Thursday, March 13, 2014

Skinny Sneaky Greens Shepherd's Pie {Gluten Free and Paleo}

Here's a recipe for you just in time for Saint Patrick's Day! And it goes perfectly with all that beer you, errr, I plan to drink, but won't make you feel quite as guilty as that beer will. But first a little story about my history with shepherd's pie.

It wasn't until about three years ago that I even knew what shepherd's pie was. I had my first taste of shepherd's pie at a friends house on Saint Patrick's day and I was hooked. Something about the mix of meat and potatoes (Adam's favorite combination of foods). But me, I like the peas! Why do peas get such a bad rap? They really are quite delicious. I'll never get why people don't like to eat their peas.

 When Adam and I started eating paleo it was super simple to transition shepherd's pie into a paleo shepherd's pie by subbing mashed cauliflower for the potatoes. And while we have sort of made it a hobby of going to Irish / English restaurants on the hunt for the best shepherd's pie in town (there's not a lot to do where we live), I always come back to the conclusion that my shepherd's pie is the best.

But up until recently, I never really followed a recipe. I just kind of winged it. Then I came across my friend Gina's recipe from So Let's Hang Out and everything changed. It's perfection. I've made it quite a few times and I finally came up with a variation of it that I want to share with you! Gina mixes in kale and spinach to her cauli mash, but I keep getting mustard greens in my farmer's box and I needed to be a little bit sneakier to get Adam to eat those. So I chopped them small and added them to the meat. The same green veggie that Adam called "seaweed" and ate around the week before he happily ate in this shepherd's pie.

I hope you enjoy this sneaky greens, skinny shepherd's pie as much as Adam and I do. And it's paleo and gluten free! With this shepherd's pie this Saint Patrick's day you only have to feel guilty for all the beer you drink, not the food you eat!

Skinny Sneaky Greens Shepherd's Pie

Adapted from So Let's Hang Out 
6-8 Servings

1 pound grass-fed beef (if not using grass-fed use lean ground beef)
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch of mustard greens, chopped into tiny pieces (about 1 heaping cup chopped)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/ 4 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
dash of worcestershire
1 cup peas (thawed)

Cauli Mash:
1 large head cauliflower
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup greek yogurt*
1 tablespoon half and half*

*To make this truly paleo and dairy free sub 1/4 cup veggie or chicken broth or coconut milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

And olive oil to a large pan or dutch oven. Add chopped carrots and onions. Cook for about 10 minutes until onions are translucent. 

Once onions are translucent, add meat to the pan and brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drain any oil. With the grass-fed beef I just need to take a paper towel and blot some of the oil out of the pan. Add the chopped mustard greens and minced garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until they begin to wilt and garlic browns. Add the thyme, rosemary, paprika, dash of worcestershire, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1 cup beef broth. Mix well. 

Allow the mixture to cook down and the sauce to thicken, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. This is an important step! You will need to add salt to your liking. Add the peas and cook for 1 more minute.

While all this is happening, heat up a some water in a large pot with a steamer basket. Once water is boiling add the whole head of cauliflower. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes until very tender. 

Spread meat mixture in a medium sized glass baking pan or a large oven safe skillet.

Carefully remove steamed cauliflower and cut away leaves and large stems. Add cauliflower florets, along with small stems, to a food processor. Add butter (if using), salt, pepper, and greek yogurt or liquid of your choice. Again, you will want to make sure you add salt and pepper! Take the cauliflower for a whirl in the food processor, add additional liquid (half and half or whatever your preference) until a good consistency is reached. Mashed cauliflower will be thinner than regular mashed potatoes. 

Spread mashed cauliflower over meat mixture. Sprinkle with sweet paprika if desired.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes until top begins to turn golden. 

Enjoy the best shepherd's pie you've ever had packed with sneaky greens! 

Love, Luck, Happiness, and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

P.S. Last Saint Patty's Day Recipe - Colcannon with a Twist

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Paleo Copycat Orange Julius

Every other week I get a produce box from Abundant Harvest Organics. It's pretty awesome. Lately I've been getting a lot of oranges, and to be honest I don't really know what to do with them. I mean, the obvious answer is eat them, but I'm not really a fan of oranges just by themselves, plus peeling them is kinda annoying. I think I might be the only one that shares that sentiment, well besides Adam he hasn't made a move to peel an orange and pop it in his mouth. 

