I’ll admit that I go through food phases. For a while I was all about grilling chicken thighs and I’m pretty sure I ate that every day for lunch and sometimes dinner for a good couple of months. In the winter I get on a comfort food kick and make meatloaf, chili, and stew every week (or so it seems). As the season changes from winter to spring and back to winter again because Mother Nature can’t seem to make up her mind in Indiana, I find myself wanting spaghetti (or maybe its simply because my race season has started and I always want spaghetti when I’m running.) Either way – I’ve been playing around with using spaghetti squash, zucchini, and yellow squash as my noodles. But all in all, it is the same variation of the same thing – squash noodles and sauce on top. Then my friend sent me a link for baked pizza spaghetti pie. I thought I could do something like this but make it more like baked spaghetti and less like pizza plus add in my own favorite things. It makes a ton and I plan on eating it for lunch every day this week so I suppose I’ll share the rest with my husband so it won’t go to waste. Enjoy!
1 large (or 2 small) spaghetti squash
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup mushrooms (your choice of kid), sliced
1 small can black olives, sliced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup – spaghetti sauce (no sugar added, I used Classico)
4 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish, or I used a 2 quart dish which is a 7×11, either one will do, and set aside.
2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and threading. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the skin of the squash gives when you press on it.
3. Using a fork, shred the squash into a large bowl and set aside.
4. Place a large pan over medium heat. Add ground beef, bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion. Cook until pink no longer remains in the beef and it is broken up into pieces. Add in olives and mix together.
5. Combine the beef mixture with the spaghetti squash in the bowl. Add 1 cup of spaghetti sauce, salt and pepper. Finally, add whisked eggs to the baking dish and mix everything together until you can no longer see the eggs.
6. Evenly distribute the mixture into your baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until a slight crust forms on top of your baked spaghetti. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
So today was the last day of ISTEP+ (or at least the first round of them) and I was looking to indulge a bit. Yes, some days I can be an emotional eater. I was looking forward to the rest of my fruit salad but with a whole lot of coconut whipped cream on top (more whipped cream and less fruit if you know what I mean). But the whipped cream alone just wasn’t going to cut it tonight. I wanted something more. So I pulled some staples from my pantry and made a delicious topping for my whipped cream that tastes oh so sinful but it’s really not that bad for you at all. I got this recipe from my friend, Z. You can find the original recipe here. It is so simple and it really takes your dessert to that next level. Enjoy!
4. Next put the almonds in the pan and toast until slightly brown – again keep a close eye on them because they also toast quickly!
5. Add the toasted almonds to the coconut flake mixture and toss.
6. Allow to cool, then store.
I’m a huge proponent of eating clean (when you can) and staying on a budget. Let’s face it, eating healthy can be expensive. Produce isn’t always cheap and because it can go bad, you are always stocking up your fridge for the week. The key to saving money is finding the produce that is on sale and buying that for the week. I used to just buy whatever I wanted for each week but when my grocery bills were exceeding $100 (for just 2 people), I was thinking my spending was getting out of hand. PLUS, I was throwing some stuff away because I just couldn’t eat it fast enough. Now that I’ve eliminated a bunch of things from my nutrition like dairy, legumes, and gluten (not for the trend but for health reasons), I find I’m able to eat more produce because I don’t have as many choices to choose from.
Anyway – Kroger was having this great sale on produce: Pineapples – $1.00, Strawberry Papayas – 2 for $5.00, 5-lb. bag Blood Oranges – $2.99, and Raspberries 2 pints – $5.00. I also picked up a package of pre-sliced mangos for $4.99 (that wasn’t really bargain shopping but I LOVE mangoes and they were really ripe this week so I couldn’t pass it up). So I picked up all of these things, took them home, chopped them up into bit-sized pieces and made myself this super delicious tropical fruit salad. To take this fruit salad to the next level, I whipped up some super easy coconut whipped cream. Yes – you really can make whipped cream from canned coconut milk. It just takes a little bit of planning and a few minutes and you are all set.
1 can coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional – if you like it to be a tad sweeter)
1. Place a metal mixing bowl in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Place your coconut milk in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight if you really like to plan ahead. This ensures that the cream separates from the liquid.
2. Separate the solid cream from the liquid. Save the liquid for later or pour over your fruit salad to act as a liquid. In your metal mixing bowl, add the solid coconut cream and vanilla extract (and powdered sugar if you are using it). Mix with an electric mixer on high for 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed through and it has a creamy consistency.
3. Add a huge dollop to your fruit salad and enjoy!
The actual fruit salad ingredients with their prices
1 small pineapple – $1.00
2 strawberry papayas – $5.00
1 container pre-sliced mangos – $4.99
1 pint raspberries – $2.50
2 blood oranges – $.74 (8 oranges for $2.99 = $0.37 an orange)
1 can coconut milk – $2.89
Total – $17.12
Makes about 10 servings (perfect for breakfast and lunch sides) = $1.71 per serving
Do you ever have those days where you simply crave something from your childhood? That is exactly what happened to me. Most of the time people crave some type of comfort food like mom’s mac & cheese or meatloaf or even an apple pie. But today, that wasn’t the case. Today I was seriously craving something Asian and not your average run of the mill Chinese takeout (which is completely Americanized). I wasn’t something that you really can’t get at a restaurant. You can only get it from someone’s house who knows how to cook authentic Asian cuisine. Since my mom lives in Pennsylvania and I live in Indiana, my only solution was to call her up on the phone, ask her what I needed, and take a trip to the local Asia Mart.
