Cuisines: paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free

Ginger Grilled Scallops

Ginger Grilled Scallops

You have no idea how excited I am right now.  It’s been a whole week of above 50 degree temps in my Minnesota backyard and that means it’s GRILLING time!!!   Bonus: grilling means that my kitchen doesn’t get messy which then means, I don’t have to clean […]

Bacon Deviled Eggs

Bacon Deviled Eggs

  I have a confession to make. I’ve made deviled eggs exactly once in my life. In fact, before these bacon deviled eggs, I hated the very thought of deviled eggs.  My mother in law was impressed that I actually made them given my history of […]

Baked Chicken Tenders

Baked Chicken Tenders

 baked chicken tenders

Sheesh. This eating a more strict healthy diet for the month of January has me craving some wicked bar food. Or it could be that I don’t exactly get to head out for happy hours anymore since having kids and staying home with them.  I occasionally have a bit of nostalgia for my days of working downtown and being able to scoot out for a lunch date or ditching out of work a smidge early for happy hour with friends. Then I remember that I was in a cubicle, and well, that’s just not as great as having a whole house as my office.  But I do still long for the occasional happy hour and bar food…. so why not create my own happy hour?  Sure thing!  Baked Chicken Tenders it is with a yummy honey mustardy bbq mayo sauce to go with them! 

First things first, these little guys need a good marinade.  Feel free to use buttermilk or if you’re dairy free, use coconut milk kefir or coconut milk with a  tablespoon of lemon juice to accomplish the same effect which is moist and tenderlicious chicken.  I used coconut milk kefir and added some spices to it.  Place the chicken strips in a shallow dish or bowl and cover with the buttermilk/coconut milk kefir and let marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 24. 

baked chicken fingers

Next, we crush up a bag of plain pork rinds to use as the coating. I know! Weird, but oh so good!!!  So crush ’em up by just smashing them right in their bag until they’re pretty fine. Then dump them into a clean bowl with a hit of spice once again.  Take each chicken tender out of their marinade and let the excess drip off.  Then dredge them in the pork rinds until they are fully covered and place on a baking sheet.  I lined my baking sheet with aluminum foil and placed a cooling rack over top to bake them so the oven air could circulate around the chicken and get them a bit crispier. 

chicken fingers

So what’s this crazy sounding sauce?  It’s a lot like the sauce that Chick-fil-a makes that’s super addictively delicious with chicken.  It’s essentially a homemade mayo but with a few added ingredients like honey and barbeque sauce.  Now THAT is some seriously good sauce!

baked chicken fingers

 

Baked Chicken Tenders
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizers
Cuisine: paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • 1 cup coconut milk kefir (or coconut milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice, or buttermilk)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups crushed plain pork rinds
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (or 1 teaspoon if the pork rinds are unsalted)
  • Sauce ingredients:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions
  1. Place chicken tenders in a shallow dish.
  2. Mix coconut milk kefir with garlic, cayenne and salt and then pour over chicken tenders.
  3. Refrigerate and let marinate 4-24 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Crush pork rinds and place in a bowl with pepper, onion powder, paprika, Cajun seasoning and salt. Mix to combine.
  6. Lift each chicken tender out of the marinade and let the excess drip off.
  7. Dredge chicken tender in pork rind mixture until fully coated.
  8. Place on a wire rack and place wire rack on foil lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake 20 minutes.
  10. For the sauce:
  11. Place all ingredients in a jar just wide enough for a stick blender to fit into.
  12. Blend with stick blender until blended.

 

 

 

Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Marbled Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

I was never one to devour the bread basket at a restaurant as bread just isn’t really my thing.    Except for at breakfast. Then, gimme some bready, moist, warm, fresh from the oven muffins and I’m one happy girl!  It used to be a weekend tradition with […]

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

  I think it’s finally fall. So, I finally rescued the last of the carrot crop from my garden. But who really knows. Minnesota is known for not being able to make up its mind when it comes to the change of seasons. Monday was […]

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

 

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It’s a comfort food kind of day. We’re in the process of selling our house so it’s been a challenge to keep the house clean and still manage to cook and so forth between showings. I swear, all I’m doing these days is cleaning, and re-cleaning, and cleaning again.  I will be so glad when that’s over!!!  Comfort food comes in all kinds of varieties.  Most of the time, it just needs to be warm and delightfully savory.  Something simple I could imagine my grandmother cooking for me even if it’s not exactly the same as her recipe would have been.  Like this spaghetti squash and meatballs.  The meatballs are an old recipe that I’ve altered slightly and of course, pouring them over spaghetti squash is super healthy.  Put these little delicious meatballs over rice noodles and they are equally as fabulous.  Or eat them without noodles… like appetizer style with a toothpick. 