So our orange peeling laziness has resulted in an excess amount of oranges in our fruit drawer. The obvious answer was orange juice, but I wanted to take it step further. It's been years since I've had a frosty yummy Orange Julius. Remember those from the mall? Oh man, they were good. But probably packed with sugar and a bunch of other crap. So why not make one with simple, wholesome, paleo ingredients?

This is the real deal, creamy, orange-y, sweet, and delicious! I made it for Adam and then I drank most of it. Lucky for him we still have a ton of oranges.

Paleo Copycat Orange Julius 

1 serving

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (I used 1 1/2 oranges)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk from the can (not the box!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 -1 cup crushed ice

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice as needed to get the consistency you like.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies [Chickpea Cookies - Gluten / Grain Free]

Want to know the hardest part about food blogging? Let me start by telling you it's not the taste testing or the trying of new recipes or anything having to do with eating. But rather it's the planning when you can eat that tasty treat you just made. You see, cooking - specifically baking - urges hit me at the strangest times. Like when I'm three beers deep on a Saturday night during a The Following marathon and it may or may not be close to midnight.  

I mean, who doesn't crave some gooey delicious grain free chocolate peanut butter cookies made with chickpeas (or are they garbanzo beans!?) at midnight when mildly drunk and watching a show about a creepy murderer? In my mind midnight cookies are always a good thing. But... because you obviously need the most perfect wonderful photos of the most photogenic cookie (yeah, the one you just shoved into your drunk pie hole), cookies at midnight aren't always the best idea when it comes to food blogging. 

But I just had to share this recipe with you, like now. You will be shocked, like shocked your socks off kind of shocked, that these cookies contain chickpeas, no flour, no butter, and no refined sugar. They are the perfect healthy treat for when you craving something gooey, soft, and cookie dough like. Which brings me back to my original point. I wanted to show you the gooey delightfulness, but I had to wait for the sun to come back out. Damn sleeping sun. And by then my chocolate wasn't all melty and I had eaten over half the cookies. Yes, the most photogenic ones - they taste the best you know. So I tried to solve the problem by giving them a quick little jaunt in the microwave (please microwave haters cut me a break!) turns out the microwave dried them out and I couldn't get my gooey look (you win microwave haters, you win). 

So you only have one option. You must make these in order to fully understand the delicious soft gooey goodness that is chickpea cookies. 

Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies 

Makes about 16 - 18
adapted from Texanerin Baking 

1 - 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - should be 1 1/2 cups chickpeas. 
1/2 cup natural peanut butter or any other nut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used Grade B Pure Maple Syrup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
a pinch of salt 
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper. 

Drain and rinse your chickpeas. At this point I like to squeeze each chickpea between my fingers to remove the clear "skin" that is on them. It is simple to do but adds an extra 5 to 10 minutes of time. It is completely optional, but I find that taking the skins off makes the batter smoother. This left me with 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas. This is the amount you need. 

In a food processor or blender (I tried this in my mini food processor once and it was just too much for it to handle, so use a regular food processor or powerful blender) combine the chickpeas, peanut butter, maple syrup, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. 

Either pulse in your chocolate chips or fold them into the batter. Using slightly damp hands (this helps to keep the batter from sticking) roll batter into ping pong to golf ball sized balls. Try to keep the sizing consistent. Place on your baking sheet. You can squish them down a little bit if you want flatter cookies or keep them as balls. Bake for 10 minutes. They will get a little golden color, but you don't want to overbake them so you aren't looking for a deep golden color. You want them to be moist and gooey. 

Enjoy warm or at room temperature! Store in an airtight container on your counter. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Easy Artichoke Party Dip!

The opportunity to bring a dish to a party is simultaneously exciting and nerve wracking. Exciting because I love to share food. Nerve wracking because because I have to a make decision about what to bring and decisions aren't my strong suit. Should I make my baked ham and cheese sliders? Or maybe a delicious fruit pizza? My bacon wrapped shrimp always go over well. And my German potato salad is my absolute favorite for summer BBQs. But for the holidays, I want something warm, cheesy and delicious. Also, since my time management skills get even worse with the holidays rapidly approaching, making something that requires minimal effort but yields amazing results is pretty high on my wish list. 

