Thursday, October 23, 2014

Paleo Sausage & Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

So I kind of have this obsession with squash. I love it this time of year, from soup to roasted in salad. Sadly, my enthusiasm isn't shared by ANYONE else in this household. Other than pumpkin I can't say I have much success in presenting autumnal gourds of any kind to my brood.

My compromise? Stuffed squash. I eat the whole thing, and the cave man and my kids can eat the stuffing and leave the sad, lonely squash carcass behind.

This recipe is very similar to the stuffed delicata squash I made last fall, but this time around I added some apple for crunch and sweetness and omitted the bacon on top. I also used a little palm sugar on the squash to caramelize it a bit when it roasted before being stuffed.

Paleo Sausage & Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 medium acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
2 tbs. coconut oil
1 tsp. palm sugar
salt & cinnamon
1 lb. apple and chicken sausage
1 medium chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
3 stalks chopped celery
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 medium apple, diced
1/4 cup raw chopped pecans
2 tbs. juice-sweetened dried cranberries
fresh herbs, chopped (I used about 1/4 cup chopped sage and thyme)
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup almond meal
2 beaten eggs

Preheat oven to 400. Melt coconut oil and mix with palm sugar and some salt and pepper. Spread this mixture over cut portion of squash. Place on a foil-lined and rimmed baking sheet (cut side up). Bake for 45 minutes and remove from oven.

While squash is roasting, remove sausage from casing and cook in a large skillet until brown. Remove from skillet and add onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Add apple to mixture and cook for a couple of minutes more.

Return sausage to skillet and add pecans and cranberries. Season with fresh chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in beaten eggs and almond meal.

Divide sausage and vegetable mixture between the squash. Cover with foil. Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Egg-Free Paleo Almond Butter Bites

My goal when crafted these healthy goodies for my family nutrition business was to come up with a snack totally sweetened with dates. I create recipes for many with allergies, so wanted to keep them not only grain and dairy-free, but eggless as well.

I didn't quite know what to call the results, as they're a little denser than a muffin (yet I baked them up in mini muffin cups). I think they'd also work well baked in a single pan and cut into bars, so I decided to term them "bites."

If you don't have issues with egg, simply omit the ground flax and water and replace with a beaten egg. For a nut-free version you could try sunflower seed butter, but then I would skip the baking soda so you don't wind up with green bites!

My kids really liked these, even without the sprinkling of Enjoy Life chips I scatted on a couple. They have the perfect amount of sweetness and have a nice texture.

Egg-Free Paleo Almond Butter Bites

3/4 cup Medjool dates (pitted)
1 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup natural applesauce
1 tbs. ground flax mixed with 3 tbs. water
1 tbs. melted coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350.

Run dates through food processor until they are pretty well chopped. Add in almond butter and applesauce and process again, scraping down the sides. It will likely take a couple of minutes to really break down the dates and get a smooth result.

Add all remaining ingredients to food processor and mix until smooth.

Divide mixture between greased mini muffin cups, or pour into an 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (if making mini muffins) or 25-30 (for pan), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paleo Maple Roasted Pears & Sweet Potatoes

To be perfectly honest, both pears and sweet potatoes are perfectly sweet without any maple syrup, particularly when they're roasted. When you make a glaze with the syrup and a little butter, ghee or coconut oil, however... WOW. My kids couldn't get enough of this side dish!

I served it alongside simple pork chops, and drizzled the excess glaze over the meat. The kitchen smelled great while these were roasting and there wasn't a single bite left over after dinner.

Paleo Maple Roasted Pears & Sweet Potatoes

4 medium and firm pears, peeled, cored & cut into chunks
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375.

Place pear and sweet potato chunks in a large bowl. Melt butter or coconut oil in a small pot over low heat. Add maple syrup and allow to cook just until bubbling.

Remove from heat and pour over pear and sweet potato. Season mixture with cinnamon and salt, tossing to thoroughly coat. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan covered in aluminum foil.

Place in oven and cook for about 40 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are your desired level of softness), stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.