If you’ve never tried a spaghetti squash it’s really about time that you do.  First let me preface this by saying I hate squash.  I never liked it growing up and haven’t liked it as an adult.  I was prompted to try it mostly cuz it looked fun.  Anytime you can shred something and play with food it qualifies as a good new adventure to me!  So I found a nice freshly picked spaghetti squash at a local farm’s pumpkin patch.  Next came the chore of figuring out how to cut it in half for easy baking. It takes a little force but here’s the easiest way I’ve found to do it.  Slice the stem end off to make a flat surface. Then stand it on that end and rock a large chef’s knife through the center while pressing down to break it into two halves.  Scoop out the seeds, and place it cut side down on a baking sheet to bake. 

spaghetti squash

It will essentially steam itself this way with the moisture from within. Once the outer skin of the squash gives to the touch, then you take it out of the oven and scrape it with a fork.  It’ll shred into spaghetti looking strands like magic! 

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Of course, while the squash is baking, you’d be smart to mix up the meatballs and form them into small little orbs of goodness.  These get a slow simmer in a simple tomato sauce and then served over the squash. The flavor of the squash is so mild that it takes on the flavor of whatever you put onto it so you’d never know you’re eating something so healthy.  It won me over!  If you want to be fancy, try placing a piece of mozzarella inside each meatball.  It’s amazingly good!!  You can also crockpot these little meatballs as an appetizer.  Just form them, put them in a crock pot with the tomato sauce and let them cook 6-8 hours until cooked through.

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Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Cuisine: paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free
Ingredients
  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground beef or pork
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 3 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour (optional, use if you want firmer meatballs but they work fine without it)
  • 6 cups tomato sauce (about 2 large cans)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the stem end off of the spaghetti squash to make a flat surface. Turn it onto this end and rock a chef's knife from the top end while pressing down to cut the squash into two halves.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and place cut side down onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake squash until the skin indents lightly with the press of a finger. About 30-40 min depending on the size of your squash.
  5. While the squash is baking, place all meatball ingredients except the tomato sauce in a mixing bowl and mix with your hands. Really, it's the easiest way to get it all mixed up.
  6. Form small balls with the meat mixture and place in a large saucepan.
  7. Pour tomato sauce over meatballs so they are all submerged and simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. They can continue to simmer longer than this if you're waiting for the squash to finish.
  8. When spaghetti squash is tender, take it out of the oven and shred with a fork.
  9. Place spaghetti squash strands in a serving bowl and serve with meatballs and the tomato sauce overtop.
Notes
Also delicious with ½ cup grated manchego or parmesan cheese mixed into the meatballs. Or if you want to be extra fancy, tuck a small chunk of mozzarella into the inside of the meatball as you're forming them for a tasty cheesy middle.
You can cook these in a crock pot as well. Place meatballs in crockpot and cover with tomato sauce. Cook 6-8 hours until they are cooked through.

 

Zucchini Pomodoro

Zucchini Pomodoro

  You know what’s fun? Using goofy kitchen tools to make really cool (and really delicious) noodles. Or zoodles. Or whatever you want to call them.  It’s kind of a childish fascination to morph food items into fun shapes with kitchen tools.  It’s a lot like […]

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Raspberry Vinaigrette

I was feeling in the mood for something a little tangy, something a little sweet… and bright and sunny!  How about raspberry vinaigrette!  This recipe was a request by my sister to create a fresh raspberry vinaigrette that was healthier than the store bought varieties and easy to […]

Shitake Green Beans

Shitake Green Beans

 

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I hope all of you had a fantastic weekend!  The family and I went out camping this past weekend to enjoy the weather and each other’s company.  It’s so awesome having a campground within 15 minutes from our house.  Not only is it convenient, but we were able to have friends and some additional family come hang out on Saturday for a bonfire and chit chat.  It was such a relaxing weekend.

Now for the goodies! My garden is still giving me a good weekly meal of green beans so I decided what better to pair them with than shitake mushrooms! I used to have MAJOR texture issues with biting into mushrooms (and I still can’t fathom biting into a large portabella cap) but smaller fried varieties I’ve come to appreciate and can handle their texture. Maybe because I just love how darn good they taste.

Shitake Green Beans start with sautéing the shitakes in either olive oil or if you want to increase their flavor profile, try sautéing in sesame oil.  Yum!

shitake green beans

Sauté these guys at least until they give up their extra moisture.  I like them best when they just start to crisp a little.  While that’s happening, boil some water and give the beans a quick bath until they are tender crisp.  Then you simply toss them all together with the rest of the ingredients. Simple. Delicious. Shitake Green Beans…

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Shitake Green Beans
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
  • 12-16 oz fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 green onion, roughly chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt (try using smoked salt if you have it)
  • pepper, to taste
  • parmesan (optional) garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, start some water boiling. Once water is boiling, add green beans and cook until tendercrisp. About 4-5 minutes.
  2. Place oil and shitake mushrooms in a medium frying pan and sauté until the shrooms give up most of their moisture or even start to crisp a little.
  3. Add chopped green onion to the mushrooms and give a quick stir.
  4. Once beans are cooked, drain and add beans to the pan with the mushrooms and onion.
  5. Toss with salt and pepper.
  6. Top with grated parmesan if desired and serve.

 

 

Lemon Tarragon Asparagus

Lemon Tarragon Asparagus

    Hey!!!  You know how I said I had this nice little urban garden in my last post and was sharing my herbs with my neighbor? Well, I decided this time not to share and to keep the extra tarragon to make this light lemon […]


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