Crock Pot Whole Chicken

I have never made a whole chicken, in the oven OR the crock pot. But guess what…I did it and it was tasty!!

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I put one largely chopped onion, one largely chopped potato, a bunch of baby carrots, and one cup of chicken stock into the bottom of my crock pot.

I then seasoned the five-pound bird with salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and some Italian seasoning. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE THE PLASTIC POUCH OF GIZZARDS OUT. That would not taste good in the crock pot.

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I nestled the bird down in, and turned that sucker on low for about six hours. HELLO delicious-smelling house. When it was done, I let it rest a few minutes on the cutting board before my husband chopped it into pieces. We threw the pieces back into the juices and veggies while we got the rest of our dinner ready. We also stored leftovers in the juices, just so everything stayed nice and delicious.

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Shepherd’s Pie {Paleo Recipe Review}

I made this recipe the other night, and I LOVED IT, but it did not turn out very pretty, soooooo here is a lovely photo from One Lovely Life… Cottage Pie // One Lovely Life

Because I totally am borrowing this photo, as well as their recipe, I’m just going to tell you a few tweaks I made for my own version.

1. I made mashed cauliflower for the topping instead of mashed potatoes. I know potatoes are okay to have now, but the hubs and I really really love mashed cauliflower, and it’s a little easier to make. It probably didn’t stand up as well against the juices of the filling as a potato topper might have, but hey, it doesn’t have to be pretty to taste good!

2. I used ground turkey. Lamb’s expensive, and this family is on a BUDGET. Therefore, I also used chicken stock since I already had it on hand.

3. I also used the vegetables I had on hand. Instead of chopping carrots, I used a mixture of frozen peas and carrots. So I ended up putting in an onion, celery, and then frozen peas and carrots for my veggies. Works for me!

And just to humor you, here is the photo of how mine REALLY looked…This is REAL LIFE, folks…

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Salmon Cakes {Paleo}

I’m going to be honest with you. Usually by the time I’ve finished making dinner, I’m SO hungry that I really don’t bother to take NICE photos, like I did in the good ol’ days. This is the reason that many photos on my blog are just quick iPhone shots. It’s a shame really. I should make more of an effort in the photo arena, but hey, just because they aren’t pretty doesn’t mean they don’t taste good!

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On that note, I bring you salmon cakes. You could make them crab cakes, or tuna cakes, or whatever kind of seafoody cake you enjoy. I haven’t done the math, but I’m going to guess these cost probably $3 for the whole batch, too. A 6 oz can of salmon is like, $2, and everything else in it is pretty simplistic. I don’t keep a lot of fresh herbs on hand in the winter, so I use dried ones in recipes like this.

This recipe comes from Livin the Crunchy Life with just a few minor adjustments. So I give you…my version!

Salmon Cakes

Ingredients

6 oz can pink salmon
1/4 avocado
2 tablespoons onion, finely diced (I used red onion, but whatever)
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
dash of dried parsley
squirt of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Mash all these ingredients together very well, until you get a relatively smooth mixture. Taste it for seasoning, and doctor it up with anything you want.

2. Form cakes. I made 11 very small ones, which I liked, but you could also make a few larger ones if that’s how you role. Place them on a baking sheet or platter and put them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I actually made mine the night before so that I could make dinner more quickly, so mine sat 24 hours in fridge, no problem.

3. Heat a small amount of olive oil, ghee, or even coconut oil in a skillet. In two batches, place the cakes in the hot skillet until the bottom is nice and crispy. Don’t try turning them too soon or they will fall apart! Once it seems like you can get your spatula under them pretty easily, give them a flip, and keep cooking until they’ve got a nice crispy edge on them.

I really loved eating mine with guacamole, but you could do anything, including paleo mayo or a plethora of other amazing paleo dips and sauces.

Bell Pepper Red Sauce {Crockpot} + Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Double recipe for you here today!! Bell Pepper Red Sauce and Turkey Zucchini Meatballs, all served over a lovely spaghetti squash!

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First, let me just say that I adapted this recipe to make some much improved turkey meatballs. The zucchini adds SO much more moisture, so they aren’t dry and blah like many of the other meatballs I’ve made. Here’s what I combined to make my meatballs:

1 lb lean turkey
1 small zucchini, grated
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
3 green onions, sliced
salt, pepper, and a little cumin

DELICIOUS. Do it.

And now for the sauce. Here, you let everything roast in the crockpot all day (well, 5 hours on low, 3 on high), and then use your immersion blender to make it smooth and delicious, but you could also probably use a regular blender or a food processor if that’s what you’ve got. (Got it from over here on Paleo Pot!) My husband also added a solid amount of hot sauce. Be warned though – this makes A LOT of sauce. I happily put some in my freezer though so I won’t have to do much of anything next time we’re in a spaghetti squash mood.

