Sweet and Sour Thai Stir Fry {PALEO}

What’s that you say?  Didn’t I promise this recipe like eight days ago?  Stop complaining!  This amazing stir fry is definitely worth the wait. and the good news is that it’s here NOW.

The idea is inspired from your typical Chinese Sweet and Sour dish, but I switched up the ingredients just a little bit to give more of a Thai inspired flavor; one that is complemented with fresh cilantro and toasted cashews.  You can use any meat you’d like in this recipe, I’ve tried pork and chicken and been happy with both.  Lastly, I’ve served this Sweet and Sour Thai Pork {PALEO} over cauli-rice and just in a bowl, either way it was yummy!  So, yes!  Without further ado: Sweet and Sour Thai Pork {PALEO}.

Quick and easy stir fry with Thai inspired flavors.

Sweet and Sour Thai Stir Fry {PALEO}

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 7 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the Stir Fry:

  • Paleo friendly oil of choice, I used coconut oil
  • 1 – 1.5 pounds chicken, pork or beef, chopped for stir fry
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped,
  • 1 small to medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 Cup chopped pineapple

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 Cup coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce if you prefer
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup tomato paste
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon Thai red curry paste, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, sub black if you don’t have white

Directions:

  1. Heat your oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Add the meat and let cook for about 3-4 minutes or until cooked.
  2. While the meat is cooking, mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.  Set it aside.
  3. Add the veggies and pineapple to the skillet or wok and stir fry for another minute or two.
  4. Add the sauce and make sure the ingredients are evenly coated.  Let it bubble a bit then remove the stir fry from the heat.
  5. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro and toasted cashews, if desired.  Enjoy!

 

Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}

I think I have a “life” post banging around in my head, but I’m not ready to write it, and moreover, I’m not sure this is the place to share. So there’s that. You know what else? Yesterday was my birthday! I think birthdays make for lots of introspection; thinking about the changes that took place over the year past, then thinking ahead to the next year. It’s not coincidence that my “life” post and my birthday intersect. And listening to Death Cab doesn’t do much to lift my mood either.

So, let’s do something about that, shall we? Talking about food always gets me excited and this dish is a new favorite around here!  Totally yummy Trader Joe's sausage.I found these amazing spicy Korean sausages at Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago and when I first picked them up I really had no idea what I would do with them. A day or two later I was in the kitchen, it was lunch time and I was on the verge of being hangry! Upon opening the refrigerator door lightening struck my brain and inspiration hit me and BAM! this meal was born: Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}. The flavors notes of cilantro, cool cabbage, sweet red pepper and nutty sesame make for a well balanced bowl that comes together quickly and tastes great. I’ve fed this one to many and I’m happy to finally get the recipe up for you to enjoy! Here it is: Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}

Yummy sasuage slaw!

Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 10 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
For the Slaw Mixture:

  • 2 spicy Asian style sausages, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 purple or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • ~ 2 cups coleslaw mix
  • ~ 1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • ~ 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • toasted cashews, for garnish

For the Dressing:  

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Sriracha, to taste

Directions:

  1. Grab a small skillet and heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the sausage, onions and red pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally.
  2. While the sausage is cooking, let’s make the dressing.  Using a large bowl mix together all of the dressing ingredients until combined.
  3. Add the cabbage, slaw mix and cilantro to the bowl with the dressing and stir everything together, making sure to coat the slaw.
  4. By now, the sausage and onions should be cooked through; you’re looking for a bit of browning on the sausage and the onions to become translucent and the peppers to be soft.
  5. Spoon the slaw into bowls, add the sausage mixture to the top and garnish with the cashews.
  6. Enjoy!

Notes:

This recipe easily doubles or triples, but tastes best fresh.  If you let it sit around the flavors muddle together and the cabbage becomes less crisp.

You could easily sub any protein of choice for the sausage.  I’ve used leftover steak and loved the result!

If you were really on the ball, you could add some freshly ground ginger to the dressing and fresh, minced garlic.  I was going for quick and easy.

