April 18, 2017

Smokey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This recipe from Meals Made Simple is my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. It involves no added sugar and makes sweet potatoes, which are usually not my favorite, one of my favorite lunches. Here's the adapted version I make for one large serving or two normal side servings.

Smoky Roasted  Sweet Potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 piece of bacon
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, tossing to coat. Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Toss ingredients together to coat potatoes with bacon grease. Continue baking an additional 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp.

Note: I find it works well if the bacon is still slightly frozen. Otherwise, the bacon tends to get a bit too crispy before the sweet potatoes.

April 13, 2017

Banana Bread Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Muffins

These muffins from Bakers Royale are incredibly delicious, probably made more so by depriving myself of sugar with mostly Whole 30 eating. The author modified a recipe from Simply Recipes to create these muffins rather than a loaf.

I thought my 5-year-old son would absolutely love these because baking banana bread is his thing, with his secret ingredient of chocolate chips. He enjoyed these but wasn't head over heels the way I was. The best part, obviously, is the peanut butter cup hidden inside.

Banana Bread Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Muffins
2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
12 mini peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash bananas, and mix with butter. Mix in the remaining ingredients, in the order listed, except the peanut butter cups. Line a muffin pan with 12 liners. Fill muffin liners about 1/3 of the way with batter, and then top with a peanut butter cup. Divide the remaining batter evenly among the liners, covering the peanut butter cup.

Bake about 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes, and then remove from pan to cool completely. Makes 12 muffins.

April 4, 2017

Barbacoa

Barba-what? It's some sort of delicious meat, loaded with Mexican flavors. (Or at least what I think of as Mexican flavors.) It has a bit too much spice for our children, but I could still enjoy it even without sour cream to cool the heat. My husband loved it ... granted, he probably thought it was really flavorful but had no heat. We're completely different on our spice preferences.

This will be a repeat for tacos, burritos, burrito bowls and the likes. Gimme Some Oven did well with this recipe, and it's extremely easy thanks to the slow cooker doing the work.

Barbacoa
3 lbs. chuck roast (fat trimmed), cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
1 small white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 cup beef broth or water

Combine all ingredients together in a slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours until the beef is so tender that it easily shreds with a fork. Shred the beef, and let it stand in the juices for at least 10 minutes to absorb them. Serve with desired toppings. (Leftovers freeze well for later use.)

Asian Burgers

So I think this is my second-favorite Whole 30 entree, ranking right up there by the beloved Prosciutto Chicken. (For Whole 30, I omit the cheese, and it's still insanely delicious. I modified this recipe from Bev Cooks, and we're already planning to eat it a second night this week. It's plenty fast for a weeknight meal, cooking in about 20 minutes with about 20 minutes of prep earlier in the day.

I struggle with the idea of a traditional burger while eating Whole 30 because that means no bun, which is meh because wrapping lettuce around a burger is not the same. I've come as far as accepting no bun, but I really can't accept no cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce because then, seriously, what's the point? So I've looked for alternatives to burgers that are different enough to trick my mind into being satisfied. The taco sliders I've made are a solid choice, but these are phenomenal.

There's so much flavor in the burger itself, and the mushroom saute compliments it perfectly. My husband does not know what he's missing out on without the sauce, which is as close to the icing on the cake as I'll get during Whole 30.

Asian Burgers
Burgers
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. freshly minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos (or 1 Tbsp. soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. freshly minced cilantro
1 scallion, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pinch freshly ground pepper
Mushroom Saute 
5 oz sliced mushrooms, chopped (I used Oyster)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. minced cilantro
2 tsp. coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. olive oil (I'd omit this next time)
4 tsp. sesame oil
1 pinch salt and pepper
Sauce
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. freshly minced cilantro

Everything can be prepped ahead of time, so your flavors can develop all day while you eat truffles and relax ... or chase children if you're me.

Combine all burger ingredients together, and stir with your hands to combine. Cover, and chill until ready to grill.

Combine all mushroom ingredients together, and chill until ready to saute.

Combine all sauce ingredients together, and chill until ready to slather on delicious burgers.

Grill burgers (or cook using desired method). While burgers are cooking, saute mushroom mixture over medium heat until mushrooms are slightly golden. (I sauteed the entire time the burgers were cooking, adjusting the heat as needed.) Serve burgers topped with mushroom mixture and sauce. (And buns unless you're avoiding carbs.) Makes 4 burgers.


March 30, 2017

Meatloaf Meatballs

I tried another recipe from Meals Made Simple to give us some variety on our Whole 30 journey. I followed the recipe mostly as it was written, including the honey in the sauce. I considered omitting it since this is the first sweetener I've used, so it's technically not Whole 30. I thought it was more important that I figure out whether the recipe worked for my family than potentially turn us off it because I didn't include the honey.

My one son loves meatballs, and he enjoyed these. I cooked them in the slow cooker, and they were extremely moist but were falling apart. I'm going to try baking them in the oven tonight and see if they hold up slightly better.

The taste resembles a meatloaf, and the recipe made a huge batch, so we have another meal or two in the freezer yet. I really liked the sauce, so I'm glad I went with the addition of the honey.

Meatloaf Meatballs
Sauce
2 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. allspice
Meatballs
1 large Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
3 lbs. ground beef

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Reserve 3/4 cup of sauce, and place the rest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then simmer uncovered on medium-low heat to thicken.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Place the onion, carrot and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped (or finely if you need to make sure your kids will eat the onion). Add remaining ingredients except the meat, including the reserved 3/4 cup sauce. Pulse to combine. Stir into the meat, and mix with your hands.

Shape meatballs into a golf ball size. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve warm with thickened sauce.

Note: These can be cooked in the slow cooker with the sauce on top. Cook on high for 2 hours, and then reduce to low for 4 hours. (My guess is you could get by without this long of a cooking time in the slow cooker.)

Note: This makes a lot of meatballs. For convenience, place extras on a lined baking sheet, and freeze. Then place in a storage bag in the freezer. Place in the refrigerator to thaw the day before baking. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before baking or adjust baking times slightly.