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
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
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.

March 23, 2017

Spinach Pesto Shrimp

I got my most recent Cooking Light magazine and found a recipe for Spinach Pesto Pasta. Since my mom loves shrimp, I figured I'd use the pound of shrimp I had in the freezer to adapt this recipe to fit my Whole 30.

I'm excited to use the rest of the pesto, and I enjoyed this recipe more than I expected. I like shrimp, but I'm not completely confident in my ability to prepare it myself.

Spinach Pesto Shrimp
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of cayenne

To prepare pesto, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add spinach and basil. Cook 20 seconds, remove and place immediately in an ice water bath. Let stand 30 second to cool, and then remove. Pat dry with toweling. Combine all pesto ingredients together in a blender, and process until well combined.

To prepare shrimp, heat olive oil and butter together over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add shrimp, and season immediately with black pepper, salt and cayenne. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Add in about 1/4 of the pesto, reserving the rest for other recipes. Toss to coat with halved cherry tomatoes to serve. Serves 2 (at least if you're like my mom and I who easily can eat a half pound of shrimp).

Sheet Pan Steak & Veggies

I've never done a sheet pan meal before this week, but apparently they're a thing where you cook your entire meal on a single sheet pan. Wait, do nachos count?

The idea is you have a quick meal without a lot of dishes. I tried this version from Damn Delicious, adding in a handful of asparagus I had and an onion.

The verdict? Tasty and fast, especially if you prep all the veggies ahead of time. Here's my adaptation.

Sheet Pan Steak & Veggies
2 pounds baby red potatoes
16 ounces broccoli florets
8 oz. asparagus
1 red onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds (1-inch-thick) steak, patted dry

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large pot of water, cook potatoes until parboiled, about 12-15 minutes. Drain well, and cut into quarters.

Place all the vegetables on a large baking sheet, and toss with olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are close to done.

Season steaks with additional salt and pepper. Add to baking sheet.

Turn oven to broil, and broil steaks for 4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. (You might need to remove some veggies a bit early or cook some steaks a bit longer depending on personal preferences. Serves 4.

March 15, 2017

Breakfast Sausage

Last weekend I made breakfast sausage from scratch. Well, I didn't raise a hog, butcher it and use my own meat. But I bought the ground meat at the store and seasoned it myself. That's about the easiest way to find breakfast sausage that fits the bill for Whole 30.

I used this recipe from Wellness Mama as my starting point and made a few adaptations in my version. The mixture of pork and chicken turned out perfectly for me without pools of grease or any dryness. The end result was really tasty ... not as good as Smith Brothers in Colby, WI or Maplewood Meats outside of Green Bay, but it's really hard to compete with those.

Breakfast Sausage
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground chicken
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried ground sage
1/4 tsp. dried fennel, crushed
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powde
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. teaspoon dried thyme
A dash of cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients together, and mix well. Shape into patties of desired size (mixture will be sticky) and pan fry until done, flipping once.

Note: To freeze, place shaped patties on parchment paper, and freeze until solid. Then you can transfer individual patties into a storage bag. Thaw, and cook.

This made approximately 18-20 patties.