Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brussel Bliss with a Side of Fish

I was surfing the meat counter at Whole Foods not too long ago since I'm regularly looking for products I've never seen before. Especially since I dazed out a this month and forgot to pick up my CSA from Stillman. So for the next month, I'll be getting meat elsewhere. But back to the meat counter...I was looking around and saw pancetta. Alright, so I know Italian folks are regularly cooking with this product, but if I'm being honest, I'm not even sure I've ever seen it in the store. So I decided I was going to figure out how to use it. I mean, it's just fancy bacon, right? Couldn't be too hard. I decided to go with brussel sprouts as the veg to go with it. Not a ton of thought went into this mostly because I love caramelized foods. So that's what I was going to do with all of the ingredients.

Here's the breakdown:
Pancetta and onions

2-3 cups brussel sprouts
1 onion
1/4 lb pancetta

Slice onions thinly. Dice pancetta into small pieces. Brown in a pan until fat renders. Add onions and turn heat to low. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and cook on low, stirring frequently until onions are caramelized. 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, cut ends off brussel sprouts and quarter or half the sprouts. Turn heat to high, add sprouts. Here's the important thing. DO NOT TOUCH the brussels until they have browned on one side. You can check them by flipping the one in the middle of the pan. You want to get a good brown on one side of them. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

I paired this dinner with mahi. Earlier in the week I made cookies for work that had almonds and coconut flakes (the big kind; not finely flaked or shredded). I decided to crust my mahi with those ingredients to make a nutty complex fish.

3 mahi fillets
2 cups coconut flakes
1 cup whole almonds
2 eggs
1 jar sugar free apricot preserves
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
coconut oil

Put the coconut and almonds in a food processor to thin it out a bit and put it in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Pat the fish dry with paper towel, whisk the eggs and dredge the fish in egg. Put the fish in the Ziploc bag and toss around pressing the coconut almond mixture into the fish so that it sticks. Heat about 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Put fish in pan and cover 4-5 minutes or until that side is brown. Do not rush this by upping the heat or you'll have raw fish. Blech!!!! Flip your fish and cook until brown and cooked through. If you get the right brown and the fish isn't cooked, throw it in a 350 degree oven until it's cooked through. This won't take long. Put the apricot preserves and dijon mustard in a small sauce pan with a pinch of salt and heat through. Drizzle the sauce over the fish, add brussel sprouts to the plate and voila, a beautiful dinner! The sauce was particularly delicious and even Ray who refuses to eat salty and sweet together like it! The mustard really changed the profile of the preserves.

As a side note, make sure you're reading the label on the apricot preserves. I was able to find a brand that has fruit, apple juice and pectin. That's what you want, stay away from all that sugar that most brands add!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kentucky Mexico Collision

I grew up eating chicken salad. Not like greens with chicken on it. Like chicken with mayo in it. My mother made the literal best chicken salad any side of the Mason Dixon and that’s a fact. In fact, when I was a teenager, I worked in the country store we owned and when I tell you I made and sold about 900 pounds of chicken salad in any given week, I’m not totally exaggerating. Ask one of my oldest friends, Ash, who worked alongside me. I mean, to give you an idea, we would mix it up with gloved hands because no spoon/spatula/snow shovel could stand up to the mass quantity that was being made at any given time. And it’s not like we just made a ton and threw out the leftovers. People from all over the small town of Frankfort, Kentucky came out daily; ordering chicken salad every which way you can think of. My mom’s chicken salad only has breast meat, red grapes, celery and mayo in it. It’s simple and it’s delicious. I even requested it when she was planning the catering for our wedding. I guess you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. We may have also had whiskey barrels full of beer and sweet tea vodka, but that’s for a different blog!

So here’s the thing. I am a chicken salad addict. But I try not to eat too much mayo if I can help it, however much I may…do…love it. Additionally, the way we ate it back in the day was either on white bread or a croissant, neither of which appear in my diet these days. So I decided to make a version of chicken salad that would be yummy (not as yummy as my mom’s) but sans all the guilt I get from my mom’s version.

Here’s what I came up with, I hope you like it as much as I did.

Mexican Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts
Grape tomatoes, diced roughly
1/2 green bell pepper, diced small
1 Jalapeno, minced
Handful Cilantro, chopped
1-2 Tbsp red onion, diced finely
½ - ¾ cups Guacamole
*I use Wholly Guacamole brand
s & p

Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to make thin cutlet-like shapes. Sprinkle each side of the chicken liberally with cumin. Grill on each side approximately 4 minutes or until cooked through. Let the chicken sit and cool. Meanwhile, dice up grape tomatoes, green pepper, jalapeno and red onion. In a food processor mince the jalapeno, but make sure to take out the seeds first, or don’t if you want it really spicy. Chop up the cilantro into a confetti-like consistency. Put everything in a bowl. Chop up half the chicken in a rough but small dice. The other half of the chicken should be chopped up very finely. Add the chicken to the bowl and mix in the guacamole until it has a “creamy” type of consistency. You want the pieces sticking together.  Then juice the lime over all of it, sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Serve in lettuce cups.

