Warm Yam Salad

I say warm yam salad but really this is just as good cold.  I first found a variation of this salad on PaleOMG’s website. But sometimes I don’t have all the ingredients.  However, I have found that roasted yams (or sweet potatoes) + balsamic vinegar + lime juice = very tasty.  In fact, it is a very forgiving salad that changes based on what you add in.  The recipe as written below is for what is in the picture.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large yams, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large bacon ends, chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1/4 of red onion
  • balsamic vinegar
  • lime juice
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Roast yams and chopped bacon on a tinfoil covered baking sheet at 425F for 15 min then stir and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until soft.  While the yams and bacon are cooking, chop the onion and cilantro.

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 c of balsamic plus a couple of tablespoons of lime juice.  I don’t measure, I just go by taste.  Add the onion and cilantro, and mix.  When the yams are baked, add to the dressing and mix well to combine.  It is delicious.  You can add more balsamic vinegar or lime juice at this point, depending on your personal preference.

As I mentioned above, this is a very flexible salad – you can skip the bacon (but, really don’t), or substitute green onions for red, Italian parsley for cilantro.  I’m sure there are other things I haven’t though of too.

If you try another variation, leave a comment and let me know!

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Meatballs and Caesar Salad

One main item I enjoy making for large groups is meatballs.  Ground grass-finished beef won’t break the bank and they are easy to make ahead in slow cooker.

For a side, caesar salad is also pretty easy, although some might find making the dressing for the first time a little daunting.  My favourite caesar salad dressing is from Make It Paleo, by Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate.  They have many great salad dressing recipes, not to mention great recipes in general.

Back to the meatballs.  The other benefit: they are 21 Day Sugar Detox and Whole30 compliant.  The recipe below is for 1 lb of ground meat but is easily scaled up.  The biggest batch I’ve made was 5 lbs for a Christmas party.  One jar of sauce is more than enough for 1 lb of meat; for 3 lbs, 2 jars, etc.

Ingredients:

  • 3 green onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 a bunch of cilantro
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • avocado oil (to help with the blending)
  • 1 lb ground beef, grass-finished
  • 1 jar (680 mL, 24 fl. oz.) tomato sauce*

* I use the brand La Molisana – which can be found at my local Italian bakery.  The Pomodoro & Basilico sauce does not contain any sugar.

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat the sauce over medium heat.

In a food processor or blender, combine green onions, garlic, cilantro, spinach, cumin and salt.  Run your food processor/blender until a puree forms. You may need to add a little bit of avocado oil to help with the process.

In a large bowl, combine the ground meat and green puree.  Mix well.  Then using a spoon or ice cream scoop, form the meatballs.  Gently drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce.  Cook for approximately 30 minutes on simmer.  Check that they are fully cooked before serving.

Serving ideas:  Often we eat these meatballs with a side of caesar but if you need more carbohydrates, the meatballs and sauce is also good over a baked yam or spaghetti squash. Sorry, no pictures – they were eaten rather quickly!

Make enough to enjoy them for lunch tomorrow.  For a family of four, I recommend at least 2 lbs of ground beef.

Citrus-Ginger Flank Steak Marinade

This marinade was inspired by Make It Paleo cookbook’s flank steak marinade.

Ingredients:

  • 2 flank steaks
  • juice 2 oranges
  • juice of 6 limes
  • piece of ginger, approximately thumb sized, grated
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard

Mix the orange and lime juice with the ginger and mustard.  Add the flank steak and marinate for up to one hour.

Grill steaks on BBQ or pan fry until medium done.  Serve with a side salad, steamed vegetables or roasted yams.

Chicken Curry on Roasted Cauliflower

When I feel like curry, I always think of my dear friend Nida (I have her green chicken recipe here). She’s showed me how to do a fish curry but I had chicken and while I knew it was similar, I had to give her a quick call to confirm.

Here’s her recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tin of tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp plain kefir or yogurt (optional)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 bunch of coriander, for garnish

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat healthy oil of your choice and add onions.  Sauté onions until translucent, then add garlic and ginger.  Stir for a minute or two, then add the spices (cumin, coriander, garam masala) and cook until fragrant.  It will start to form a paste.  At this point, add your tomato paste and an equivalent amount of water.  Bring to a simmer.  Add  the chicken and cook on simmer for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken pieces.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add your dairy (cannot substitute  coconut milk – it changes the taste). Serve over roasted cauliflower or cauliflower rice, with a lemon wedge and chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!

