that required 5 ingredients and barely any work #sold. The recipe called for 2 pounds of stew meat and I’d only defrosted one, and it called for cauliflower rice and I didn’t have any cauliflower. You can see why I chose it right? I decided to take inspiration from the recipe and work with what I had. It was a blizzard outside after all and getting to the store was out of the question. #not

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In paleo, cauliflower rice is an awesome substitute for rice or a starch when you need something to soak up the sauce. Another great option is spaghetti squash. I had 8 spaghetti squash (I told you I was ready for the storm…or they were on sale), so I decided to use that as a base for the stew. Am I the only one for whom spaghetti squash is a mind blower? Every time I cook one, I find it absolutely amazing that you’ve got this ready made spaghetti shape from a squash. And, if you don’t overcook it, it can be a decent pasta substitution.

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I also added in bacon to make up for the missing stew meat. As we all know, bacon makes everything better. 

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Family consensus – delicious! The cinnamon with the beef, in a savory application, was totally unexpected, and really really tasty. Plus, the house smelled amazing. This is a super easy meal that we’ll definitely make again.

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Cinnamon Bacon Braised Beef Stew with Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1lb stew meat, cut into 1" chunks
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  3. 8 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2" chunks
  4. 3 cinnamon sticks
  5. 4-6 cups beef broth
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. 1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat large pot over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until almost crispy. Remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel. Set aside.
  3. While bacon cooks, pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper. Once bacon is cooked and removed from pot, add beef in single layer to pot. If there is not at least 2 tbsp of fat in pan from bacon, add coconut oil to get you to 2 tbsp. Cook over medium heat until all sides of beef cubes are browned. Remove to a plate with slotted spoon.
  4. Add onions to pan, again adding fat if below 1-2 tbsp. Sauté onions until soft.
  5. Add beef and cinnamon sticks to the onions and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add 4 cups of beef broth, scraping the browned bits from the pan. Bring to a simmer and then turn heat down to low and simmer for 40-60 minutes until beef is fork tender. Keep an eye on the liquid and either cover the pot if the liquid is evaporating too quickly or add a bit more stock. You want the liquid to thicken to just cover the stew meat, but not burn off.
  7. When you add the beef broth, put the squash on a baking sheet, cut side down and cook for 30-40 minutes until a fork easily pierces the skin.** Remove from oven and let rest until stew is ready.
  8. When meat is fork tender, "fluff" the spaghetti squash by raking the flesh with a fork to remove from the skin.
  9. Serve the stew over a bed of spaghetti squash.
Notes
  1. **Be careful not to cook the squash until it's mushy as you'll lose the crisp spaghetti texture of the squash.
Adapted from Mediterranean Paleo
Adapted from Mediterranean Paleo
Isn't That Grand? http://isntthatgrand.com/
*Anyone who knows me will call me out on only caring about football in the post season. It’s true. I’ll own it. Just thought I should put that out there. Honesty is important.



{Paleo Pantry} Caribbean Spiced Plantains

Happy Hump Day everyone! I love me a 4-day week … we get to Wednesday, and then the weekend, so much quicker. Although this week I’m buried in reading applications and doing admissions interviews and could use another day in the week … and I have to work this weekend, so I’m not even sure what I’m talking about. #losingit

The chaos of a week like this, where I am literally on an interview every hour, makes me grateful for a well stocked pantry, fruit basket, and spice cabinet, so that dinner is quick to pull together. Plantains have become a key part of our well stocked pantry. They used to scare me because you’re expecting a sweet banana and then you end up with a thing that you can’t peel, and depending on the ripeness, can be pretty bland, and you have to cook. Buuuut, our nutritional therapist put me on a super strict eating plan as part of our mold detox and my fibromyalgia treatment. Basically, I’m allowed to eat grassfed/pastured/free-range meat, arugula, and low fiber/low carb veggies (winter squashes, carrots, and plantains). It’s not the most exciting eating in the world, but I’m still on a mission to make it taste good.

