Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Winter meals: Zucchini “pasta”

August 3, 2011

Pasta is without a doubt one of the best comfort foods around and is generally a convenient fallback for many a busy and hungry eater. But since grains are out on Paleo, what is one to do? Enter the zucchini! This dish is easy and really adaptable for making your old favourite pasta dishes. It’s easier if you have a mandoline to slice the zucchini up in julienne style, but can be done manually. My fave Paleo blogger, Nom Nom Paleo tracked down a julienne peeler and uses that. I think I’ll have to get one myself as my Masterchef mandoline is a pile of crap it would seem 😦

Zucchini ready to be sliced

Zucchini ready to be sliced

I’ve made this zucchini pasta twice, the first time with some amazing Spring Hill aged beef mince to make meatballs in tomato sauce and the second time was to make a basil pasta with veggies.

You really can treat it just like pasta, the only differences are that you obviously have to “make” the pasta threads themselves by slicing the zucchini and it literally needs only 2 minutes dunked in boiling water only – otherwise it goes floppy, and no one likes floppy, soggy things right? I would prepare 1 zucchini per person that you are serving.

Cooked zucchini pasta

Cooked zucchini pasta

 

Basil pesto zucchini pasta served with juicy steak

Basil pesto zucchini pasta served with juicy steak

Winter dinners: Bunless burgers

July 31, 2011

Of course, burgers are not season-discriminatory – you can get your burger fix at any time of the year. But there is something about scarfing down a juicy burger in winter to quell those hunger pangs. I promise that you will not miss the bun if you put together your fave ingredients in an almighty stack and then serve with homemade tomato ketchup.

Here are the ingredients I used:

Burger patties:

1kg Lamb mince
1 large egg
1 small white onion or spring onions
2 tbsp chopped rosemary

(this is enough to easily feed 5 or 6 people or can be used for plenty of leftovers for easy lunches)

Lamb burger patties

Lamb burger patties

Filling for each burger:

Free range bacon
1 large egg
Sliced unsweetened canned beetroot
Mixed green leaves
Large mushroom, peeled and stalks removed

Now, I’m far too lazy tonight to go into any detail about how to cook the burgers because they’re so easy…I’m just going to whet your appetite with a picture jumping out at you from the screen 🙂

For the paleo-purists, I do eat potatoes occasionally. I actually used to have a god-awful intolerance to them (so bad that I felt like I’d been hit by a truck which lasted three days) but now that my leaky gut seems to be a lot better, that food intolerance is history!

Bunless burger

Bunless lamb burger

Winter dinners: Braised chicken with ginger and star anise

July 20, 2011

Winter seems to have suddenly ramped up here in Oz, stirring an unmistakeable desire to create tasty comfort food. This dish delivers on that front and is super easy to put together. It also makes for some great leftovers to save coming up with something for lunch (or dinner as the case may be).

Chicken thighs are  a fattier cut of chicken, however they are well suited to a slow cooked dish and tastier than breast meat. Remember, don’t be afraid of animal fats in your cooking – this is how we create hormones, get flavour from meat and go away from a meal genuinely satisfied.

I think a lot of people may read this post and think “I make this sort of thing all the time, so this is Paleo?!” and the answer is a resounding “YES!” Believe it or not, a lot of meals ARE paleo-friendly. I hope that goes some way to assuring people that Paleo isn’t really all that hard if you plan ahead. A lot of your favouite dishes may already be Paleo-friendly, or may just need a minor tweak here and there.

I should note here for the Paleo purists that I do eat a little white rice – the reason being that it’s low in the phytates we avoid in grains (much lower than brown rice) and I really believe I would do my head in if I tried to avoid it. Especially eating out socially. I only eat it at night though when I eat most of my carbs. This also helps my blood sugar stay nice and happy during the daytime.

Ingredients

1 kg boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns*
3 x 2cm piece fresh ginger, shredded
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
80mL chinese rice wine or sherry
60mL tamari** (or coconut aminos if you can source them)
1 tbsp honey
1 star anise
3 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally

Method

Cut each thigh in half. Put the chicken pieces, peppercorns, ginger, garlic rice wine/sherry, honey and star anise in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with spring onions and serve with steamed white rice and a vegetable side dish.