 

Cherry Apricot Crusted Pork Chops {PALEO}

Yesterday was the most beautiful, gorgeous day we’ve had in awhile.  It was one of those days that help assure you that, yes, indeed, Spring will arrive and the days will warm up and the cherry blossoms will bloom and you won’t have to wear your big, poufy coat everywhere.

We spent this gift of a day car shopping.  Ugh…  But on the bright side, I was able to entertain the kiddos outside in the warmth while Murry dealt with the car sales man.  We didn’t leave with a new car, no, not this weekend.  But funny story, well sort of; sometime during or after the appraisal of our trade-in they lost the keys.  Seriously.  Oh, and it just so happens that we don’t have a spare.  Oops.  So, we have a loaner from the dealership until they can make a new key.  Can you believe that?

Anyway, snow is in the forecast for Tuesday.  Yup.

Here’s an easy, remind you of Spring, weekday meal: Cherry Apricot Crusted Pork Chops {PALEO} served with roasted asparagus.  The flavor nuances make this dish a little more complex that you might guess at first glance.  There’s a touch of mustard, maple syrup and the nutty richness of pecans.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

An easy paleo meal that is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.  Pork, dried cherries, apricots and pecans make this super tasty.

Cherry Apricot Crusted Pork Chops {PALEO}

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: active time: 10 minutes, bake time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops, about an inch to 1.5 inches thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon each Dijon mustard and maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup each dried cherries and dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat about 1 tablespoon of your favorite paleo friendly fat of choice in a large skillet over high heat.
  3. Add the pork chops to the skillet, taking care not to crown the pan, work in batches if you need to.  Sear 1-2 minutes per side.  Transfer the pork to a 9×13 baking pan.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the Dijon mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl, then lightly brush the pork chops with the mixture.
  5. Place the pork in your preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  6. While to pork chops are baking, process the dried fruit in your food processor by pulsing it about 10 times.  Add the chopped pecans to the dried fruit mixture.
  7. Pull the pork out, flip it over, then brush with any remaining mustard syrup mixture and press the dried fruit and pecans into the meat.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until done.
  8. Let the meat rest 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!


Tomato Sauce with Sausage {PALEO}

If, a few months back you would have told me would have ten snow days this winter, I probably would have laughed!  But here we sit, the boys and I are enjoying snow day number ten.  The school year has been extended to June 24, practically July.  Unbelievable.

Additionally unbelievable is the zeal with which this dinner was eaten, by the whole family, but especially my three-year-old.  I don’t think he even noticed that his “noodles” were green.  He effectively ruined the shirt he was wearing, but Eli was enjoying himself so; I let him go for it.

I remember my mom always making our pasta sauce growing up.  I paid attention and have continued the tradition.  I often make my tomato sauce helter-skelter, and it’s usually pretty good, but this time around it was great.  I even kept track of what I threw in the pot so I can share it with you.  Hooray!  Happy Monday and I hope you enjoy this Tomato Sauce with Sausage {PALEO}.

Delicious Paleo pasta dish with sausage and homemade sauce.

Tomato Sauce with Sausage {PALEO}

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: active time: 15 minutes, cook time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (no nitrate, nitrites, additives, etc.)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce (no sugar added)
  • 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes (no sugar added)
  • 1 Tablespoon basil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Brown the sausage in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. When the sausage is cooked through, remove it from the pan and set aside. Make sure to leave some fat in the pan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, cook until the onions become translucent and soft.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and spices.
  4. Stir the sausage back into the sauce.
  5. Bring to a simmer, let simmer for an hour or so, until thickened to preference.
  6. Serve over zucchini noodles (see below). Enjoy!

Notes:

You can do a quick internet search and find lots of different ways to prepare zucchini noodles.  This is what you need to know, in my opinion:

  1. A spiralizer or julienne peeler is essential.
  2. After turning your zucchini into noodles please, please, please let them sweat in a colander for 20 minutes.  Sweating is achieved by salting the noodles, tossing them about and letting the excess liquid release.
  3. One your noodles have completed the sweating process, rinse them and then do a through job drying them using a(lot) paper towel(s).
  4. Cook the noodles in dry skillet that’s been heated to medium high for 1-2 minutes.
  5. For best taste, turn the heat down to low and add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.  Stir the noodles gently to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.


