Category Archives: side dish

Black and Bleu Broccoli

The husband loves bleu cheese. I’m talking borderline fanatical… I could probably add bleu cheese to liver and onions and he wouldn’t care – he’d probably love it!

We’ve been attempting to eat more vegetables. Some of our favorite easy ones are grilled zucchini, sauteed asparagus, mashed cauliflower and broccoli. Recently, we tried beets… they still need work.

broccoli_ingredients

Our favorite way to eat broccoli is steamed – a little melted cheese and butter never hurt either. My mom makes a casserole using crushed Ritz crackers in the topping. Almond flour isn’t quite the same, but it works.

I’m sure this is a recipe many people could throw together on their own. It is very simple, but worthy of documenting here. You never know when you may need something…

broccoli_cooked

BLACK AND BLEU BROCCOLI
serves 3-4

1 large bunch broccoli
1/4-1/2C bleu cheese (depending on desired level of intensity!)
1/4C almond flour
2TBSP butter – cut into small pieces
1/2tsp sea salt
1/2tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Cut broccoli into manageable pieces (florets and stems if desired). Steam for 8-9 minutes until knife easily pierces stem. Place broccoli into 8×8 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt/pepper and then spread bleu cheese and butter pieces over top and then almond flour last. Bake for 8-10mins until cheese and butter are melted. Serve hot.

This one can be changed up for almost any cheese you want. Sometimes we use 1 to 1 1/2C shredded cheddar. I bet havarti would be good too!
Enjoy!

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“Mock”sgiving – Cranberry-Orange Sauce

We never, ever, had homemade cranberry sauce at our table growing up. I think I remember the can-shaped jelly slices alternated with pineapple slices… I can only remember eating the pineapple.

cranberry ingredients

When we were planning our first Thanksgiving, the husband insisted on cranberry sauce. Once we understood each other, I realized he wanted a dish made-from-scratch. So, off I went to Google Search.

All the recipes required a lot of sugar. But, since I didn’t know any better at the time, I followed the instructions. Not bad tasting, but that amount of sugar these days would probably kill me.

cranberry cooking

I can definitely tell my tastes are changing. I find now that honey adds more to the depth of flavor than just sugary sweetness and am really enjoying using honey instead of refined sugar.

If you haven’t splurged on some ‘varietal honeys’, you should really consider it. When bees produce honey from one certain flower, the flavor becomes very distinctive. We highly recommend Sourwood honey. According to the folks at Savannah Bee Company, Sourwood has the lowest glucose content of all the mono-flower honeys. It is the only honey that can actually age and improve in flavor. Also, due to the low sugar content, it does not crystallize (well, at least not for 40-50 years).

If you’re ever in Savannah, stop and see them. They offer free tastings, body care products and are full of information. You can purchase all their products online and I’ve seen some honey in Fresh Market stores.

cranberry sauce chicken

CRANBERRY-ORANGE SAUCE
makes about 2 cups

12oz package cranberries
1C orange juice
1/2C water
1/2C – 2/3C Honey (amount depends on preference of tartness)
1/4tsp sea salt

Rinse and sort cranberries – pull out bad ones. Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Cover and cook on medium-high for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover once the “popping” stops and reduce to desired thickness. Serve warm or cold.

cranberry chicken plated

This is an easy recipe to make the day before and allow you to reduce the ‘day of’ cooking. I served this over chicken and it was delicious – hopefully the turkey will be as good!

Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts CAN Taste Good! Who knew?!

I’ve now eaten more Brussels sprouts in the past month, than the rest of my life! I do not expect many people to actually try this. But just know that they can be good. I’m excited to say that I like Brussels sprouts. It may be that my tastes are changing or maybe I just found more evidence supporting the fact that bacon can make anything taste good!

I am an avid Cooks Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen reader/watcher. A couple weeks ago, just before I started the SCD, my husband surprised me with The New Best Recipe cookbook. It’s huge, over 1000 pages and recipes!

Initially, I got a bit depressed thinking how I should really send it back, because there won’t be anything in there I can cook for a while. But, I was wrong. They cover extensive chapters on different meats, veggies, fruit and regular baking stuff (if you can).

