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Recipe: Firecracker Shrimp


This recipe comes courtesy of Scott Houghtaling from Team Mike McNeil. This sounds like a great recipe and I hope some folks give this one a try. Thanks for sharing this one, Scott!

Firecracker Shrimp (serves 4)

For the shrimp

1 lbs uncooked shrimp

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sriracha Sauce (to taste – up to 1/4 cup)

2 or 3 Tbsp minced garlic

4-8 skewers (depending on size of shrimp)

For the salad

16oz container organic spring mix

2 whole tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 whole pineapple, cored, skinned and diced

For the dressing

1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced

1 tsp sriracha

1 Tbsp soy sauce (or wheat free tamari, or coconut aminos)

3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1/3-1/2 cup of Olive oil

To prepare the shrimp, place the shrimp, oil, sriracha hot sauce, and the minced garlic in a ziplock bag and let it sit for a couple of hours. Massage and turn the bag every once in awhile. In the meantime, soak some bamboo skewers or use steel skewers

Heat up a grill or broiler. Remove from marinade and put shrimp on the skewers, 3-4 per skewer. Place on hot grill and grill until pink, roughly 2-3 minutes. Turn and grill a few minutes more. (Same with broiling)

While the shrimp is marinating, prepare the salad ingredients and place the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Arrange salad on 4 plates. remove shrimp from skewers and plate over salad. Dress each salad with dressing.

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Recipe: Beth’s Chili

Now that we’re through the holidays, let’s get back on track with some healthy food. Or if you are into it, something for the tailgate parties. Once again the trusty crockpot is coming out for this one. However this can be done on the stove. I made this recipe long before I was Paleo or even heard of such a thing. The short story was I hated beans in chili. Absolutely hated it (ducks from the pro-bean people)  I tried Pinto beans, black beans, white beans, and various combos of the above. No joy. So I decided to come up with my own version. There are two “secret ingredients” here – cocoa powder and instant espresso. Now I NEVER use instant coffee nor espresso to drink but it really gives a smoky note to chili that can’t be beat. If you see a jar in my kitchen you now know why. I will be working on a nightshade-free version of this soon so I can eat chili again, but in the meantime… Here you go!

Beth’s Chili (serves 8+)

  •     1.5 lbs ground turkey
  •     1 lbs ground beef
  •     4 large carrots, chopped
  •     4 stalks celery, chopped
  •     1 med. red bell (capsicum) peppers, chopped
  •     1 med. green pepper, chopped
  •     1 or 2 jalapenos, diced (seeded if you want to keep the spice down, or add the seeds for a kick)* OR 2 chipotle peppers diced
  •     1 large onion, chopped
  •     4 oz mushrooms, chopped
  •     6 cloves garlic, minced
  •     28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  •     1 can tomato paste
  •     2 cups beef stock
  •     2 Tbsp. chili powder, homemade if possible
  •     1 Tbsp adobo sauce (from the chipotles) **
  •     1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  •     1 Tbsp. instant coffee

1 .Brown off the meat in a skillet with a bit of oil and 1 Tbsp of the chili powder . Set aside
2. While the meat is browning, chop onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and peppers and layer in the crock pot. Put the meat on top of the vegetables. Add the mushrooms.
3. Pour the tomato paste in, followed by the crushed tomatoes and stock.
4. Cook on low for 8-12 hours. The longer it cooks the better the flavor. This also freezes extremely well.

* For you heat freaks out there, feel free to sub out the jalapenos for your favorite peppers. I prefer jalapenos, or chipotle peppers

** If you don’t happen to have adobo sauce, you can throw a quick and dirty together by taking 1 Tbsp catsup, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and a 1/4 tsp cumin

If you are a legume eater, feel free to throw some in! It will certainly stretch the chili even further. If you are following Paleo leave all legumes out.

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Recipe: 3 minute scallops

Ok, so I’ve done a couple of slow cooker recipes, now I’m going to post something for days when I’m hungry and in a hurry! What do you do when you are really hungry and ready to blow off your diet (Paleo or otherwise) in favor of junk or a quick meal? My go-to is seafood and in particular scallops. I love those wonderful little bivalves. I appreciate that not everyone can eat shellfish, so I will show how to do this with white fish as well (scroll down to the bottom).

I know I tend to forget about how quick and easy scallops are to cook. Honest. They don’t have to turn into those awful rubbery things you see in restaurants. The biggest problem is people tend to overcook them. Scallops only take 3 to 4 minutes. 🙂 Literally you can have dinner on the table in under 10 minutes. You can use fresh scallops. I often buy frozen scallops and put them in the fridge to thaw. If you use thawed scallops, use them within 3 days or they tend to go off.

3 Minute Scallops.

(serves two meal sized portions or two appetizer sized portions)

1lbs scallops

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

Place the scallops on a couple of paper towels. Press down firmly on all of them to squeeze the excess water out of them. Place on cutting board and season with salt and pepper.

Place a skillet on med-high heat and add the coconut oil. Give the pan a minute to heat up. You want the pan hot but not smoking. (Burnt coconut oil is really nasty). Place the scallops in the pan. Let them sit for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Then flip them over. They should have a nice brown crust on them. Let them cook for another minute or so. Serve them with some sautéed veggies or a salad.

