Cookbook Challenge Week 2: Paleo Comfort Foods

I’m back with week 2 of my self-imposed cookbook challenge (check out week 1 here).  I have to say it’s been fun exploring my Paleo/Primal cookbooks and forcing myself to plan a week’s worth of meals for the fam.

This week I went with Paleo Comfort Foods, and according to my hubby, ‘this is the best one yet!’  I’m sure that it helps being ‘comfort foods’ as the title implies, but has me wondering if the food is too comfortable (in my belly).  That’s okay because it had me making dishes I had heard of but never had the desire to try on my own.

Week 2 looked like this.  (I apologize for the pic-it’s hard to snap a photo without flash on a glaring dry erase board).

The verdict is, I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out and how close to the ‘originals’ they were.  I never would have dreamed of making Paleo Shrimp and Grits with cauliflower or eating gluten and grain-free biscuits and gravy.  Needless to say, it was a very comforting week.  The one thing I didn’t like about this cookbook, is that they don’t give you the cook time, prep time, nor serving size.  It wasn’t on my radar until I was asked by a friend to post them on my recipes page.  So bear with me as I guesstimate on all three of those…I hope it will help make your life a little easier.

Breakfast

Morning Glory Muffins

  • 2 ½ cups (375 g) almond flour
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups (100 g) carrots, grated
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 cup (75 g) shredded coconut
  • 1 cup (150 g) raisins (I used golden)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 TBSP honey (optional)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F (175°C) and grease a standard-sized muffin pan (or use silicone baking cups).

2. Combine almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add carrot, apple, coconut and raisins and combine well.

3. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, oil and vanilla extract together.

4. Pour this mixture over your dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in orange zest. This batter will be very thick.

5. *Spoon out into muffin pan and place on middle or upper rack of your oven for 40-50 minutes for large muffins, 20-30 minutes for smaller muffins.

6. When a toothpick inserted in the top of a muffin comes out clean, they are done.

7. Cool muffins in pan for 8-10 minutes and then remove to a rack to finish cooling. I betcha can’t eat just one!

Variations–You can also replace raisins with a cup of chopped dates. This batter can also be used to make a morning glory loaf. This will make one really large loaf, or two smaller loaves. Just increase your baking time to approximately 45-60 minutes.

Tips & Tricks–The smaller you can grate the carrot/apple the better. *These muffins tend to end up a bit moister if you allow the batter to sit for 30-60 minutes before spooning into the muffin pan.

Crustless Quiche

  • 12 large eggs
  • ½ cup (75 g) almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ (120 g) cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup (150 g) onions, chopped
  • 1 cup (30 g) spinach, rinsed
  • ½ cup (90 g) red bell pepper, diced small
  • ½ cup (90 g) green bell pepper, diced small
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 45-50 minutes, Serves: 4-5

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs together until slightly foamy. Stir in the almond flour and baking powder.

3. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter, then add in the onions and spinach, cooking until onions are translucent. Mix in the peppers and any other vegetable of your choosing.

4. Stir the veggie/butter mixture into the eggs, and pour the contents into a greased 9 inch x 13 inch (23 cm x 33 cm) baking dish, and top with pepper.

5. Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Variations–You can alter this some by marinating some steak (of your choosing) in Chipotle Dipping Sauce and browning that in the pan to mix in with the eggs. Or, mix in some sausage to the eggs, and top the frittata with some.

Sawmill Gravy (&) Biscuits

  • 1 pound (450 g) ground pork or turkey sausage
  • 1 TBSP almond flour
  • 1 TBSP arrowroot powder
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ cup (125 mL) chicken stock (if needed)

Basic Biscuits (below)

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 20-30 minutes, Serves: 3-4

1. Sauté sausage in large skillet until completely cooked. Remove sausage from pan, saving about 1-2 TBSP of the drippings from the sausage. Keep these drippings in the pan.

2. Add the almond flour and arrowroot powder to the skillet, and whisk with the sausage fat over medium-low heat, until a paste is formed, working to scrape up some of the sausage drippings.

3. Pour in about ¼ of the coconut milk, the sage, and paprika at this point, and bring to medium heat, stirring often and scraping up the browned sausage bits.

4. Add the remaining coconut milk, stirring as you go,and bring to light simmer. Add sausage back in, and simmer until gravy reaches desired thickness.