Serves 4.

Braised chicken with ginger and star anise

Braised chicken with ginger and star anise

*Sichuan peppercorns are available at many Asian grocery stores.It’s well worth seeking them out to create some heat in the dish.

**Tamari is a better choice than soy sauce as it’s gluten free, however it still has soy in it. Some Paleo cooks use coconut aminos instead – I have bought these from iHerb, but they’re not quite the same. I think a little tamari, maybe mixed with the coconut aminos is acceptable, unless of course you have an issue with soy (it is known to be one of the biggest food intolerances around)

A day in the life…what does a typical day of Paleo look and taste like?

February 26, 2011

For anyone thinking “this Paleo thing looks kinda interesting…but I can’t get my head around the sort of things I’d be eating day to day”, I thought I’d do a quick post about what I’ve been eating so far to give you a good idea.

I should note up front that I’m not working at the moment, so I do have a bit more time on my hands than the average person. Once I start working, I will write another post with some detail about how to be more time efficient – that means “preparation, preparation, preparation” really. It’s still early days and I have made muffins, a date slice and beef jerky in bulk but I will need to kick things up  a notch once my time gets more restricted.

For breakfast, I’ve been eating two eggs with some sort of side of veggies or buckwheat bread with avocado, for about two or more years. I have never, ever done well eating cereal or bread for breakfast …where is the energy in that?! I do best with animal protein at every meal otherwise my blood sugar and energy plummet. And, yes, cereal is out on Paleo, though you can make a nut and seed mix to fake it I think.

I have read that buckwheat is also out on Paleo (though it’s not even a grain, it’s a rhubarb relative!) so I’ve been eating my eggs with zucchini and mushrooms…it does take a bit longer to make each morning though. Breakfast is currently taking about 30-40 mins cooking and eating each day, so that is going to have to change once I start working (boo hoo). The eggs and veggies are cooked in coconut oil (olive oil is not heat stable and forms all sorts of toxins if used in cooking). I put plenty of sea salt in the eggs. I also cook everything for breakfast in a stainless steel frypan because teflon is a nasty nasty endocrine disruptor (ie. it messes with the body’s natural hormone balance).

I serve the breakfast with Campos coffee made with a stainless steel stovetop cafietiere: I usually mix half of their swiss-water decaf and half of their organic blend….I use coconut milk as the milk (as everything else except almond or other nut milk is out). The sweetener is two drops of stevia.

Paleo brekky

Paleo brekky: 2 eggs, zucchini and mushrooms

For a mid-morning snack, I like to have some sort of nut butter or fruit. All fruits are allowed on Paleo, however ones with lower fructose are recommended such as berries.  Higher-fructose fruits include apples, bananas and watermelons. Another snack option is a bar made mostly from dates, such as a Larabar. These are so incredible, but kinda pricey unless I get them in bulk from iHerb in the US. I have experimented with homemade recipes to mixed success, I’ll post a recipe up once I get it perfect.

Paleo snacks

Paleo snacks

Lunch so far has meant a salad with a lot of mixed salad leaves (the darker the better), with fillings to choose from including olives, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, beetroot, red capsicum, avocado, nuts and seeds. My dressing of choice at the moment is straight macadamia oil drizzled over the salad. I hope to be branching out soon and making my own salad dressings.

Salad

Salad with mixed leaves, boiled egg, woodsmoked salmon, anchovies and olives

An afternoon snack is often a coffee or herbal tea with a Paleo muffin. I absolutely love Pukka teas, I used to drink one that tasted like chocolate when I lived in London. I found a store in Sydney that stocks Pukka, alas they didn’t have the one I loved so much.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea: paleo muffin with Pukka herbal tea

Next up is dinner – mostly dinner involves a nice piece of salmon baked in the oven with a side of veggies, or nut-crusted gemfish. Last night, I made this delicious Five-spice stirfry, recipe courtesy of Everyday Paleo.

Five-spice stirfry

Five-spice stirfry with minced beef, prawns and veggies