Variations: I use all sort of stuff on the scallops. Lemon juice, Old Bay Seasoning, thyme are all good choices. I’ve also gotten fancy and after they are cooked, I’ll use  coconut aminos (You can use wheat free tamari or even soy sauce if you aren’t Paleo) with some citrus to make a very tasty sauce for them.

10 minute fish

(serves 2)

Yes, you read that right. White fish takes at most 10 minutes to cook.  You still want some texture. Over 10 minutes the fish dries out and doesn’t just flake, it self destructs.

2 4 or 5 oz white fish (cod, tilapia, haddock)

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

seasoning of choice

Pat the fish dry with paper towels. You want the fish to be as dry as possible. Using a brush or your fingertips, massage some olive oil onto the fish and add seasoning. Old bay, smoked paprika, lemon-pepper seasoning, thyme, or rosemary  are all excellent choices. My go-to is smoked paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Heat a pan with the 1/2 Tbsp oil in a skillet over med-high heat.

When the oil is starting to shimmer and the pan is hot, carefully add the fish. After a couple of minutes, you will see the fish start to go opaque on the sides.

When the fish hits this stage and can be moved in the pan, flip the fish and cook for another couple of minutes.

Plate with your choice of veggies or salad. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Butternut Squash Lasagna

So I posted last week about making some really incredible butternut lasagna in the crockpot and had several requests for the recipe.

Here it is; however, this one I can’t take any credit for. This came straight out of the book “Paleo Slow Cooking” by Chrissy Gower. I’ve been a big fan of her slow cooker recipes and have tested several. This one has been a big hit here. The one main alteration I made was I didn’t have sausage, but had ground turkey in the freezer, so it won out. Feel free to use whatever ground meats you would like. The sausage ideally is ground up spiced pork that you remove the casing from, but you could use the more formed sausage and chop it up. I haven’t tried freezing this, but I would guess it will freeze really well. I also added some additional veggies, since I had some on hand.

So without further ado…

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (about 2-3 small carrots)
  • 1 cup yellow onions, chopped (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped (about 2-3 small zucchinis)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used a green pepper)
  • 1 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lbs Italian sausage
  • 28 oz organic crushed tomatoes
  • 28 oz whole peeled tomatoes with juice
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano or 4Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil or 2 Tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic pepper
  • 1 butternut squash

1. Place olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot on medium heat
2. Add carrots, onions, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are tender.
3. While the vegetables are cooking, brown the beef and the sausage on medium heat in a separate skillet until fully cooked.
4. Add cooked beef and sausage mixture to the vegetables in the soup pot
5. Add the remaining ingredients except for the butternut squash, mix well, and simmer for 30 minutes.
6. While the sauce simmers, peel, halve, and scoop out the seeds of the butternut squash. Cut the cleaned squash lengthwise in one-quarter to one-half inch thick strips resembling lasagna noodles. They don’t have to be perfect; remember that it’s a casserole. You can also cut the squash into semicircles if you prefer
7. In the slow cooker, ladle a layer of the meat sauce, then evenly spread the squash slices on top of the meat sauce. Continue to alternate meat sauce and squash slices until you have reached at least four layers or more. Fewer layers run the risk of burning.
8 Cover and cook on low for four to six hours.

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Recipe: Paleo Beef Stew

Hi all! I’ve been hearing the cry for some healthy meals and I’m here to try to help.

It’s that time of year again – cool weather means the end of the salad cravings and the start of the warm comfort foods. Growing up, beef stew (or meat, potatoes, and carrots it was called) was a staple in our house. It was quick and easy, and was always filling. It’s always been a near, dear, go to recipe for fall and winter months. Going Paleo didn’t mean giving it up, just simply altering it a bit.

The recipe below is mine, with a bit of a nod from Mark’s Daily Apple recipe. His addition of the rosemary and vinegar was amazing! It definitely works well to replace the Worcestershire sauce and other gluten-y, non Paleo flavorings I used to add. Feel free to adjust for your own dietary restrictions/preferences.

Paleo Beef Stew – Slow cooker version (yields 8-10 one cup servings depending on amount of meat and water)

  • 3lbs pot roast (chuck, shoulder, whatever isn’t too fatty or grisly)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • handful chopped kale (stems removed) or spinach
  • 8oz shitake mushrooms (you can use button or baby bellas, but shitakes are specifically anti-inflammatory)
  • 2 cups beef stock (homemade if possible, but Kitchen Basic Unsalted is a great gluten free option)
  • 4″ sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Place the onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the meat on top. I don’t brown it off, I simply chuck it in there. Pour in the stock and vinegar. Drop in the rosemary. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Notice the lack of salt? This is on purpose. I personally don’t add salt or pepper til the very end of the cooking cycle of stews and soups because the soup/stew can over-reduce leading to a very salty taste. You can always add salt but you can’t take it back out. *grin*I also don’t bother browning the meat. In this case it doesn’t really do much for the texture and only marginally affects taste. It’s also a major time saver. But feel free to brown the meat if you have the time/inclination.
This stew freezes amazingly well and can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. So this is one that you can certainly cook 8-10 portions and keep back for those days when you are too busy or too tired to cook and need something fast.