So, we decided to start by experimenting with some vegetables we would usually avoid. [Eventually I’m gonna make that gardening thing happen and I want to grow what we like and know how to cook it too!] When I got home the next weekend, the husband had bought some Brussels sprouts! Talk about stepping up to a challenge…

Cooks Illustrated gives 3 recipe options in the book. The first option is to braise sprouts in water and season with salt/pepper and butter. Sounded a bit boring. The second option started the same by braising in water, but you also made an apple cider reduction and topped with chopped bacon! The final option they deemed the biggest success, but it involves heavy cream. Since cream is on the illegal list, we scratched off option 3.

I cooked them the next night following option 2 and the overall flavor was a bit lacking. The apple cider reduction was good, but it didn’t penetrate the entire sprout. Bacon is always good, so no problems there! We made some notes and deemed them a moderate success.

I decided to give them another shot tonight and had much better results. Instead of braising them in water, I went ahead and braised them in the cider. Essentially, killing 2 birds – cooking sprouts and reducing liquid in 1 pan!  The flavor was much more balanced and I could taste the sweetness all the way in the center of the sprouts. The bacon compliments the dish without taking over the flavors and adds good texture.

One thing I love about Cooks Illustrated is that they are really good at trying to debunk food myths and explaining the details (i.e. why/when to use a specific cut of meat). For sprouts, they found that it is not really necessary to slice an “X” in the stem end. It doesn’t speed up the cooking time – it actually just wastes it! Also, if you have a choice for small or large sprouts – choose small, they are more tender and have better flavor.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
(from Cooks Illustrated – The New Best Recipe 2012)

1-1.5 lbs Brussels sprouts (trim stem ends and remove damaged leaves)
1.5C apple cider
1/2 lb bacon
salt/pepper to taste
need wide bottom pan/skillet with lid

Cook bacon in pan until brown and crispy. Set aside on paper towel to drain. Remove all but 1TBSP of left over bacon grease.
bsproutscooking
Carefully add apple cider to pan and scrape up bacon bits. Bring cider to boil for 1min. Add Brussels sprouts; cover and reduce heat to simmer for 8-10mins until tender – stir often. Meanwhile, rough chop crispy bacon for garnish. Remove from heat when sprouts are fork tender to center. Serve warm with sauce and bacon garnish.
bsproutsdone

Black Beans with a Kick!

A couple weeks ago, the husband and I went out for a quick anniversary dinner. We decided to be frugal and use a gift card we’d been meaning to use for Chili’s restaurant. I had gone online a few days prior to see what sort of gluten/grain/refined sugar-free stuff they might have. It can be very challenging finding foods that meet all the limitations. I was pleasantly surprised to find an extensive PDF of allergy information. You can find it here.bbingredients

I got a grilled steak and shrimp combo with a side of broccoli and black beans. I had not had black beans in a really long time and thought they’d be a nice change. Boy was I right. I’ve been thinking about those black beans for 2 weeks now. This week I finally got around to making them.

Following the directions for cooking black beans in Nourishing Traditions, I mixed my dry beans to soak.
bbmixedupbb12hrsoak
The photo on the left is immediately after mixing; photo on the right is after 12 hours of soaking.

According to Nourishing Traditions (pages 495-496), legumes must be prepared carefully to “neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors” and make them easier to digest.

To prepare black beans: Combine 1 Cup dry beans, 2 Cups filtered water and 1 TBSP lemon juice (or whey). Allow beans to soak 12-24hours. Drain and rinse beans. Add beans to 2Qt pan and cover with 6 Cups water. Bring to boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4-8 hours. Add water as necessary.
Note: Be gentle when stirring beans, they will break down easily.

BLACK BEANS

Prepared black beans
2tsp Chili powder
1/2tsp cumin
1/2tsp garlic powder
1tsp honey
1 fresh jalapeno, diced
1TBSP fresh garlic
salt/pepper to taste
1TBSP butter

Toppings: fresh diced tomatoes, red onions and cilantro

When the black beans are finished cooking and start getting a little thick, add the spices, jalapeno, garlic and butter. [You can leave out the jalapeno completely if you don’t like too much spice, or grade the intensity by leaving out some of the seeds.] Cook for another 30mins, adding water as needed for consistency.

Top as desired and serve warm.

bbfinished

yum! These are a bit of work, but so worth it! Enjoy!

Delicious and super easy weeknight dinner

Sorry, this was supposed to be posted last night, but I fell asleep sitting up with my computer in my lap…

Last week felt really long. Heck, it was long. I put in way too much overtime, delivered a couple challenging prosthetics, was a speaker for a physical therapy continuing education course sponsored by my office and worked as an OT both Saturday and Sunday (I hate public speaking, but that’s a whole other post).