Verdict? It’s not the same as my mom’s. But I never expected it to be. What it is; is a really yummy healthy alternative! Josh and I both really loved it and I know you will too!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Healthy Southerner's Paradise!!!

As I’ve mentioned….or rather driven home the point…..I am a southern girl. For those of you who are as well, you’ll probably agree with me when I say that it’s one of my favorite things about myself. Unfortunately, it produces a regular argument between my healthy me and my southern me with regards to food. But after a wildly flattering comment post Crazy 8’s this week, by one of my trainer’s other clients, I was revved upped to keep fit and find a way to make a southern meal healthy and happy!

As I’ve said before, I just don’t see the point of eating if it’s not delicious! This revised southern classic was not only delicious, but really cute too!

Here’s the Breakdown:
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
½ lb ground turkey breast
½ lb ground turkey (regular)
1 egg
¼ onion, diced finely
½ green pepper, diced finely
1 ½ Portobello mushroom caps, diced small
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp – 1 Tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp dried parsley
½ tsp garlic powder
Coconut oil

Muffin Topper
½ lb center cut bacon
1-8 oz can tomato sauce
Dried basil

Mix everything for the meatloaf muffins together. Grease the muffin tins with coconut oil and fill each cup with the meatloaf mix. You should have about 8 “muffins”.  Cut the bacon in half to make smaller pieces. Then microwave on paper towel for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix up the tomato sauce, Worcestershire and dried basil. Smash down the meat a little with a spoon. Spoon on the sauce, layer on a piece of bacon then spoon on a little more sauce. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. If you like your bacon a little burnt/crispy like I do, turn up the heat to 450 degrees after 20 minutes. Make sure you put your muffin tins on a large baking sheet so that it doesn’t leak into your oven and smoke up. I learned this particular lesson the hard way.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash
1 head cauliflower
1 cup grass fed yogurt
10 cloves garlic
Olive oil

Before you start doing anything with the meatloaf, coat garlic with olive oil. Roast in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes until lightly browned and soft. Trim and boil the cauliflower for about 20 minutes or until soft. Mix in a food processor with yogurt and garlic. Mix in s&p to taste.

As far as the zucchini goes, I just sautéed it in a pan with a little oil and s&p.

The verdict? Soooo yum yum yummy!

I want to share a few of my tricks to healthing up this typically unhealthy meal. I learned that if you add Portobello mushrooms to meat, it serves as an expander but you can’t really notice that it’s not meat. This way you remove some calories with healthy veg! And it’s true, you would never know. I also replaced mashed potatoes with cauliflower. The Irish girl in me really struggles with this tough transition, but it was super and as my soul.train. friend Jackie mentioned when discussing the benefits of tequila, it’s Paleo! I used Traders Point Creamery yogurt to make them creamy, but felt great about the fact that Traders Point is grass fed dairy. You can get this brand at Whole Foods.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. One other score….totally portable leftovers, should you have any!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Beauty and the Beef!!

I realize that not everyone loves curry and Indian food as much as I do. I am borderline obsessed, which is really funny considering I wouldn’t touch the stuff until about 3 years ago. While I don’t think many are obsessed in the same way I am, I do believe that one or two of you read my blog to get ideas for food you wouldn’t think of on your own. Big Eater Outside the Box!! No I’m not changing my name, but humor me and try this even if you don’t think you like curry. Because really, besides bacon, what could be better than beef?!?!

I’m especially excited about this particular dish because I’m going to keep pushing Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm on you folks until you either want to kill me or buy a CSA! *maniacal laugh maniacal laugh

Here’s the breakdown:

1 lb grass fed ground beef
2 cups fresh okra, cut
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1 Tbsp hot madras curry powder
Generous sprinkle cayenne pepper
Sprinkle turmeric powder
¼ onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large acorn squash
Olive oil

Cut squash in half, scrape out the seeds and rub inside with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with s&p and roast at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, sauté okra in a pan over low until it is soft. DO NOT RUSH OR SKIP OVER THIS!!!! Undercooked okras is almost inedible.  mix coconut milk, curry paste, curry powder, cayenne pepper and turmeric in a shallow but wide sauce pan and simmer on low for several minutes. Sauté onions and garlic for a couple minutes until soft. Then add onions and garlic to the sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Brown the beef and strain it really well. Then put everything in the sauce pan and simmer for several minutes over medium-low heat. Spoon the squash into a bowl and smash into a … uhhh… mash? Yes, a mash. Then spoon the beef curry over the squash.


It was extraordinary. I mean really really really good. It was spicy though, so adjust accordingly to your taste. However, the squash wasn’t necessary albeit a good substitute for rice. Hope you’re ready to jump on the curry bandwagon and at the very least….Stillman’s!