Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Paleo Minty Green Smoothie (aka Shamrock Shake)

Confession time. I've never, ever had so much as a sip of a shamrock shake. This time every year, though, I receive multiple requests for a healthier, allergy-friendly version.

Based on the 50+ ingredients in the "real" thing, it's not too hard to clean it up. I've tweaked my recipe and method over the years, and think this is my best yet. Spinach and real mint give the shake its trademark green hue, and avocado boosts both the nutritional value and creaminess.

Hope you enjoy the minty goodness!

Paleo Minty Green Smoothie (aka Shamrock Shake)

1/2 ripe avocado
Frozen banana, cut into chunks
Handful baby spinach 
Couple of fresh mint leaves
3/4-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Splash of peppermint extract
Couple drops liquid vanilla stevia

Combine all ingredients in a blender until a smooth.

 If you want a super creamy texture and "do" xanthan gum, add 1/4 tsp. added to the mixture. The texture is great without it too, though.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Paleo Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Warm Bacon Dressing

I love Brussels sprouts, and I particularly love them with bacon. What's even better? Cooking the sprouts in bacon grease, the drizzling them with a warm bacon vinaigrette! Talk about making good use of good things!

You can use this dressing in other recipes as well; it goes particularly well with spinach salad. You can likewise put what you want in with the sprouts. I chose to include some raw chopped pecans and some diced apple and red onion. I liked the contrast of the sweet and crunchy with the tang of the dressing.

Paleo Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Warm Bacon Dressing

4 strips nitrite-free bacon
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs. pure maple syrup or raw honey
pinch of ground cinnamon
salt, pepper & garlic powder, to taste
10 oz. shaved Brussels sprouts (I use the bagged ones from Trader Joes)
2 tbs. raw chopped pecans
1/2 small pear, diced
3 tbs. diced red onion

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove to drain on paper towels. Pour off all but a couple tsp. of the grease into a measuring cup. You want to have about 1/4 cup of grease.

Whisk in vinegar, sweetener and seasonings. This is your dressing.

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat and add the Brussels sprouts to the bacon grease. Cook until soft and starting to brown a little.

Put in a large bowl with pea, nuts and red onion. Drizzle with some dressing and taste for seasoning.

Store unused dressing in a sealed container the refrigerator. It will solidify, so simply put the container under running hot water until it liquifies again.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Domestic Man's Sweet & Sour Chicken

Russ Crandall, aka the Domestic Man is one of my favorite figures in the paleo community. I am in awe of his back story, I love the way he writes and his recipes are all winners. And by winners I mean both my kids and significant other ALWAYS request I make them again.

I don't think my offspring have ever experienced Chinese takeout sweet & sour chicken, and the last time I ate the dish I was probably in my teens. I've made some chicken and pork dishes with a sweet & sour flavor profile, but never tried to create the fried, crispy chicken that's the trademark of the dish.

It did seem counter-intuitive to dip the chicken in egg AFTER dredging it through starch, but it did crisp up perfectly. The sauce reduced beautifully and had all of the right flavors. I made some roasted cauliflower rice while cooking up the chicken, and dinner was on the table in no time. Everyone gave this a huge thumbs up! It will definitely be added to my rotation.

Paleo Sweet & Sour Chicken
adapted from The Domestic Man

1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbs. raw honey
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 tbs. coconut aminos
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. white pepper

everything else:
1/4 coconut oil (I need to use a little bit more)
2 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. arrowroot starch, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
2 sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 250.

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small pot on the stove top. Bring to a simmer of medium heat, then reduce heat and allow to cook and thicken while you prepare the chicken.

Combine 1/2 cup arrowroot with salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Put beaten eggs in another.

Melt coconut oil in a wok over medium heat.

Coat chicken pieces in arrowroot, then dip in egg. Allow excess to drip off before adding to pan. Don't overcrowd the wok (it took me 3 batches to cook all of my chicken).

Allow chicken to cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping occasionally. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, then put in the oven to stay warm.

Continue to cook the chicken, adding more oil to the wok if necessary.

When you get to the end of the chicken, taste your sauce for seasoning. Combine remaining tbs. of arrowroot with a little water in a small bowl, stirring to create a slurry. Stir into sauce and bring to a low boil, then remove from heat.

Toss chicken with sauce until all meat is thoroughly coated. Serve chicken over cauliflower rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.