I had planned to cook an actual meal last week; but, with all the late nights, it just didn’t happen. Need-less-to-say, I ate a lot of scrambled eggs. Who wants to see a post on that…?

In an effort to utilize what food was already in my apartment, I made my favorite go-to meal. Roast chicken and vegetables, yum. Again, I was craving something starchy… enter butternut squash.

It can be so hard to cook for 1. When I’m away from home I find I cook for 4 and have great leftovers for lunch all week.

I have really come to like squash! My mom never thought she’d see the day I’d eat cooked vegetables, but here it is!

My favorite part about this meal is how simple and versatile it is. I use this recipe for roasting whole chickens or just parts, as seen below (even my Thanksgiving turkey gets a close variation). It works great for all of them (just adjust your cooking times!).

If you use option 2, feel free to add additional chopped herbs or fresh garlic to your taste. I’ve used both rosemary and parsley before and it’s fantastic. Fresh garlic can work well too, but I find it burns too quickly if on top of the chicken.

Don’t get too jealous of my fancy dinner-ware. I save my best paper china for my photo-ops…

dinnerandlunch

ROAST CHICKEN

3-4 lbs chicken (with skin and bones)
2TBSP butter
1TBSP coconut oil
1tsp garlic powder
Salt/pepper to taste

There are two ways to do this. I usually base my decision on how dirty I feel like getting my hands and how many pieces I’m doing – whole bird, option 2; 8 thighs, option 1.

Option 1: Melt butter and coconut oil and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with salt/pepper and garlic.

Option 2: Combine softened butter and coconut oil and all seasonings. Separate skin from chicken by running fingers between skin and meat. Fill cavities under skin with seasoned butter mix.

Once chicken is prepared, bake at 350degrees until internal temperature reaches 165degrees. (Roughly: chicken thighs 30-40mins; whole bird 75-90mins).

roasted squash

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

1-2pound butternut squash
1TBSP butter
1TBSP coconut oil
Salt/pepper to taste

Peel and dice butternut squash. Melt butter and oil and pour over squash. Season with salt/pepper. Bake at 350degrees for 30-40mins. Use spatula to toss/rotate pieces every 10-15mins to keep from burning. Make sure to use a sheet pan with at least a little side edge – the squash can put out a bit of water.
Enjoy!

“Mock”-sgiving: Garlic and Onion Mashed Cauliflower

Right after we got married, my husband and I hosted my family for the Thanksgiving weekend. I was so nervous about getting everything right. I actually cooked a small mock Thanksgiving dinner in October to test my abilities. Looking back, I don’t know why I was really worried, my mom and I are usually in the kitchen together the entire time. We had a blast – as usual.

Recently, we started talking about holiday plans. I found myself getting discouraged about the upcoming holiday season. I kept thinking about how much I was going to miss my favorite holiday dishes. Of those recipes, 90% of them seem to fall on the SCD illegal list… Then I thought, lets turn it around – what a great time to find some new recipes and maybe introduce my family to some different dishes! So over the next few weeks, I’m going to be slowly trying new recipes to add to the Thanksgiving spread!

My mom found this one and passed it along. As usual, I forgot to take a picture until after we’d already dug in. So, if it looks like I tried to mound it again, I did. I’m gonna get better with the photo thing; its just gonna take time. I did not change much to this recipe at all. We are big cheese fans in our house. I did add a little Romano cheese to the blender to incorporate the flavor throughout. If you are following Paleo, just leave out the cheese. Also, I did not have coconut cream, so I substituted butter. You can’t go wrong with butter. This is a great side dish, quite inexpensive and could be my mashed potato substitute for Thanksgiving.

CAULIFLOWER MASH by kellymarie.yoder
CAULIFLOWER MASH, a photo by kellymarie.yoder on Flickr.

GARLIC AND ONION MASHED CAULIFLOWER

1 tbsp coconut creamer (or butter)
1 tsp salt
16 oz cauliflower
1 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic
5 oz onions

Cut cauliflower (florets and top portion of stalk-peeled if preferred) into similar sized pieces, roughly chop onion and peeled garlic. Add all 3 ingredients to steamer basket. Steam for 6-8 minutes or until very tender. Drain all water and put all ingredients into food processor. Process until smooth. Serve immediately. Top with grated cheese or paprika (optional).

Enjoy!