5. If gravy becomes too thick, thin out with some of the chicken stock.

6. Pour over biscuits sliced in half and serve.

Basic Biscuits

  • 6 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup (40 g) coconut flour
  • ¾ cup (120 g) blanched almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ TBSP grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • dash of salt (optional)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 12-15 minutes, Makes: 6-8 biscuits

1. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are very frothy.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the two flours and baking powder, and then with a knife or fork, cut in the cold butter (or coconut oil) and add salt if using. You want to make a crumbly mixture. Let this sit in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).

4. Remove flour/butter mixture from refrigerator, and gently fold in the egg whites, stirring to combine.

5. Spoon the biscuit batter onto a greased sheet pan or into muffin tins.

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Lunch/Dinner

Monday: Leftover Chicken Scramble

  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (150 g) onion, chopped
  • ½ cup (75 g) green or red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups (500 g) broccoli slaw
  • 3 cups (600 g) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound (450 g) chicken, cooked and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 15-20 minutes, Serves: 4-5

1. Heat coconut oil in medium skillet over medium heat and sauté garlic, onions, and peppers until onions are translucent.

2. Add broccoli slaw and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until slaw is somewhat softened.

3. Add the chicken, black and cayenne peppers.

4. Stir and reduce heat to simmer for another 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Tuesday: Paleo Shrimp and Grits

  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ cup (125 g) celery, diced
  • ½ cup (75 g) red or green pepper, diced
  • ½ cup (50 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup (75 g) green onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning (see below)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (450 g) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 TBSP almond flour
  • 2 TBSP sherry (you can buy cooking sherry in the kitchen isle)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Cajun seasoning

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 45-50 minutes, Serves: 4-5

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels.

2. Pour off the bacon grease, reserving about 1 TBSP in the pan.

3. Return pan to heat, and add celery, green onion, red pepper, and mushrooms, cooking until vegetables are softened. Add Cajun seasoning and stir.

4. In a medium bowl, coat the shrimp with the almond flour. Add to pan along with garlic, and sauté until shrimp are just pink.

5. Stir in sherry, chicken stock and lemon juice, being sure to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.

6. Simmer for 5-8 minutes to reduce liquid.

7. Serve shrimp over Paleo Grits.

Paleo Grits

  • 4 cups cauliflower, riced (1 head)
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 45-50 minutes, Serves: 4-5

1. Mix cauliflower, almond meal, and chicken stock over medium heat in large sauce pan.

2. Cover and reduce heat to medium/medium-low, simmering for 20 minutes–stirring every 5 minutes or so–until the liquid is absorbed. (If it’s still not soaking in, raise the temperature a little and remove the lid).

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday: Eat out/leftovers

Thursday: Bangers and Mash

  • 4 large sausages (pork, turkey, or chicken)
  • 1 TBSP olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup (125 g) mushrooms
  • ½ TBSP almond flour
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) chicken or beef stock
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Mashed Cauliflower (below)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 45-50 minutes, Serves: 4-5

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sear sausages on each side until browned.

2. Add enough water to cover sausage ¾ of the way, and continue cooking until cooked through and water has cooked off.

3. Remove sausages to plate.

4. Add oil, onions, and mushrooms to same pan, scraping up bits from sausages.

5. Cook until onions are translucent and somewhat caramelized.

6. Add in flour, and stir, cooking 3-4 minutes.

7. Add in stock and balsamic vinegar.

8. Add sausages back to onion/mushroom mixture.

9. Server over Mashed Cauliflower.

Friday: Fish Tacos

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1-2 pounds (450-900 g) wild-caught fish of your choice–mahimahi, grouper, red snapper, cod, etc., cut into no bigger than 4-inch (10 cm) pieces
  • 1 TBSP avocado or coconut oil
  • 1 heat Bibb, iceberg or romaine lettuce, rinsed with leaves kept whole

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes, Cook Time: 10-15 minutes, Serves: 4-5

1. Combine the olive oil, ancho chili powder, lime juice, cumin, and jalapeño in a large bowl.

2. Toss the fish into the marinade, and let sit for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add avocado or coconut oil.

4. Add the fish, cooking about 5 minutes per side or until fish is flaky.

5. Break the fish into smaller, bite-sized pieces, and server with coleslaw, cilantro, tomatoes, and Chipotle Dipping Sauce (below).

Chipotle Dipping Sauce (aka Adobo Sauce)

  • ½ cup (125 mL) Paleo Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup (12 g) cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • juice of 1 lime

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

1. Combine all ingredients in a mini-blender or food processor until well mixed.

2. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Ingredient Notes–Chipotles (smoked jalapeños) in adobo (sauce) are found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores and at any Mexican mercados. Just check the ingredients, as some use less-than-ideal oils and others actually contain wheat flour. La Morena is a good brand.

