Whats This?

This recipe blog is an extension of my original blog Motivation... Determination... Drive. Having been asked numerous times what is involved in paleo eating and the simple question "so... what can you eat?" I have decided to put this collection together. Some of the recipes will be original, and some will be modifications (or replicas) of recipes I have found in cookbooks books or on line. Every recipe listed will be something I have tried, nothing that I think just looks good and want to attempt. As a disclaimer, I will not take credit for those found at other sources, if you are to use one listed with a link attached please give credit to the original site. Thank You and happy eating!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicken Spinach and Prosciutto Bundles with Spinach, Strawberry and Avocado Salad

Whats on the menu? Chicken Spinach and Prosciutto Bundles (find it HERE) with Spinach, Strawberry and Avocado Salad (find it HERE)

How easy was it to make?  I have realized why people eat chicken so much... because its pretty easy to cook (after you get over the touching raw chicken thing, which I am doing really well at). I think now is the time to point out how NOT boring eating Paleo is. Now we could slap chicken and beef on a plate every day, but WHY?! There are so many great recipes out there. Give some of them a shot, one or two days a week make something out of the norm. Too many and you might get overwhelmed, but just TRY it sometimes. You wont be sorry (most of the time).

Now, back to the question, it was pretty easy. I cut the fat off the boneless skinless chicken breasts and arranged them on the wax paper first, than did the mushrooms. I was trying to figure out hot to minimize the amount of times I had to touch the chicken and wash my hands. I am paranoid when I handle chicken. It worked our really well and the kitchen smelled amazing just from the garlic and mushrooms.

I used more prosciutto than recommended because I used whole chicken breasts and not small pieces. So it took quite a few pieces to wrap around and hold the spinach in tightly. The rest of the prep was also pretty easy. Than into the oven it went.

The salad... WOW. I will absolutely make this one again this summer. Just a year ago I was totally against putting any type of fruit in my salad... and thought nuts belonged in dessert only. I am so glad I made the choice to give it a shot! In so many ways, in so many recipes, it is delicious!

In wanted something light and fresh for a side and this was perfect. I am not a huge kale fan, especially raw, so I subbed with baby spinach. The prep was a piece of cake. 

So... how was it? I really liked both the salad and the chicken. I think next time I might add a little less chicken stock and a little more lemon and vinegar to the mushroom mixture on the chicken. Otherwise perfect! The dressing for the salad can be used for many salads. Perfect mixture of salty and sweet.

Will I make it again? Totally. Together or separate, they were great. One thing, if you dont eat all the salad the first time and refrigerate it overnight the dressing does sort of harden up, so you will have to leave it out a bit to "thaw." Still tasted amazing, but if you are going make it for a party or something keep that in  mind. Its better fresh.

"Spaghetti" and (my very own first original recipe) Portabella Mushroom, Onion, Sun Dried Tomato Meat Balls Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Whats on the menu? "Spaghetti" and (my very own first original recipe) Portabella Mushroom, Onion, Sun Dried Tomato Meat Balls Stuffed with Goat Cheese

How easy was it to make?  I have to say I was terrified! I have never in my life made meat balls... and I never make up recipes, I am a recipe following girl. Not this time! I really wanted to make meat balls and "spaghetti" and the only way to find exactly what I wanted in a meat ball was to do it myself!

So, I stopped at Hannaford (my usual Friday night shopping location) and confused the hell out of our friend J who was shopping at the same time. He was confused that he may have been in some parallel universe as he has never seen me at the grocery store. Clearly the "wrong" Cormier was shopping!! I assured him that everything was alright and I was just there to get things to make my ONE dinner of the week!

I headed home with the following:
1lb of Grass Fed Beef
2 Portabello Mushroom Caps
1 Small White Onion
Chopped Sun Dried Tomatos in Oil
Goat Cheese
Organic Tomato and Basil Sauce

Things I used that already had at home:
1 Egg
Almond Flour
Minced Garlic
Spaghetti Squash

I chopped the onion, added that with the garlic, to a pan on medium heat and let it cook a bit than added the mushrooms and sun dried tomato (about half the jar with as little oil as possible and let it go till everything "looked" cooked... I am so bad at this.