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We buy plantains in bulk. Two bags, from Costco, once a month. When you’re only allowed squash and plantains as your starch, you need a serious supply. Usually we eat green plantains because they’re lower in sugar, but sometimes they get away from me on the ripeness (I’m acting as though I don’t let them, which I do, because they’re so much better sweet) and we just have to indulge in a sweet treat. 

Spices are totally your friend when it comes to creating tasty paleo meals. I’ve always had a decently stocked spice cabinet, but it now gets some serious use. I love love love smoked paprika and was including that in every spice blend, but I’m also on a nightshade-restricted diet right now (no tomatoes or peppers (which is where paprika comes from)), so no paprika (or spicy food, which really puts a cork in my snorkel). Instead, I add ginger and turmeric to every spice blend I make for their anti-inflammatory properties, and because they taste good.  

CaribbeanSpicedPlantains2These Caribbean spiced plantains are an awesome side dish and super quick and easy to pull together. To get the best flavor, it’s good to grind some of the spices fresh. I use my dad’s coffee grinder circa 1992 – notice the yellowed plastic? I remember when my grandpa gave this to my dad when I was little. My dad probably doesn’t even know I have this #nowhedoes #hidad. If you don’t own a spice grinder, just use ground cinnamon, allspice, and pepper.

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This recipe is this easy: grind up your spices, peel and slice your plantains, toss the plantains in the spice mixture, melt some butter, sear the plantains, and throw them in the oven until soft. The whole process takes about 17 minutes. Best part? They totally taste like bananas foster, except without the ice cream and booze, and you get to eat them for dinner. #awesomesauce #excepttheresnosauce

Also, you should know that cooking (or any other activity in our household) involves refereeing the dog wrestling. 

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Yep. You do spy the easy salmon burgers in the background. Last night was totally a Paleo Pantry kind of night. And, someone should remind the cook that we all learned in third grade not to have the pan handles hanging off the stove. #danger

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If you haven’t eaten many (or any) plantains, these a great gateway plantain. Make sure you’re using ripe plantains (yellowy-brownish) and here’s a good tutorial for peeling plantains (both green and ripe).

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Caribbean Spiced Plantains
Serves 4
Quick and easy paleo plantain side dish
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Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
17 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 ripe plantains
  2. 2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp ground cinnamon)
  3. 1 tsp whole allspice (1 tsp ground allspice)
  4. 1 tsp ground ginger
  5. 1 tsp ground turmeric
  6. 1 tsp ground cumin
  7. 1 tsp ground coriander
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 10 whole peppercorns (or 1/2 tsp pepper)
  10. 2 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grind all spices in spice grinder/coffee grinder (or mix ground spices together)
  3. Peel plantains and slice into 1 inch slices on the bias
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the plantains in the spice mixture
  5. Heat butter in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat
  6. Add plantains to skillet and cook until almost blackened
  7. Flip plantains and cook again other side until almost blackened
  8. Move skillet to oven and cook until plantains are fork tender/soft, about 5-8 minutes.
Adapted from Beyond Bacon
Adapted from Beyond Bacon
Isn't That Grand? http://isntthatgrand.com/
 P.S.  I realize turmeric isn’t really a Caribbean spice, but like I said, I add it to everything.



{Paleo Pantry} Quick and Easy Salmon Burger Recipe

I’m sitting here in an ice storm (it finally feels like winter! it finally feels like winter!) listening to ice tink on the windows and know I won’t be going anywhere today.

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It’s these days that make me grateful for a strategically stocked pantry and freezer. I have a few meals that are my go-to quick meals (hello taco salad!) and these salmon burgers have definitely become a staple on days when I need a quick meal, or when I can’t drive the 20 minutes to the grocery store.