Slow Cooker Carnitas {PALEO}

My husband loves carnitas.  When we lived in San Diego they were his go-to order at our hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint, and every time I tried his food I was left thinking, “What’s the big deal; why do so many people love carnitas??”  Since moving to the East Coast I took it upon myself to come up with the perfect carnitas recipe; for both of us.

So needless to say, coming to this carnitas recipe has been a labor of love.  I’ve tried half a dozen different recipes, used different cuts of pork, and experimented with multiple cooking techniques until finally turning out a real winner.  In the process I’ve learned a few things:

Pork tenderloin works well for carnitas, but it’s pricy.  Instead, pork shoulder roast makes a good choice and is more economical.  I used blade steak as well but found it to be too fatty (I could have trimmed excess fat a bit more I suppose).  The take home message here is: if you find a decent size piece of pork on sale you can turn it into carnitas.

My recipe requires you to first brown the meat then cook it in the slow cooker and finally, finish it in the broiler.  Maybe that’s more steps than is completely necessary, but browning the meat deepens the flavor and broiling gives you that crispy carnita goodness that makes carnitas THAT MUCH BETTER.  So do what you want, you can toss your meat into your slow cooker and walk away, but, in my opinion, the extra steps pay off in huge flavor.

Lastly, I found that keeping the ingredients simple and fresh makes all the difference in the outcome; fresh squeezed lime and orange juice, garlic instead of garlic powder, lots of salt…  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do: Slow Cooker Carnitas {PALEO}.

Paleo slow cooker carnitas that are easy to make and taste great!

Slow Cooker Carnitas {PALEO}

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: active time: 20 minutes, cook time: 4-6 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder roast, cut into steaks about 1 1/2 inches in thickness
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet to high heat.  Add about a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  2. Grab your pork.  Remember to cut it into 1 1/2 inch thick steaks.  Liberally salt and pepper the pork then add the steaks to your pre-heated pan making sure not to crowd the pan.  You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your skillet.  Cook about 4-5 minutes on each size until brown.  Repeat if you need to.
  3. Place the browned pork into the bottom of your slow cooker, set aside.
  4. Working with the same skillet, turn the heat down to medium.  If there isn’t much fat left from cooking the pork, add a little more.  Then add your sliced garlic to the pan.  Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.  You’re looking for the garlic to get a touch of color and start to shake and sizzle in the pan.
  5. Add the lime and orange juice to the pan, scraping up any burnt bits from the meat.
  6. Reduce the heat all the way to low, add the cumin.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  7. Dump the juices and garlic into the slow cooker.  Don’t worry if the pork isn’t completely covered.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours, high for 2-4 hours.
  8. When the meat is finished cooking, shred it.
  9. Turn your broiler on high.  Place the shredded meat into an oven safe skillet, or you can use a baking sheet.  Do your best to keep the liquid in the slow cooker before your broil the meat.
  10. Place the meat in the oven, broil for about five minutes, or until the meat gets crispy around the edges.  (I think my broiler might be a little on the slow side, so make sure to check on the carnitas regularly.)
  11. Serve and enjoy!

We eat our carnitas over cauli-rice or as tacos.  Garnish with fresh cilantro, tomato, avocado, onions, salsa…  Whatever you like!


Andouille Spaghetti Squash Pie {PALEO}

So I almost typed this recipe up as: Andouille Spaghetti Squash Pie with Caramelized Onions and Sundried Tomatoes {PALEO}.  That would have been my longest recipe title to date.  It’s been an off morning…  One such exhibition: finding salsa in the spice pantry, or there was the throwing of a shoe in frustration, or the guy that wouldn’t get off the bench I wanted to use, Emron shutting Eli’s finger in the door.  Who ever said, “When it rains, it pours,” knew what they were thinking about.

