Thursday, December 18, 2014

Grain-Free Zucchini-Gingerbread Muffins (Recipe Revisit)

I wanted to revisit these muffins this season to show just how easy they are to customize. When I posted them last year, I used yacon syrup to sweeten them and made a whipped coconut frosting to make a festive dessert.

This year I kept things a little simpler, and served them up as a hearty breakfast treat. Raw honey works just as well for a sweetener, but you can see it does make the muffins lighter in color (and lets a little of the green hue from the zucchini shine through!). I also included chopped walnuts, raisins and shredded coconut.

However you make them, those are really tasty! A nice moist texture and just the right amount of sweetness. If you'd like to frost them, here is my original post including the frosting recipe.

Grain-Free Zucchini-Gingerbread Muffins (Recipe Revisit)

2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 large, squeezed in a towel to remove excess liquid)
2 eggs
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup yacon syrup or raw honey
3 tbs. coconut flour
2 cups almond meal or blanched almond flour
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
optional mix-ins: chopped raw nuts, raisins, unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine zucchini eggs, coconut oil and sweetener with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients and mix again. If including any mix-ins, stir them in.

Pour batter into greased muffin cups, 3/4 full (I did find these stuck a little to my metal muffin pan, so next time will either use liners or silicone cups).

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing and allowing to further cool on a rack.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Dairy Recipe)

I was inspired to create this recipe for a non-paleo friend; she loves using spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative, but her three kids are "over" having simple cooked squash threads with chicken and sauce.

My goal was to come up with kid-friendly comfort food by using the "noodles" in a baked casserole. The equation involves cheese because they're not a dairy-free family, and I do think the oozy, gooey melted element really makes the dish. You could certainly try it without though!

Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Dairy Recipe)

1 spaghetti squash
2 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
3 cups chopped baby spinach
salt & pepper
3/4 lb. chicken breasts
Italian seasoning and garlic powder
1 egg
1/2 cup organic plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups organic marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup almond meal
3 tbs. coconut oil

Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half and remove all seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, pepper and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and stir. Cook until spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Add remaining tbs. olive oil to a grill pan and heat over medium heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. Add to grill pan and cook until no longer pink. Remove from heat.

Add coconut oil and almond meal to a skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. Season with a little salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat

Once squash is cooked, use a fork to shred the inside into a large bowl. Add egg, Parmesan cheese, yogurt and red pepper flakes.

Spread 1 cup of marinara over the bottom of a casserole dish. Spread squash over sauce. Sprinkle one half of almond meal "breadcrumbs" over the top.

Pour remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Scatter remaining almond meal over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more or until top is browned and crisp.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Paleo Spicy-Sweet Pork

I was intrigued when I saw this recipe in the December issue of Cooking Light. Raspberry jam and salsa? Definitely a unique flavor combination.

It was pretty easy to tweak this one to make it paleo. I bought boneless pork chops because they were on special, but I do think this would taste even better with the tenderloin called for in the original recipe.

The caveman and I enjoyed this alongside a simple avocado, mango and red onion salsa dressed with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice and salt. The flavors paired together perfectly!

Definitely try this one if you're looking for a recipe with bright flavors to enjoy on a chilly evening.

Paleo Spicy-Sweet Pork
adapted from Cooking Light

1 tbs. coconut aminos
1 tsp. freshly minced ginger
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 lb. pork tenderloin or boneless chops, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch slices
1/3 cup bottled organic salsa
1 tbs. 100% raspberry fruit spread
minced cilantro

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Flatten each pork piece to 1/2-inch thickness using your fingertips.

Add pork to pan; spoon soy sauce mixture evenly over pork slices. Cook 3 minutes or until browned.

Turn pork over; cook 3 minutes or until done. Remove from pan. Add salsa and preserves to pan; increase heat to medium-high. Cook 30 seconds or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.

Serve pork with salsa mixture, and sprinkle with cilantro.