Saturday, September 20, 2014

Paleo Pesto & Sausage "Spaghetti" Bake (Recipe Revisit)

I was so giddy to see spaghetti squash in Trader Joe's yesterday that I bought some without a specific plan or recipe in mind. While I can always find it at Whole Foods, spaghetti squash only show up at TJ's (at least around here) once all of their pumpkin and other fall-related items roll in.

While shopping I decided I'd remake a recipe that was a big hit here back in winter, using homemade pesto, sausage and an almond meal crumble to top things off. I wanted to reshare the recipe along with my go-to formula for paleo pesto.

While you can buy very overpriced dairy-free pesto at some specialty shops, it really is easy to make your own! If you don't have basil on hand, you can experiment with subbing in baby spinach or arugula for some or all of the herb.

I like to scatter some halved cherry tomatoes on top for both flavor and color.

Paleo Pesto & Sausage "Spaghetti" Bake

1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbs. olive oil
generous amount of salt, pepper, garlic powder & Italian seasoning
1/2 cup homemade paleo pesto (see below)
12 oz. sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tbs. coconut oil or butter

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Rub olive oil over squash and season with salt, and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet covered with tin foil.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, reducing oven temp to 400 when you remove squash. Allow cooked squash to sit until cool enough to handle. Using a fork, pull out the interior of the squash into threads and place in a large bowl.

While squash is baking, remove sausage from casing and cook in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat until no longer pink (using a wooden spoon to crumble).

Remove skillet from heat and drain off excess grease. Stir in spaghetti squash threads and pesto.

To make your "crumb" topping put almond meal, flax, oil or butter (NOT melted) in a food processor, along with a generous amount of salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. Pulse until mixture comes together in a dough.

Drop almond meal mixture over top of skillet.

Place skillet in oven and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

paleo pesto:
2 cups basil
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1-2 tbs. nutritional yeast
salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil (may use more depending on how thick you like your pesto)

Combine basil, nuts, garlic and nutritional yeast in food processor. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped. With food processor running, slowly pour in olive oil. Continue to mix until it comes together.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix again.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Paleo Cinnamon Apple Hot Cereal

I have and will be focusing a lot on both cinnamon and apple, as they're two seasonal ingredients I've been highlighting for my healthy family nutrition website and Facebook page. 

They're the perfect pairing as fall approaches, particularly on chilly mornings when you need a little nudge to get out the door! I adapted this recipe from Paleo Parents, and I'm pleased to say it got both of my kids' thumbs up.

The main change I made was to use almond meal in lieu of macadamia nuts; while I adore the latter and they would likely yield an even creamier texture here, I was curious to see if it would still work with what for me is a pantry staple.

I think the cereal came together well with the combination of raw walnuts and almond meal. I also halved the recipe, which still yielded (for us) at least 3 portions. Since I'm divorced I don't have my kids every morning, so this was a much more appropriate amount for us. 

I loved the apple chunks here but just might need to try this one out with canned pumpkin next month! Maybe I will even get crazy and make it with both pumpkin and apple...

Paleo Cinnamon Apple Hot Cereal 
adapted from Paleo Parents

1 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup almond meal
3-4 pitted dates
pinch of salt
1 large apple, peeled and diced
1/2 tbs. coconut oil or ghee
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine walnuts, almond meal, dates and salt in a food processor. Process until a paste has formed.

Meanwhile, sauté apple in coconut oil until soft (about 5 minutes). Stir nut mixture into apples. Add cinnamon and vanilla.

Reduce heat and add almond and coconut milks. Stir to combine. Simmer uncovered until thickened, stirring often to prevent sticking. Mine was reduced in about 20 minutes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Paleo Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples

You know fall has arrived (whether officially or not) when recipes pairing pork and apple start to show up in the blogosphere.

This one is a super easy recipe I adapted from Cooking Light which we enjoyed with some green beans alongside. I love how quickly this one comes together for a busy weeknight, yet still has that classic comfort food flavor.

Paleo Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples
adapted from Cooking Light

1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 (4 oz.) boneless pork loin chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbs. butter
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 tbs. palm sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash of salt

Combine sage, salt and pepper and sprinkle over pork. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pork; cook 3 minutes per side or until done. Remove pork from pan and keep warm.

Melt butter in pan. Add apples, sugar, lemon, cinnamon and salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring often.

Serve pork with apples.