This 4 ingredient recipe comes from my friend, Parisse. She brought it to my house for my holiday wreath decorating party and everyone gathered around and it and didn't move until it was gone. You could even make it paleo by using homemade mayonnaise. I simply had to give homemade mayo a try, despite the whole point of this appetizer being that it would have minimal prep time. I just can't help complicating things. I used Against All Grain's recipe from her cookbook. While it was overall pretty easy, it did take me two tries. I really should have paid more attention to the note about a small blender or food processor being key. My second batch turned out nice. I used a mix of roasted garlic avocado oil, walnut oil, and olive oil. Whether you choose to make your own mayo or use store bought, this dip is delicious and so easy to throw together when your indecision and time management skills get the best of you. 

Easy Artichoke Party Dip

Serves 6-10

1 14 oz can artichoke hearts
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles 
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 - 1 cup shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Drain artichoke hearts and roughly chop them up and place them in a small to medium baking dish. Add the green chiles, mayonnaise and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese. Mix well. Top mixture with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Turning up to broil in the last few minutes if you want the cheese to brown up more.

Serve with chips, pita chips, carrots, or whatever else you like! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lemon and Basil Roasted Cauliflower

I'm very bad at time management. Not something I would openly admit in a job interview, but we are all friends here and I trust you to keep my little secret. Plus, it's not that I really suck at time management per se... [Don't mind Adam shaking his head over here], it's more that I think I can accomplish an impossible amount in a short amount of time. Every morning I am convinced that I can sleep in till 7:00, take a shower, pet the dog, blow dry my hair, get back in bed to cuddle with the dog, check Facebok, put on makeup, pay some bills, walk the dog, make breakfast, and leave the house by 7:30 - no problem! And no matter how often this is proved wrong (every, single time), I continue to try. I like to call that tenacity.

One Sunday I decided to have Adam's parents over for dinner. A somewhat fancy dinner. Roast chicken, gravy, salad with homemade dressing, mashed potatoes, and some kind of side dish. So naturally, like anyone preparing for a busy day, I sleep in and finally get my butt moving around noon. (This is what happens when Adam has to work on the weekends.) I then decide that I have plenty of time to go to Cost Plus World Market and obsess over which place mats and cloth napkins to get for over an hour.  Then, of course, I decide I'll just swing by Lowes to pick up some supplies for grouting our tile backsplash in the kitchen, and while I'm in that neck of the woods I might as well swing by Trader Joe's, and after that, the pet store to return a collar I bought for Penny and then decided against (have I mentioned I'm not good at making decisions?). And then once I get home, at 3:30 mind you, I decide I have PLENTY of time to start grouting the backsplash project, cook dinner, and shower all before my in-laws arrive at 6:00. Easy peasy. I can get all that done in three hours, right? Wrong. Turns out grouting backsplash is really a project that you should set aside at least 4 hours for. And it's messy, so maybe you shouldn't do it when you need to use your kitchen to cook in immediately after. Or when you want to look presentable to your in-laws and you may or may not have left yourself enough time to shower.

I often find myself in these kinds of pickles. So, you see, saving time in the kitchen is sometimes very welcome for me. That's where Dorot comes in and their line of pre-packaged herbs. I needed a quick side dish to impress my not so vegetable-y inclined in-laws and was pretty sure I could turn a head of cauliflower fresh from my farmer's box into something they could dig, or at the very least try.

With the help of these cute little frozen cubes of chopped basil and garlic, I quickly turned a simple head of cauliflower into a roasted delight. Seriously, this was some tasty cauliflower. Outside of my cauliflower crust pizza, you probably never knew cauliflower could taste this good. My mother-in-law even went back for seconds and was shocked at herself! (Now we know who Adam gets it from!)

Lemon and Basil Roasted Cauliflower 

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 head of cauliflower
1 cube of Dorot chopped basil
1 cube of Dorot crushed garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
squeeze of lemon juice - probably about 1/2 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more or less to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste 
chopped chives as a garnish, if desired

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse and dry cauliflower. Cut cauliflower into florets, trying to maintain somewhat even sized florets. 

Over very low heat in small saucepan, add 1 cube of Dorot chopped basil and 1 cube of Dorot crushed garlic. Add olive oil. Heat until herb cubes break up, stirring often. Turn off heat and add lemon zest and lemon juice to olive oil mixture.

In a large bowl toss cauliflower florets with olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Place cauliflower in a single layer on a tin foil lined baking sheet.

Roast in pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes. Toss once during cooking time. I like mine a little bit crispy so I lean towards 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped chives if desired. Serve warm.

*This post is sponsored by Dorot, but all opinions expressed are my own. 
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