Paleo Salmon Burgers

First, let’s talk salmon burgers. How many times have you ordered a salmon burger and gotten a bland, dry, lame excuse of a burger? Salmon burgers, like turkey burgers, can be really awful if the cook doesn’t take the time to add some serious flavor to them. You’ve got to go big or go home with seasoning. I’ve become a big fan of salmon burgers in the last year because they’re a great way to get all the nutrition that comes from wild Alaskan salmon without the price tag. For health and sustainability purposes, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon (as I read somewhere “there are no salmon left in the Atlantic”), but it can run you $10-20/lb, which makes it a treat, not an everyday meal. I discovered canned wild Alaskan salmon and buy it in bulk. It’s pink salmon, not the fancy sockeye or king salmon, but is affordable, healthy, and works great for salmon burgers. I buy it once a month at Costco. As an FYI, you could also call these salmon cakes, like crab cakes, if that makes you feel better.

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Second, let’s talk Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. This book was one of my first purchases (also from Costco, are you sensing a theme here?) when we went paleo more than a year ago and it’s been a lifesaver. It does a great job of outlining the different versions of paleo and offers options for what your restrictions are (FODMAP, nightshade, or egg free). It makes it easy and delicious to cut out all grains and dairy. I use her base for salmon burgers and then throw in whatever tasty ingredients we have on hand.

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Third, let’s talk cookbook notes. I am a huge fan of writing in cookbooks because, as TimTheFarmer will attest to, I have an awful memory. This is a great way of remembering if a recipe was good and what changes I made to the recipe. Your cookbooks are not library books kids – mark them up!

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I’d highly recommend adding canned wild salmon (and coconut flour) to your pantry – you’ll have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry and will have another easy, go-to meal in your dinner (or lunch) arsenal. 

Variations:

  • Use some sort of onion/garlic flavor. Depending on the season I use garlic scapes, green onions/scallions, red onions, garlic, or some combo of the above.
  • Use a zesty sauce. Or not. I love horseradish, so I often use that, but dijon mustard or siracha would work. If you’re not into heat, just add a bit of mayonnaise to add a little creaminess. 
  • Use fresh (or dried) herbs. Again, depending on the season I’ll add chopped parsley or dill.
  • Add lemon juice or zest. I love the freshness this adds.
  • Make a dipping sauce. I love a dipping sauce. I usually just mix homemade mayonnaise with a bit of horseradish or lemon and garlic to spread on top of the burgers.

IMG_8998Let me know if you try these – I’d love to hear what you think!

Paleo Salmon Burgers
Serves 2
A quick and easy paleo pantry recipe.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
For the salmon burgers
  1. 2 6 oz cans of wild salmon, drained
  2. 2 eggs, beaten
  3. 3-5 tbsp minced onion (green onions, scapes, shallots, red onions)
  4. 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/8 tsp pepper
  7. 1/4 smoked paprika
  8. 2 tsp sauce (dijon mustard, horseradish etc.)
  9. 1-2 tsp of coconut flour
  10. coconut oil or butter for frying
For the sauce
  1. 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  2. 1 tsp horseradish OR 1 minced garlic clove
  3. 1 tsp lemon juice
For the salmon burgers
  1. Combine all ingredients except coconut flour in a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the coconut flour over the mixture and mix in.
  3. Form the mixture into four equal sized patties.
  4. Heat the oil/butter in a large pan over medium heat. You need enough oil to create a 1/4 inch layer on the pan.
  5. Place the patties into the pan and allow to brown on one side before flipping. Brown both sides and cook through. Serve with sauce or a lemon wedge.
For the sauce
  1. Combine mayonnaise with horseradish or lemon juice and garlic. Yep, it's that easy.
Notes
  1. I'll serve this on a bed of greens, wrapped in butter lettuce, with avocado, or on an actual bun for non-paleo peeps.
Adapted from Practical Paleo
Adapted from Practical Paleo
Isn't That Grand? http://isntthatgrand.com/