Saturday: South of the Border Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound (900 g) ground turkey or turkey sausage
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • ½ cup (100 g) tomatoes, chopped

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 45-60 minutes, Serves: 2-3

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).

2. Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and pulp. Place facedown in a baking pan, with about ¼ inch water.

3. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until squash are soft.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add in oil, and when hot stir in onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent, being careful not to burn garlic.

5. Stir in peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes longer.

6. Add in turkey and spices and brown until turkey is cooked through.

7. Strain off any excess liquid from the turkey, and stir in tomatoes, heating through.

8. Pour out any of the water in the pan with the squash, and place faceup. Fill with turkey mixture and served, topped with your favorite salsa.

Variations–ground chicken, ground beef, ground bison, or even just some chopped-up chicken breasts would be fantastic alternatives for this recipe.

Sunday: Farmer’s Pie

  • 1 TBSP coconut or avocado oil
  • ¼ cup (50 g) fresh chopped garlic
  • 2 pounds (900 g) ground lamb (beef, deer, bison, or turkey)
  • 2 cups (300 g) onions chopped
  • 2 cups (250 g) carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 cups (1 L) canned tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) Mashed Cauliflower (about 3 head’s worth)

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 30-40 minutes, Serves: 6-8

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Heat a large skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add the oil and once hot, stir in the garlic, being careful not to burn.

3. Add in the lamb and stir, combining with the garlic. Cook until the meat is browned.

4. Remove the lamb/garlic mixture from the pan, then add in the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and thyme.

5. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots and celery softened.

6. Add the meat mixture back into the pan, and stir in the tomatoes, and Worcestershire and bring to a simmer.

7. Pour meat/vegetable mixture into a 9″ x 13″ (23 cm x 33 cm) baking pan, and with a rubber spatula spread a layer of the mashed cauliflower over the top, forming a solid layer of the mash.

8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the mashed cauliflower is slightly browned on top.

9. Enjoy!

Mashed Cauliflower

  • 1 head of fresh cauliflower
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • ½ or 1 clove garlic, crushed

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes, Cook Time: 20 minutes, Serves: 2-3

1. Cut your cauliflower head into small chunks of the florets and stem.

2. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to medium heat, and cover, allowing to cook for 20 minutes or so until cauliflower is very tender and easily mashed with a fork. You may need to add more stock if everything is dried up…or if you have a lot of liquid still remaining, pour most of it off into a bowl and reserve. Much better to start with too little liquid than too much (you can always add more if needed). Cauliflower holds a ton of liquid, so start with less than you think necessary.

4. Carefully pour cauliflower and all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, or keep in pan and use an immersion blender or hand mixer to mash. If the mashed cauliflower seems too dry, add in some of the reserved liquid or additional chicken stock.

Variations–Add some roasted garlic and rosemary, or try smoked paprika, or go with crumbled up bacon and fresh chopped chives. If you want a kick, opt for some horseradish or wasabi. Maybe a drizzle of olive oil and fresh chopped basil? Putting in a few tablespoons of butter helps make them really creamy. You can also do a combination of turnips and cauliflower (the turnips add a little sweetness)!

Ingredient Notes–Pre-bagged fresh or frozen cauliflower works just fine for this one.

Treat: Strawberry Shortcakes

  • 16 ounces (450 g) fresh strawberries
  • 1-2 tsp honey (optional)
  • 2 cups (300 g) blanched almond flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 TBSP cold grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 15-20 minutes, Serves: 5-6

1. Wash, hull, and slice the strawberries as small as you desire.

2. Mix in a bowl together with honey, if desired, to somewhat macerate the strawberries.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

4. Line a sheet pan with some parchment paper (or use a silicone baking sheet).

5. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Using a fork or knife, cut the butter into the almond flour to form and mix, so that you’ve formed some small beads of the butter in the dough.

6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.

7. Using a spoon or measuring cup, drop the dough onto the sheet pan into 8 evenly sized cakes, leaving room in between each cake.

8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

9. Allow cakes to cool, then slice horizontally, and spoon some of the strawberry mixture into the middle, and some extra on the side.

Variation--If you are allowing dairy into your life, whip up some fresh cream and serve it on these. Delish!

Whew!  That was a crazy week of comfort cooking and I’m looking forward to this coming week with Sarah Fragoso’s new Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook-yes, I’m finally busting it out.

What’s on your menu for the week or have you planned it yet?  Did you do anything fun this weekend to get out and enjoy this gorgeous weather or are you a homebody?  We went to the Dallas Farmer’s Market and discovered yet another local Rancher, where we can get some grass-fed beef that’s close to home.

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