A friend of mine is doing the 30 day paleo challenge. We have been eating pretty much paleo for the past few months, and I have learned a few things along the way. Since she knew how well we were doing on the new “diet”, and how much better we have felt, she asked for some recipes to help her out. I of course shared them, and got pretty excited about it. D.J. says that I Leslie Knope’d it… haha! Anyways, this is the basis of that e-mail I sent her. Hope you enjoy it and I hope it helps!
So I was thinking about what we eat on a normal paleo basis, that is pretty easy to make, and doesn’t take that long. My biggest piece of advice with this challenge is to take a couple hours when you can, and prep all of your food for the week. I find eating paleo challenging because when I have to prep and think of a meal at dinner time, and then actually have to think outside my comfort zone of grains and dairy – I tend to cop out and make something completely non-paleo, or we cheat and eat out. So, when its prepped, at least for me, I have more time to slow down and think about what to do and how not to cheat… anyway, now that I’ve bored you LOL these are some recipes:
Bacon wrapped… ANYTHING. Blanch your veggies in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes, and then take them out and let them cool. Wrap the veggies up, and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes… But keep your eyes on them, and turn a couple times to make sure that the bacon doesn’t burn and it cooks evenly. Half cooked bacon = unhappy Lindsie LOL.
- For asparagus, wrap three or four skinny spears or 2 big spears together.
- For sweet potatoes, cut into ½” chunks partially boil, and wrap.
- For zucchini, make them look like bacon-wrapped scallops. Cut into 1” pieces, and wrap. They will get really crispy on the top and bottom of the zucchini too, and creamy on the inside.
Sweet potato and ginger hash. Cut taters into ¼” pieces and partially boil. Set aside. Chop 1 red pepper, 1” ginger, grated, 1 garlic clove, minced, 1 tbsp fresh parsley, and squeeze of lime (after its cooked). Over medium heat, heat evoo, or coconut oil and add potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and toss around the pan for about 5 minutes. Add red pepper, and cook another few minutes, until the sweet potatoes start to crisp up. Add garlic and ginger, and cook until you smell them. Once you smell it, turn off the heat, add parsley, and a squeeze of lime over the top and stir. Serve with salmon, pork chops or even for breakfast with some eggs and bacon!
Mahi Mahi lettuce cups… aka tacos. Marinate the mahi mahi in ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 1/8 cup tequila, juice of 1 lime, 2 tbsp fresh cilantro or ½ tbsp. dried, lime zest, 1 jalapeno, sliced, ½ red onion, sliced, 2 tbsp evoo, salt and pepper for 30 minutes to 8 hours. Cook in oven at 400 degrees until white and flaky… I’m not sure how long – it depends on the size you get. Usually a decent size filet takes 10-15 minutes. Serve with guacamole, and either fresh shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts or a “slaw” of cabbage (or brussels sprouts), broccoli and zucchini – just grate it into fine shreds…. Or buy the bag from the grocery store and a squeeze of fresh lime. Add some hot sauce too if you like it spicy.
Guacamole is super easy. I usually only make enough for what I’m going to eat that day because it turns brown, and mushy and is nasty. This recipe is enough to serve with the mahi mahi tacos above. 1 avocado, diced in the skin of the avocado… use your paring knife and make slices vertically and horizontally then use a spoon and scoop the yummy out, ½ tomato, seeded and diced, ¼-1/2 jalapeno depending on how spicy you like it, 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, ¼ red onion, minced, 1 small clove garlic, minced, 1 tsp evoo, 2-3 tsp red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, 1 lime, juiced. Mash avocado with a fork, and add the remaining ingredients and stir until it looks like guacamole.
Make fruit salsas too. I like mango salsa the best. Dice 1 mango, 1 tomatillo, ½ jalapeno, 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, 1 tbsp evoo, ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, ½ tomato, seeded and diced, 1 small clove garlic, ¼ red onion, minced 1 tsp cumin, and 1 lime, juiced. Mix it up, and let it sit for a little bit covered in the fridge.
