Sunday, March 18, 2012

Turkey Chili

A friend of mine threw a Super Bowl Party and served up a delicious meal of turkey chili filled with hearty vegetables. I had always loved chili, but my favorite part used to be the red kidney beans. Because we don't consume beans on Paleo I didn't think chili would hold much appeal for me anymore. That turkey chili was so amazing, though, I didn't even miss my beloved beans. I had to go home and make my own version.

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 - 1.5 pound ground turkey meat
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced thick
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced thick
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thick
  • 1 8oz package sliced baby bella mushrooms, chopped smaller
  • 1 2.25oz can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste (about 1 tsp is good for a some kick, add more if you like it spicier)
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 8 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth
1. Begin by heating a few TBSP of EVOO in a large stock pot or french oven.

2. Brown the turkey chop meat in the pan, breaking up the large bits with a wooden spoon. Once the turkey is done cooking, drop in the onion, garlic, celery, red bell pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms. Stir often to cook all the veggies until slightly soft.

3. Next add in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, bay leaves, tomato paste and cayenne pepper, and stir to mix well. Feel free to add in more cayenne pepper if you want to kick up the spiciness.

4. Add the can of diced tomatoes with the juices, olives (drained), and the low sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thick and fragrant, about 15 minutes.

Brown the meat
Cook the veggies
Almost ready!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Dirty Dozen (and the Clean 15)

When we made the switch to Paleo we started to learn about the real effect the food we consume actually has on our bodies and overall health. We realized that it's not only about the type of food you are eating, but also how that food was cultivated. To me, the word "organic" just used to mean "expensive". But after much reading I've come to see that organic fruits and vegetables not only have fewer levels of pesticide residue, they on average also have more nutrients.

The first week we went Paleo, everything we bought was organic, or cage free, or grass-fed. Our shopping bills went through the roof. We needed to figure out how to balance our desire to eat clean while working on a budget. The answer came in the form of the Dirty Dozen.
Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes two different lists - The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen outlines the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticide residue. The Clean 15 outlines the 15 fruits and vegetables with the least amounts of pesticide residue. We decided we would spend the extra money to buy organic only those items listed on the Dirty Dozen. The Clean 15 gave us confidence that we don't necessarily need to purchase those items as organic if they weren't really cost-effective. When we do make organic purchases outside of the Dirty Dozen it is because there is a sale, or a general agreement between us that the organic version tastes much better (e.g. bananas). Or it's my birthday, when I pretty much do what I want.

So here they are, in all their glory:

The Dirty Dozen 2011 (in alphabetical order)
  • Apples
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Celery
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

The Clean 15 2011 (in alphabetical order)
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon

Check out the Environmental Working Group's website for more information:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Autumn Salad

Sweet fruit and toasted nuts give this colorful salad a host of flavors to enjoy.

  •  Lettuce of your choice (I recommend baby romaine or mesclun greens)
  • 1 Sweet red apple (gala or fuji), sliced thin
  • a few handfulls of pecan halves, toasted
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced
  • Red onion, sliced thin (to taste - use as much or as little as you like)
  • a few handfulls of raisins
Once you have all your ingredients washed and chopped just mix it together in a big bowl, and enjoy with your favorite dressing!

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar accompany this salad well. Or make your own dressing - Mint-Shallot Vinaigrette. (recipe tbd)

Tips for variations:
  1. Instead of an apple, try a sweet red anjou pear.

  2. Swap out the pecans and replace with walnuts.

  3. Sub out the raisins with currants or chopped dates.

  4. Add some chopped fresh figs if they are in season.

  5. Replace the grape tomatoes with heirloom cherry tomatoes.

  6. If you eat some grassfed, organic dairy, add some brie or soft goat cheese.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

Mmmm... brussel sprouts! I don't know why, but brussel sprouts have a bad rap.
This is a real quick, down and dirty post that comes more from general knowledge than an actual formal recipe. If you know how to roast one vegetable you can roast them all. It's really more the method that counts. You can use this same recipe interchangeably for asparagus, broccoli/cauliflower, sweet potatoes, etc etc etc.