I used:

4 cans of diced tomatoes (some with added seasonings, some without)
3 bell peppers (2 green, one red), seeded and cut up
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.

Truly, so easy. You can cut everything very chunky since you’ll be using your immersion blender later. Combine them all, let them cook, and blend them up!!

Please share if you have some of your own favorite versions of spaghetti and meatballs!

BLT Paleo Style

 

These do not need much explaining. And let me say I also had this with some baked sweet potato slices, and that a larabar may have also been involved. While these may have benefited from a bit of homemade paleo mayo, I don’t eat may often enough to warrant making a batch. So I went plain-jane on these, and it was JUST FINE.

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My best advice if you are trying to change your lifestyle habits is to not overthink it. Sometimes, I do want to try more complex, difficult recipes, and so in those times, I do that. But for the most part, I don’t want Whole30 or Paleo eating to feel like a chore. So I try to keep it simple most nights. Meat. Veggies. Some sweet potatoes. Some avocados. It’s really not too complicated if you don’t let it be!

And p.s., Romaine works great like this for any sandwich you’ve been craving. Load it up with turkey, veggies, sauces…whatever! They also make great “taco shells.” You’ll quickly realize that you have all the flavors you love, even without the bread. PLUS you will feel better about eating it, too.

Happy huntint!

 

Paleo Sticky Shrimp

Guess whaaaaaaatttt?

I’m finally, officially, committedly, doing another Whole30. A few things are a little different this time. One is that I’ve continued to eat breakfasts and occasional other meals in a “Whole30″ style. I think already this has made the transition easier. I also am trying not to think “I’m on day 3!” or whatever day, because I really do want to make this a lifestyle change this time. No, I will not live a Whole30 life, but I do want to try to remain 85% or 90% grain and sugar free after this is over, since I believe those are the food groups that hurt me the most. So basically, I’m doing a Whole30 and trying not think about it too much.

However, this does mean I will continue to try new paleo recipes and share them with you here…

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So, I made this recipe from Worthy Cooking, and it was good, but not GREAT. However, I think this is my fault…

These shrimp are seasoned, and then lightly dredged. The recipe calls for arrowroot or tapioca starch, but the only starch I had on hand was potato starch. I’m not sure if this really made a difference or not. However, I’m pretty sure the oil I used did. The recipe calls for ghee, coconut oil, or bacon fat. I had none of these on hand so used a little olive oil instead. I can see that this would probably have a lot more flavor if I had used any of the suggested fats. PLUS I don’t think I let the pan get quite hot enough, so when I laid the shrimp in, they soaked in some oil before they had a chance to really sear. Lessons learned, folks, LESSONS LEARNED.

But hey, it’s pretty hard to screw up shrimp. They still tasted pretty good, and I had them with a side of thinly sliced and baked sweet potato and some steamed broccoli. I ate a LOT of shrimp, so was quite satisfied :)

Happy Whole 30ing!!

When A Man Cooks You Dinner

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Early on in our relationship, I would trek the 45 min+ to Jonathan’s condo after work, in rush hour, and would arrive to find him cooking dinner for us. Sometimes it was homemade pizza. Sometimes it was fish, black beans, and couscous. No matter what it was, knowing that I was going to walk in and have him tell me “just go sit down!” was the ultimate sign that he loved me. Even if he didn’t know it yet, I knew! AND, he eats so healthy, I became inspired and lost like, 15 or more pounds our first year together. Basically the opposite of the usual boyfriend effect*.

Now that we are married, we both cook a lot. Some dinners are quick and easy, some more complex, but most of the time, we are both in the kitchen getting things done. And I love this! It’s a whole different side of feeling loved and comfortable.

But this weekend was my birthday (Sunday), and while I really don’t care all that much about doing anything on my birthday (29 is a weird number), it was the strangest and awesomest feeling when he a) had breakfast ready for me when I got back from a run, and b) later “made me” go work on my crafting project and watch Game of Thrones (which he is not into) while he made me like this, gourmet Whole30 meal of turkey burger, guac, and sweet potato wedges.

Seriously, a flashback to our dating days. I love us cooking together, but I also love taking a break from time to time. All this to say, if a man is cooking for you early on, you are bound happy dinners all your life!

*The Boyfriend Effect is caused when I feel the freedom to eat just as much as my new boyfriend (and am more than capable) and so I gain like, a bazillion pound.