But, I’ll stop complaining.  Instead, I’m going to tell you about this amazing recipe, and I’m not just tooting my own horn here, I have bonafide proof in the form of EVERYONE asking for seconds!  I was inspired by this recipe from Paleomg.  The idea is pretty simple: Basically, we are taking all the deliciousness of pizza and turning it into a casserole with a base of spaghetti squash.

I had the squash, I had some Andouille sausage but I wasn’t sure what to pair with the spicy, smoky flavors of the sausage.  My “research.” (Drooling over food porn totally qualifies as research for a food blogger, in fact…)  My research (no quotes) lead me to add sundried tomatoes and caramelized onions to the recipe.  And the rest is history!  Here you have it: Andouille Spaghetti Squash Pie {PALEO}.

Andouille sasuage, caramelized onions, sundried tomatoes and spaghetti squash come together in this Paleo casserole that tastes better than pizza.

Andouille Spaghetti Squash Pie {PALEO}

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: active time: 30 minutes, bake time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound Andouille Sausage
  • 1 red onion, caramelized
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup pizza sauce (no sugar added, nothing funky)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs, whisked

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish, put it aside.
  2. Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Now, let’s roast it. Place the squash cut side down onto a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. You will know the squash is done when the outside is softer and gives if you press on it. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. As the squash is baking you will want to caramelize those onions. Click here for complete instructions.
  4. In a large pan cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks. It’s done when you can’t see any more pink.
  5. When the squash is done baking, harvest the strands and put them in a big bowl. Add the caramelized onions, sausage, sundried tomatoes, pizza sauce and basil. Stir well.
  6. Next, add the whisked eggs to the bowl. Mix until you can no longer see the eggs.
  7. Dump everything into your greased 8×8 baking dish. Place in the oven for about 1 hour. You will know it’s done when a slight crust forms.
  8. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Eat and enjoy!!

Note:

Caramelizing onions takes some time.  If you’re pressed for time feel free to cook the onions together with the sausage.  The flavor won’t be exactly the same, but it will still be good!


Chorizo Stuffed Red Peppers {PALEO}

Okay.  Let’s just get this out of the way.  If you look closely at the picture that accompanies this recipe you just might notice a little bit of cheese.  I know cheese isn’t paleo.  I know.  I like a little bit of cheesy deliciousness every once in a while.  If you don’t, simply don’t add it.  Maybe I should call the recipe Chorizo Stuffed Red Peppers {Primal} with a {Paleo} option??  Longest recipe title, ever!

AND, you might notice the picture is of the peppers before they went into the oven.  By the time they came out of the oven the lighting was atrocious; I did the best I could!  So, now that that is out of the way…

Let me just tell you these peppers were super yummy and pretty dang easy to make.  They are one of those great weeknight meals that everyone will eat.  My three year-old had seconds!  I hope you and yours enjoy them as much as we do: Chorizo Stuffed Red Peppers {Paleo}.
A Paleo take on the classic stuffed peppers.

Chorizo Stuffed Red Peppers {Paleo}

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: active time: 20 minutes, bake time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1 pound chorizo sausage, fresh with no added ingredients
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 head small cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • cheese, optional, not Paleo…

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Next, trim up your red peppers.  I cut mine in half, leaving the stems intact, then took out the seeds and ribs.  If you want to cut the top off then clean them up, feel free to do so!  Place the peppers in a casserole dish.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add the chorizo.  When it’s cooked through, drain off any extra fat,leaving some in the skillet, then put the chorizo in a large bowl.
  4. Cook the onions and garlic in the same skillet for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the onions become translucent add them and the garlic to the chorizo.
  5. Meanwhile, process the cauliflower in your food processor or blender into a rice like consistency.  Add to the bowl.
  6. Chop up the fresh cilantro and add to the bowl of chorizo, onions, garlic and cauliflower.  Add a little cheese, about 1/4 cup, if you want.  I did.  It was great!  Then stir well.  Fill the peppers with this mixture.
  7. Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  8. Let cool about five minutes before serving.  Garnish with salsa, gauc, fresh cilantro.  Enjoy!!