Herb Garden Dreamin’

I love fresh herbs.  One of my goals this summer is to start a small herb and vegetable garden.  It’s going to be a learning experience for sure… I can work it in the kitchen, but not so much in the garden.  I can’t even keep my bamboo plants alive and those do not even require watering.  Surprisingly, Bjorn has the green thumb.  A few summers ago, he planted basil, tomatoes, and green peppers! It was wonderful.

The key to keeping rosemary nice and fresh is to wash it, wrap it in a damp paper towel, and store in an airtight bag.  The rosemary that I bought two weeks ago is still amazingly green and vibrant!

This meal took me about 45 minutes to prepare (including the mashed cauliflower), but less than 5 minutes to consume.  Yes, it was really that good.

Honey and Rosemary Glazed Pork Chops

Serves 4

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  1. Mix honey, rosemary, and olive oil in a bowl.  Brush generously onto pork chops.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium to high heat, cook each pork chop for 5-6 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve with your favorite side dish (obviously mine is mashed cauliflower).

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Semi-Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

I don’t know why I love things like meatloaf, salisbury steak, and shepherd’s pie.  I never had these growing up, nor did my mother ever cook anything like this.  But there’s just something so satisfying about the mish mosh of ground beef and other scrumptious ingredients.  Some think these dishes are gross, but man, I love them!  I also used to love ordering these entrees at the Cheesecake Factory… but don’t even get me started on how bad that place is for you, especially the portion size!! Anyway…

This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is semi-Paleo.  Everything is Paleo, with the exception of the peas.  No legumes on the Paleo diet, but to me, it’s a veggie, and veggies are good for you!

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb organic ground beef
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

For the mashed cauliflower topping:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut milk (optional)
  1. Follow this recipe for the mashed cauliflower topping.  Note that the coconut milk is optional.  I decided to add it this time because the cauliflower seemed drier than usual.
  2. Preheat ove to 400 degrees (F).
  3. In a large skillet, over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add onions and garlic, saute for a few minutes until translucent.
  4. Add ground beef, season with sea salt and black pepper, and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, until beef is no longer pink.
  5. Add diced carrots, peas, and worcestershire sauce.  Mix well.  Saute until vegetables are nice and tender.
  6. Transfer beef and veggie mixture into a baking dish.  Top with a layer of mashed cauliflower.  Use a fork to form peaks in the mashed cauliflower so it browns nicely in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

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Meals on a Budget

Living life on a budget seems to be a modern trend these days.  We’re always trying to find the best deal or comparing prices to determine which store will yield the highest amount of savings.  (Or maybe this is just me?)

I’m not a crazy coupon clipper, but access to deals in this wonderful technology world have changed drastically.  We’ve got access to amazing deals through Groupon, Living Social, Jetsetter, Gilt, One King’s Lane, etc etc (And YES, I have an account with all of the above.  In fact, you should too since it doesn’t cost you anything to sign up).  Aside from browsing the daily deals from these websites, there’s always the browsing of the good ol’ weekly ads.  Heck, that’s the one thing that I look forward to the most when I wake up on Sunday morning!  Firing up the iMac, cup of joe in hand, and checking out the local grocery store ads and Target to help me plan for the week.

I am a strong believer in “If you realllllllllly want it, then just get it, regardless of price”.  We work hard for the money that we earn and we should be able to enjoy it, within reason though.  That’s why it’s important to check out these deals and weekly ads to help save money where possible!  And as a side note, who even shops for clothes at retail price anymore?  Marshall’s & TJ Maxx to the fullest – Hello!!!

This recipe features our Valentine’s Day dinner.  A delicious and scrumptious meal on a budget.  Stew Leonard’s is a local grocery store in the area and has such fresh produce, dairy, baked goods… everything is fantastic!!  This past week, lamb chops were on sale for $5.99/lb (usually $10.99/lb) and cauliflower was on sale for $1.49/head (usually $2.99/head).  So, the total cost of our romantic meal for two was $13; plus we had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Grilled Lamb Chops

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of lamb chops
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. Season lamb chops with sea salt and black pepper.
  2. In a large skillet over high heat, drizzle olive oil, place lamb chops onto pan and sear each side for 4 minutes.
  3. Once both sides achieve a nice golden color, reduce the heat to low, and cover pan.  Let lamb chops cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. Serve with rice, pasta, or mashed cauliflower.

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Happy Birthday Daddy!

My father’s birthday is coming up and the family got together tonight to celebrate.  Though dining out is nice, nothing beats time spent in the kitchen with the family, with a glass of wine in hand, prepping and collaborating on a home cooked meal.  With our family getting larger, we prefer staying in… It’s more comfortable (especially with the kids), there’s no one rushing you through your dinner, and it’s so much more affordable.  My sister made a yummy minestrone soup, filled with lots of veggies and pasta.  What did I make?  Some delicious Paleo meals, of course…

Grilled Rib Eye Steak

Serves 6

Ingredients

  1. Season rib eye steaks well with sea salt and crushed peppercorn and garlic rub.
  2. In a large skillet over high heat, drizzle olive oil, add steaks, cooking 12-13 minutes on each side (medium rare).
  3. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice and serve.

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Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bunch of Italian Parsley
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  1. In a blender, place the first 5 ingredients in and blend for 30 seconds.
  2. Continue to blend while slowly pouring in the olive oil until you reach a desired consistency.
  3. Set aside until ready to serve.DSC02231

Oh……. and needless to say, I made mashed cauliflower to complete the meal:

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Here’s my plate of goodness (featuring from L to R; sliced avocado, rib eye steak, chimichurri sauce, mashed cauliflower):

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Happy birthday ba-ba!!! (Cake courtesy of Stew Leonard’s)

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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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