The freshness from the lemongrass make this probably one of the most popular Thai soups out there. And if you really want to eat it authentically, you pour a little on your jasmine rice as flavoring. But if you don’t eat grains, you can eat a big bowl of this broth-y soup either with your meal or as a light meal by itself. Due to the pungent flavor of the lime leaves and lemongrass, this soup is perfect for all seasons. It’s a refreshing summer soup but since it’s hot it makes a great winter treat too! I’ve made it with shrimp but my mom said you can also make it with chicken if you’d prefer.
For any of you who do Whole30 or follow the Paleo diet, I’ve made sure that this recipe is 100% compliant. Enjoy!
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
4-inch piece of tender lemongrass, roughly chopped (you don’t want to eat this)
1-2 limes, freshly squeezed to taste
6 tablespoons fish sauce (I use Red Boat which doesn’t have sugar)
1-2 small fresh red or green chilies, roughly chopped (optional – I don’t like the heat so I don’t use them)
16 straw mushrooms, cut in half (canned mushrooms will do)
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1. In a pot, heat the stock and add the lime leaves, lemongrass, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and chilies (if you are using them). At this point I would taste the broth to determine if it has enough lemon/lime flavor to the broth. If not – add more lime juice. Bring it to a boil and simmer for two minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and shrimp and cook for a further two to three minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Be sure not to overcook your shrimp!
2. Pour into soup bowls and serve.
Well Fed is probably one of my favorite paleo cookbooks out there right now. If I’m in a pinch, I will grab this cookbook and see what I have on hand in my pantry, freezer, and fridge. Usually I can scramble something decent enough to make for dinner. I have made her Czech meatballs before and there were awesome but I didn’t have any ground pork in my freezer. So I decided to start substituting and I made these delicious little gems.
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
3 teaspoons Lawhorne’s Seasoning
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix in Lawhorne’s seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, parsley, mustard, and egg with a fork until combined. With your hands, crumble the ground lamb and ground beef into the bowl and knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Using a cookie scoop (roughly a tablespoon or 2), scoop out your meatball mix and place into a glass baking dish. I recommend doing this all at once before rolling them into balls with your hands to keep the messiness to a minimum. Moisten your hands with water and shake to remove excess. Roll the preformed meatball into a ball and line them up about 1/2 inch apart in your baking dish.
- Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
My husband has been begging me to make biscuits and gravy for him for who knows how long. I have resisted making them because I can’t eat biscuits and I can’t eat the gravy that goes on them. So really, why would I waste all that precious prep and cook time in the kitchen to make something that smells delicious but then I can’t eat it. Exactly – you see my point.
Enter in gluten free Bisquick. Normally a large box of Bisquick is pretty cheap but as most of you know, nothing gluten free is ever cheap. A small box of gluten free Bisquick runs about $4.59 at Walmart. Now, could I make homemade gluten free biscuits on my own? Sure. Do I want to? Not particularly. So in this instance, I completely justified using a pre-made box mix to help me out and save me some time. Can you blame me?
To make the biscuits, all you have to do is follow the directions on the box. It really is that simple. Now that we have gotten over that part, it is time to move onto the delicious sausage gravy that you generously dump all over the biscuits. My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it.
1 pound ground pork or turkey
1 tablespoon almond flour/meal
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 can coconut milk
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup chicken stock (if needed)
salt & pepper to taste
- Saute the sausage in a large skillet until completely cooked. Remove sausage from the pan, saving about 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the sausage. Keep these drippings in the pan.
- 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. Be careful not to burn this. Patience is a virtue in this case.
- Pour in about 1/4 of the coconut milk, the sage, and paprika at this time and bring it up to medium heat, stirring often. It is key to get all of those delicious browned sausage bits into your gravy.
- Add the remaining coconut milk, stirring as you go to avoid lumps, and bring to a light simmer. Add your sausage back in, and simmer until gravy reaches your desired thickness. If your gravy becomes too thick for your liking, add some chicken stock to thin it out.
- Generously pour over your sliced biscuits and serve.
So this year I made pumpkin custard which literally was like pumpkin pie filling in a dish rather than in a crust baked in a water bath. Since I only made 4 custards, I was left with some extra pumpkin custard filling. Not being one to waste things, I decided to bake some muffins (which could easily be pumpkin bread if you wanted). In fact – you could probably use this recipe and just omit the pumpkin custard if you wanted and just use the base recipe if you wanted. Either way – these turned out to be super tasty and I’ll be turning this into an after Thanksgiving tradition.
Yields 30 regular sized muffins or 2 loaves of bread
1 cup leftover pumpkin custard
1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar, granulated
1 cup sugar-free applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup oat flour
1 cup gluten-free baking flour
1 1/2 cups almond flour/meal
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your muffin tin or lightly grease your glass loaf pans.
- In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin custard, pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract. Set aside. In a larger bowl, thoroughly mix together all of the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring constantly.
- Once everything is mixed together, add the water and stir.
- Evenly distribute the batter into your muffin tins or loaf pans.
- If baking bread – cook for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- If baking muffins – cook for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.