Yam Pancakes – gluten-free

It’s no secret that I like to experiment with baking.  With the onset of winter and its dark rainy days, followed by even darker nights, I really feel like comfort food – comfort food that is easy.  Because lately, I don’t feel like cooking complicated stuff, or even cooking at all some days.

So a couple of times in the last week, we’ve had breakfast for dinner. Last week it was a frittata with yam hash browns. Today it was yam pancakes with venison-blueberry patties.  I’ve made yam pancakes before, but felt they were so-so.  Tonight was a whole other story.  These were delicious.  You know something is good when you burn your mouth trying to eat it but then keep eating it anyway.  These yam pancakes were crispy on the outside, moist and light on the inside.  It was hard not to eat them as soon as they came out of the pan.

If you would like to enjoy these sweet but savoury pancakes, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yam, baked and slightly warm
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted and grass fed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. rice flour (if avoiding grains, please use almond flour instead)
  • 1/4 c. tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-low heat.

Blend or mash well the peeled yam with melted butter.  Add the two eggs and lemon juice, whipping to combine all the wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combing all the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.  The batter shouldn’t be runny nor too thick at this point.

To your warm pan, add a cooking fat of your choice.  I personally like lard or bacon fat from pastured pork.   Add the batter to the pan to form pancakes 2-3″ in diameter.  Cooking on med-low will keep these pancakes from burning.  Flip after a few minutes, when brown.

Be patient, these pancakes take a bit longer to cook than regular pancakes, but they are well worth it.

Enjoy with breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We ate these with venison-blueberry patties and a side of braised red cabbage with apples.

I’d love to know if you liked these as much as we did.  Leave a comment below!

Primal Lasagne

The cold, snowy weather has inspired me to make comfort food.  That, and being sick.  Since embarking on a Paleo/Primal lifestyle almost three years ago, one thing I’ve missed is lasagne.  And while this is more likely classified as casserole, it definitely satisfies the lasagne craving.  I’ve even served it to non-Paleo people and received positive reviews, so don’t let the number of steps deter you – the result is well worth the effort.

Some of you may be wondering about the inclusion of cheese.  In my family, we tolerate small amounts of dairy, so in this recipe I do use mozzarella.  As Robb Wolf says, there is no one perfect formula for everyone.

Now, onto the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tbsp of healthy fat (coconut oil, ghee, lard)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lbs sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 lbs ground beef, grass-fed/finished (if not, then lean ground)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (the white/yellow fleshed ones), peeled
  • 2 jars (680 mL/24 fl.oz.) tomato basil sauce (check to make sure your brand does not contain sugar)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella chesse, grass-finished (or cheese of choice – for example, I can get grass-fed harvarti but not mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Fill a large pot with water and turn on to medium heat.
  2. In a large skillet, saute onions with a fat of your choice.  Once translucent, add garlic, mushrooms and bell peppers.  Transfer vegetables to large saucepan over medium heat, and add the tomato sauce.
  3. In the skillet, brown the meat.  Once cooked, transfer to the saucepan with the simmering sauce and add the spinach.  Stir thoroughly to combine all ingredients.
  4. Bring the pot of the water to boil.
  5. While the meat is browning, use a sharp knife or mandolin to thinly slice the sweet potatoes.IMG_3363
  6. In batches,  place the sliced sweet potatoes in the boiling water for about one minute.  Remove using a slotted spoon and allow to cool for a few minutes.  This step helps to cook the potato slightly,  and reduce the overall cooking duration.
  7. In a 9′ x 13″ casserole dish, spoon a small amount of sauce over the bottom.  This will prevent the sweet potato slices from sticking.
  8. Cover the sauce with a layer of sweet potato slices, like this:IMG_3365
  9. Repeat, alternating layers of sauce with sweet potato slices, ending with a sauce layer.  In my casserole dish, I get two sauce layers and two sweet potato layers.
  10. Add cheese.IMG_3370
  11. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 375F.

The lasagne goes well with a Caesar salad.  I like the dressing recipe from Make It Paleo cookbook.

Enjoy!

As always, let me know what you think – leave a comment below!