After that I tossed it all into the food processor, thinking that might make it a little "smaller" for the meat balls. I added some parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to another bowl, than an egg, than the meat and against everything I ever want to do... squished it around with my hands (totally grossing myself out). I added the veggies and squished some more, than added some almond flour because it was a little wet from the oil of the veggies.

When that was all mixed I started making balls. I stuffed each one with a little piece of goat cheese and sealed the ball around it. They were pretty big. Definitely bigger than a golf ball... but hey, who dosent like big balls?! Meat balls people... get your mind out of the gutter!

After I was done I washed my hands 500 times (because really, the whole squishing raw beef iggs me the eff out) and put them in the oven at 400 degrees... for 30 minutes.

I had already cooked the spaghetti squash so it was cooling while I made these. I heated up the sauce and when Hubs got home he has his very first "Sarah Original" dinner! I was pretty proud of me!

So... how was it? Patting myself on the back here. It was fantastic. I mean come on, meat, sundried tomato, garlic and goat cheese... how could I have gone wrong! Unless of course I killed us with undercooked beef. 

Will I make it again? I have permission from Hubs... as he ate the leftovers the next day, YES, I will certainly make these again!

Pre Sauce

Post Sauce

Scallop Florentine

Whats on the menu? Scallop Florentine (find it HERE)

How easy was it to make?  I have to say it was a little time consuming and a little daunting for me. I have never in my life attempted to make scallops and I was afraid that I was going to under or over cook them... and they would be totally inedible or something. I stopped at Price Chopper (because they have a great seafood and meat section) and got the scallops. The guy at the counter said that they were "super fresh" and had just came in that morning. So, I had that on my side!

The "Florentine" part was pretty easy to make and smelled fantastic while cooking. It was mostly a waiting game. Add the onion and wait for it to cook... add the tomato, garlic and mushroom and wait some more now add the spinach and wait wait wait... Thats when I started to get anxious about cooking the scallops.

I looked on line to see how to "sear" something because the instructions said to sear each side for 1.5 to 2 minutes. That is where I saw that I was suppose to rinse and dry each scallop (who knew). I was scared about this, but it worked. The kinda stuck to the skillet, I think it was a little too hot... or something. Maybe not enough oil... or it could just be my crappy stove. Who knows. Either way they wound up coming out ok and we both survived!

So... how was it? I have to say, I was impressed with myself. I absolutely loved it. The florentine could actually be made and put under anything. I would imagine that it would be great with steak, chicken, pork... or even another seafood. I scoffed it down pretty quickly!

Will I make it again? Yes! This is a make again one for sure! If not the whole thing certainly the florentine. I will also be more open to making scallops again. Now that I have an idea of what I am doing I am not as scared as I was before.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Whats on the menu? Sweet Potato Cottage Pie (find it HERE)

How easy was it to make?  This is a back post for this weekends "Whats for Dinner." I am behind on my posting but I wanted to be sure I got it in here! This is the third time I have made this delicious-ness... Hubs and I both love it. Its pretty easy to make and you really cant go wrong. It is super easy to make and we usually already have sweet potatoes mashed in the fridge... even EASIER! Even I can brown beef and saute onions! Give it a shot, you will love it!

So... how was it? I cant say enough how yummy this one is! Its certainly a "cheat" for us as it contains cheese... but Oh My, what a wonderful cheat it is! The cheese layer on top... YUMMO! I am sure you could make it with plain sweet potato on top, but if you want to add the cheese, you wont be sorry! 

Will I make it again? Absolutely!

Bacon Beef Butternut Squash

Whats on the menu? Bacon Beef Butternut Squash (find it HERE)

How easy was it to make? So I really wanted something simple this week. I didnt want to have to come up with a side, or have sweet potato AGAIN. Came across this one and thought that there was no way I could go wrong with bacon, butternut squash and balsamic vinegar! Hello match made in heaven!

I stopped and grabbed what I needed (at Hannaford, no more of that Market Basket mess). It was easy, I flew through the store because all I really needed was the beef, squash and onion. I think the hardest part to this one was cooking the butternut squash. Usually I peel and cube the squash when I make it and either have it that way or mashed. I have baked it, but not whole, which is the way this recipe called for. I cut it in half, scooped the seeds and put it in the dish face down with water like it said, but it took WAY longer that the 30 minutes it said it would to be soft enough to scoop.