With brussel sprouts in particular, though, it's important you get them to caramelize being they're a nice hardy vegetable filled with natural sugars just ACHING to come out. When the heat evaporates enough water out of your sprouts, the natural sugars begins to rise. When those sugars are heated past a certain temperature, they brown (as you can see in the photo above) which means the sugars break down and form those complex and delicious flavors transforming a scary brussel sprout into vegetable candy.


- 1lb brussel sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
- 1-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- kosher/sea salt
- pepper

Rinse brussel sprouts thoroughly to get the dirt off and pull off any icky brown leaves. Trim off protruding stems and cut larger sprouts in half lengthwise (leave the tiny ones whole for even cooking) and arrange in a roasting pan (or baking dish).

Drizzle EVOO on top (enough to get good coverage so they don't dry out). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix around to coat the brussel sprouts in oil mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes, until caramelized and tender. Make sure you stir periodically and add more oil as needed to ensure they don't dry out or stick to the bottom and burn.

Tips for variations:
  1. Try mixing in a few cloves of chopped garlic to the pan. 
  2. Try melted coconut oil instead of olive oil.
  3. Brussel sprouts also come out delicious if you want to saute them on the stove in a good quality nonstick pan on medium-high heat. You would coat the pan generously with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Cook them babies 'til they're caramelized.
  4. Try chopping up a few strips of bacon and shallots and sauteing them in a pan to add to your sprouts (cook first the bacon, remove, then cook the shallots). You can cook the sprouts in the same pan on the stove, or roast separately in the oven. Cooking everything in the same pan will allow the sprouts to soak up that bacon flavor, though. mmmm... bacon
  5. You could braise your sprouts on the stove by sauteeing some sliced onion and garlic in a large french oven or stock pot, then adding a cup or two of beef or chicken stock, salt and pepper, and the sprouts. Simmer until soft.

Salmon with Tangy Spinach and Lemon

Now begins the arduous process of transferring all my recipes over from FaceBook to the blog, but here goes. This was one of the first recipes I made the first week I went Paleo. I saw something similar in Everyday Food magazine and modified it by swapping out the type of greens. I hadn't been the hugest fan of salmon before, mostly favoring tilapia up until that point but I don't think I've eaten tilapia since!

This recipe has very few ingredients and very few steps. It's a great quick weeknight meal. It's also ridiculously healthy with the salmon being rich in those heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and dark leafy greens considered a superfood - bursting with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and cancer-preventing folic acid. mmmm... folic acid

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 bags baby spinach (or mixed greens like spinach/kale/swiss chard/collard - yum!)
  • 1 lb wild salmon (a full steak, or individual filets)
  • kosher/sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper

1. Thinly slice off both ends of one lemon and cut into 4-6 thin slices. Reserve enough lemon to squeeze about 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice at the end.

2. In a large saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until golden brown.

3. Stir in spinach (or mixed greens) and 1/3 cup water. Arrange salmon on top; season with salt and pepper. Cover salmon with lemon slices. Cover, and cook until salmon is opaque throughout (10-15min).

4. Transfer salmon to a plate. Stir lemon juice into spinach (or mixed greens) mixture and serve with salmon.

Look Ma, I'm Blogging!

When I started Paleo back in late 2010, I used FaceBook notes to store all my recipes and share them with my friends who were also struggling to adapt to Paleo living. I’ve put so many recipes up, though, it’s getting tough to search back through them.

What I’m saying is, I’ve finally outgrown FaceBook. It’s bloggerin’ time.

As you read in my “About” page, I’m no Paleo Betty Crocker. I put up recipes I’ve tried and I’ve liked and note any changes I made or difficulties I ran into purely to spread the Paleo love. Most recipes I’ve found elsewhere, but occasionally I do whip one up on my own. I always give credit where credit is due, though.

So be kind. I’m not a professional chef, I’m not a nutritionist - hell, I’m not even that funny. I cook. I eat. That’s it.