A Twist on a Classic Filipino Dish

What do you do when Mother Nature dumps nearly 3 feet of snow on your front door? You cook, bake, and eat!  (After you’ve shoveled, of course…)

Yes, we got hit hard by the blizzard dubbed “Nemo” in the Northeast.  Thankfully, we don’t get crazy blizzards like this every winter, but when we do, all of us New Englanders wonder “So, why the heck do we still live here?!?!?!?”

After what felt like endless digging outside, we retreated to the couch with a marathon of Downton Abbey, and frequent visits to the kitchen.  Eating, munching, cooking, tasting; a perfect lazy Saturday afternoon.

Tonight’s dinner is a twist on the Filipino dish, chicken adobo.  It has very similar flavors (as you can see, the ingredients are nearly identical), except I’ve used a combination of balsamic and sherry vinegars, and added California golden raisins and mushrooms.

Vinegar Braised Chicken & Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of organic chicken drumsticks, bone-in (approximately 8 drumsticks)
  • 16 oz baby bella mushrooms, halved
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of sherry vinegar
  • 14 oz of chicken broth
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Bacon fat (or olive oil)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. In a large pot (or dutch oven), over high heat, melt bacon fat, and add onions and garlic.  Saute until the edges are brown.
  2. Season chicken generously with sea salt and black pepper.  Add chicken to the pot and brown for about 5 minutes on each side.  You don’t want to cook the chicken, but rather just achieve a nice and crispy golden brown color.  Remove chicken from pot and set aside.DSC02279
  3. Add mushrooms to the pot and cook for about 7 minutes, until tender.  Remove all ingredients (mushrooms, onions, and garlic) from pot and set aside.DSC02281
  4. Place pot back onto the stove top over medium to high heat.  Add balsamic and sherry vinegar to the pot, stirring and scraping off any browned bits from the pot.  Add chicken broth, raisins, bay leaves, and the reserved chicken, mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.DSC02284
  5. Remove bay leaves prior to serving.




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Crock Pot Love

Middle of January in New England.  Temperatures hitting the single digits all week.   A long down jacket with fur-lined hood has become my best friend and main accessory.  Winter has officially arrived.  And thus, my relationship with the crock pot has been rekindled.

The concept of the crock pot is amazing.  You prep all of the stuff before you step out for the day, leave it on for several hours, and come home to a wonderful surprise – the whole house is filled with a fantastic aroma and you have a delicious meal awaiting.

This pork crock pot dish has a little bit of everything; the salty chicken broth, sweet craisins, tangy balsamic vinegar, and savory pork make for an excellent meal for those cold winter nights.

Pork Tenderloin with Craisins

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Organic pork tenderloin (approximately 2.5 lbs)
  • 1.5 cups of Craisins
  • 1 can of chicken broth (14 oz)
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black Pepper
  1. Season the pork tenderloin with sea salt and black pepper.  In a large skillet over high heat, drizzle olive oil and sear the pork tenderloin.  This helps to seal in the juices and the flavors.DSC02213
  2. Place pork tenderloin into crock pot.  Add chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, and Craisins.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
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Not yo Mama’s Meatloaf or Mashed Potatoes!

Tonight is the second night in a row where we’ve had mashed cauliflower.  Here’s how amazing it was:

  • You know how you lick the cake batter from the spatula and bowl after baking?  I did this with the spoon and food processor.
  • The plate that I served the mashed cauliflower looked clean and never used after dinner.  We literally licked the plate clean.

It’s such a simple recipe; you just need to try it for yourself.  Trust me.  I’m about to say something that I never thought I’d say in my entire life…. I think I might actually be able to give up mashed potatoes for the rest of my life, as long as I can have my mashed cauliflower.

I always thought cauliflower was a nasty version of broccoli, but ever since I’ve been experimenting with Paleo recipes, I have a new found love for this wonderful superfood.  Isn’t it great that it can serve as a substitute for rice and mashed potatoes?  Wonder what else it can replace…

Tonight, I decided to make a juicy ground turkey meatloaf (not Paleo) to serve with the mashed cauliflower.  I used Bobby Flay’s recipe as a baseline and made a few tweaks here and there, mainly because I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand.

Veggie Loaded Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed with sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 & 1/2 lbs of ground turkey (93/7)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce (Note: this is a nice substitute for ketchup.  I don’t keep ketchup in the house anymore once I realized how much sugar is in it!)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
  2. In a large skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and add bell peppers, garlic, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg and fresh thyme.  Add the ground turkey, Panko, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and the cooled vegetables.  Mix well.
  4. Place the mixture into a loaf pan.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (adjust to your liking based on spiciness!).  Pour the mixture over the entire loaf.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.DSC02135

Mashed Cauliflower

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter
  1. Steam cauliflower, sliced garlic cloves, and sea salt, about 15 minutes. DSC02129
  2. Place into a food processor.  Add fresh ground black pepper and grass-fed butter.
  3. Puree until a nice and creamy texture is achieved.

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Now you see it… Now you don’t!

My 5 day juice cleanse ended on Friday.  I sure was doing my happy dance at the end of it!!! Man, it was tough, but I’m glad I did it.  I’m always open to new experiences, good and bad, but especially ones that can help to improve my health.  I’ll post about my overall experience shortly…. But until then, I wanted to share one of the first meals that I had to break the cleanse.  A huge spinach salad, topped with beets (YUM, and my new favorite vegetable), sundried tomatoes, hard boiled (cage-free) egg, and a 4 oz. piece of organic chicken breast (grilled to perfection with some olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper).  And last but not least, drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Bjorn: You’re going to eat a salad (out of all things)?  You don’t want pizza? Ice cream? A nice juicy piece of steak?

Me: Those all sound pretty tempting, but I’m beyond excited to dive into this right now. (In all honesty though, my body was craving this salad.  They other junk food sounded all fine and dandy, but my body didn’t want that.  I guess one of the things that the cleanse has taught me is to make healthier and better decisions when it comes to food…)

Bjorn: It does look really good.  Let me try (grabs a fork and dives in with me).

Me: Well?

Bjorn: If all salads were like this, I’d eat this all the time!

Me: mrgreen

**Several minutes later**

Me: (scraping up the last pieces of the crumbled egg yolk off the plate)

Bjorn: Wow, you must’ve been really hungry….

Now you see it…

Now you don’t! 😛