I made the filling different from the directions. I didnt want to wait and caramelize the onions and all that after. So I used only one onion, cooked it in the bacon fat, added the meat than the balsamic. Than when the squash was done, scooped it out and right into the hot pan... than back into the oven in the shell of the squash. I may or may not have added a teeny bit of goat cheese to the top...

So... how was it? Delish! I wasn't sure if the squash was going to be cooked enough, but it was. Hubs devoured it all the way down to the shell. I really liked the flavor of the meat and I of course added some more balsamic to mine. I love me some balsamic! 

Will I make it again? Yeah this one I would make again. It was pretty easy, I just have to remember that it takes longer than expected to make the squash.

Creamy Chicken Verde Bake and Sweet Potato Banana Mashed

Whats on the menu? Creamy Chicken Verde Bake (find it HERE) and because they are kick ass and delish  Sweet Potato Banana Mashed (find it HERE) again!

How easy was it to make? This was the easiest thing I have made over the last few weeks. The hardest part honestly was going to Market Basket for the stuff to make it. I hate that store. I usually stop at Hannaford and on a Friday night its usually not too bad. Well, I heard that Market Basket had coconut flour on sale and since I was going to be making dessert for the gym I needed to get there to get some. Thats shiz is expensive and I was almost all out. Anyway. What a zoo. Plus, even though I have "Grocery Store Anxiety" (yes that is self diagnosed) I have an easier time with Hannaford because I know the store and I know where to get the stuff we typically buy. One would have thought they were giving shit away at Market Basket. It was horrific.

Anyway. Once I got home the prep of the chicken was quick and the coconut milk and salsa verde couldnt have been any easier. I didnt really get the point of the arrow root powder. I know that it isused to thicken sauces, but I honestly dont think it did much of anything. I think next time I would use a little less of either the salsa or the coconut milk, it was a little thin. I also used boneless skinless and not thighs.

So... how was it? I thought it was excellent. Hubs said that he really liked it a lot and went as far as saying "you can make this one again." So I think it goes in the keep pile for sure. Along with the Cottage Pie. I will post that one again someday.

Will I make it again? Yepper! For Sure! Next time I will remember to add the cilantro after its done!

Baked Chicken with Artichoke Sundried Tomato Tapenade and Sweet Potato Banana Mashed

Whats on the menu? Baked Chicken with Artichoke Sundried Tomato Tapenade (find it HERE) and Sweet Potato Banana Mashed (find it HERE)

How easy was it to make? Well, I have to say, I am afraid of chicken. I dont like to make it because I am scared that I am going to under cook it.  This was quite an adventure for me. So I started to mix up the tapenade ingredients as they are listed in the recipe and I wasnt really happy. The quantities of the ingredients were hard to understand (because I didnt know if it was before or after chopping them up or whatever) so I just started to eyeball it. I mixed everything in the food processor first except for the artichoke, than added that slowly. I tasted it than added things I thought it needed more of. Than I followed the rest of the recipe for the salt, pepper and garlic on the chicken... than the tapenade... than in the oven with olive oil.

The sweet potato was easy peasy... mostly because we had some already mashed in the fridge. I just popped the bananas in the convection oven for 15 minute at 400 with holes poked in (as it instructed) than mashed them into the sweet potatos as I heated them up.

Hubs came home and everything was timed out right. It was done.

Going in the Oven

So... how was it? I am sure hubs will give his honest opinion as well, but I thought overall it was pretty good! The chicken had sort of a weird consistency I think because it was baked in the oil. I am so used to crock pot chicken that has been in the fridge a few days so that could be it too. It was really "moist" (damn I hate that word). The tapenade had great flavor... the only thing that could have made it better was cheese, but I didnt use any. The sweet potato... all I have to say is YUM! I thought they were great and it was really nice to have something a little different from the normal sweet potato that I have all week.

Will I make it again? I think this one can go it the "yes" pile on both accounts. The chicken and the sweet potato!

Get in my Belly!