Trail mix is a great snack. Buy nuts, seeds and dried fruit like almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, pistachios, cashews, craisins, dried mango, raisins etc. in bulk. Make different mixes of what you are in the mood for, and toss the nuts and seeds in a small pan with ½ tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves, 1 tbsp brown sugar (or honey), and a pinch of salt. Toss it around until you can smell the nuts and the spices. Your nose will let you know when it’s done. Remove from heat, add fruit, and enjoy! You don’t necessarily need to toast the nuts, but it adds a pretty great flavor.
Make fruit crisps. Cut up 4 cups of the fruit of your choice, apples, strawberries, rhubarb, peaches and toss with 1tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt and ¼ cup brown sugar, raw sugar, coconut sugar, or honey. Pour into a pie plate and set aside. Chop up 1 cup nuts of choice (almonds and pecans work best), and mix with ¼ cup melted coconut oil and 1-1 1/2 cups almond flour (make your own by food processing almonds until flour like consistency, then passing through a sieve) and mix. Top fruit mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden brown and crispy.
You can still have pasta. Switch up your regular pasta with zucchini, summer squash and use a vegetable peeler, and go straight down the fruit, into long pieces. Stop when you get to the seeds. Save the core of the zucchini in a freezer bag, and stick it in the oven to use when you make vegetable stocks. Quickly sautee in a pan with evoo for 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini “pasta” becomes soft, and wilts down. Add 1 clove of chopped garlic, and a splash of white wine, or chicken stock. Steve with pesto. You can even add grilled chicken, sliced or whole shrimp. For the shrimp, season with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for about a minute, or until the shrimp just start to turn pink. Then add the zucchini, and finish the pasta like above. Switch up the zucchini to eggplant, and serve with a tomato based pasta sauce for a take on eggplant parmesan.
Pesto is really easy to make, and you don’t just have to add basil and pinenuts. Use this ratio, and use what you have on hand to make it. I use combinations of herbs and greens sometimes like parsley and spinach or sage and kale. 2 cups herbs/greens, ¾ cup nuts or seeds, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup vinegar (usually red wine), and ½ cup evoo. In food processor hop nuts or seeds and garlic until very fine. Add herbs/greens and puree. Slowly drizzle in evoo, until combined. I use my mini-prep to make pesto, because it goes bad quickly too, and doesn’t freeze very well.
Frittatas can be made in a big pie type, or in a muffin tin for mini muffin frittatas on the go. Mix 6 eggs with ¼ cup water, 1 cup meat of choice, cooked and chopped (bacon, ham, sausage etc.), ½-1 cup greens/herbs of choice (spinach, broccoli, zucchini), salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes for mini muffins and 20-30 for a large pan. If you’re using a big pan, grease and oven safe pan with 1 tbsp evoo, and add egg mixture. Cook over medium-high until it starts to form on the bottom, and then transfer to the oven to bake.
Kabobs are easy too. Skewer different meats on individual kabobs, and different veggies on their own kabobs, and marinate in 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup evoo, salt, pepper, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp each thyme, rosemary, marjoram (optional) and oregano. Or an Italian salad dressing of your choice. I use chopsticks for my skewers, they don’t stab you, and you can just compost them or throw them out. Marinate for about 30 minutes to overnight, and grill, or cook on a sheet tray until they are done. I like to skewer the veggies separate from the meat because it all cooks at different temperatures, and this way everything cooks evenly.
Lastly, spruce up your salads. Add fresh green veggies like broccoli, and cabbage, and zucchini and Brussels sprouts by grating them, or “juillaineing” them. It mixes in well with the lettuces, and adds a ton of flavor. Add nuts, seeds, dried fruit, fresh fruit and make your own dressings. Use a ratio of ½ cup oil to 2 tbsp vinegar and ½ tbsp. mustard for creamy dressings and ½ cup oil, ½-1/3 cup vinegar (based on how acidic you like it) with 3 tbsp chopped onion with salt and pepper for a basic vinaigrette. Puree in fruit like strawberries to the dressing too to make it more fun.
I hope that this helps a little bit. Let me know what you think of the recipes. I like to mix up different vinegars and herbs – I usually base it by what is in season, so that is why I quoted the recipes with ratios. Use whatever you have in your pantry and fridge, and have fun creating recipes.
Corey’s participation in the 30 Day Paleo Challenge made me want to try it too… We’ve been eating mostly paleo for a while, but I am excited for an actual “challenge”.
Wish me luck!