Zucchini Pasta with Sundried Tomato & Mushroom Cream Sauce

I am obesessed with my new spiralizer. photo 5OBSESSED.  The combo of TJ’s organic zucchini at a great price, my general love of sauces, and my fancy new sub-twenty-dollars gadget is just too good to be true. One of my favorite people came over to cook dinner with me the other night and I was craving sundried tomatoes (weird, I know) so we threw a bunch of yummy things in a skillet and ended up with a recipe that is going to be a staple in my kitchen.

BONUS: This dish comes three ways! What?! I’m out of control.

  1. MEATLY: The first time around I roasted a chicken, carved it (ok, Sam carved it cause it still freaks me out), and added the chopped meat to the sauce. We also used chicken broth from the roast.
  2. VEGGIE: The second time I used veggie broth and no meat. It was still incredibly savory, and Sam actually preferred it this way. Or maybe he just wanted to eat the chicken on its own 🙂
  3. VEGAN: I haven’t vetted this version yet, but when I do I’ll update. In general I’ve had amazing success with cashew cream in lieu of heavy cream, and I think this would be another great recipe to use it. I’d substitute nutritional yeast for the parm, but would probably just sprinkle some over the top of each serving for that extra flavor in lieu of mixing it in to the sauce. The parm isn’t necessary for thickening – the tapioca flour is pretty effective in that department!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 c. chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tsbp. fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. tapicoa flour
  • fresh ground salt & pepper
  • 3 to 4 organic zucchini, spiralized

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Directions

  1. Spiralize your zucchini! So fun!!
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add and heat 1 Tbsp. oil/butter.
  3. Sauté shallots until soft, then add garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices.
  4. Stir in the sundried tomatoes, cook for 1 min.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Whisk in the cream, basil, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.
  7. Whisk in the grated parmesan. Keep whisking until it is completely melted into the sauce.
  8. Don’t toss that whisk in the sink yet! Add 1 tsp. of the tapioca flour and whisk until it is mixed in so that it doesn’t clump. If you’d like the sauce to be thicker, add more. Two teaspoons was perfect for me. If you find that you are an overzealous thickener-er, stir in some milk or water 🙂 This may or may not have happened the first time.
  9. Heat another large skillet or pot, add and heat 1 Tbsp. oil, and throw in the zucchini pasta. I cooked it until it was just warmed through so it had an al dente quality – didn’t want it to get too mushy!
  10. Plate a serving of noodles and smother with creamy, savory perfection. Grate a little fresh parm over the top if you’re feeling fancy. Serves 4!

Additional Spiralizer Hints

  • After spiralizing zucchini, put it in a colander and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. This will sweat the zucchini, pulling out a lot of the juice so the final “pasta” isn’t as watery. Let it sit and drain for about 30 minutes, then pat dry between clean kitchen towels.photo 1
  • Don’t cook the zucchini and the sauce together – the zucchini releases a lot of water and your perfectly thickened sauce is all of a sudden a sad watery puddle 😦
  • Here’s a link to the spiralizer I bought off of Amazon. A lot of the negative reviews for various models were from customers who attempted to spiralize really hard foods like carrots. Sounds like it is safest to stick with the softer stuff like zucchini and summer squash as the blades are not super heavy duty.
  • Use a mix of zucchini pasta with spaghetti squash or summer squash for some variety in texture and “noodle” size.
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Pork Lettuce Wraps with Sriracha Mayo & Heirloom Tomatoes

An original creation by Sam! I gotta say, one of the best things about eating meat again is that Sam is super motivated to cook all the time, it’s amazing. He came up with these just by rooting around the fridge and throwing some things together with the leftovers from our Fresh Ham Roast. We’ve had them several times since and I haven’t changed a thing, which is rare!

Directions

  1. Thaw some frozen leftovers from the Fresh Ham Roast (or any pork roast) in the fridge overnight.
  2. Cut into small pieces and put in a microwave-safe bowl. If you have saved juices from the roast, pour some of the juice over the pork. Microwave for 30 sec to 1 min, until warmed through but not hot.
  3. Use a piece of romaine, butter lettuce, iceberg, etc. Wash and pat dry, then lay on a plate.
  4. Fill with however much pork you want! Make sure to get plenty of the amazing marinade.01a2dc199d24d63fe1300ad8ea17fb0decd65764b7
  5. Top with sliced red onion and wedges of baby heirloom tomato. Any tomatoes would work fine, but we love the extra flavor of the heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joes.0146a970e4cd083ca0e37da85f9ab1644e8e75d840
  6. In a small bowl, mix 1 part Sriracha with 1 part mayo. We go a little heavy on the Sriracha.
  7. Drizzle the sauce over the wrap and enjoy!0140492f80ec5dde2024528312d73f9de724032a64

Fresh Ham Roast

This was so good that it will be hard to venture out and try a different marinade for the next roast. This was the kind of roast where you walk in the house and your knees buckle a little just from the amazing smell. After the incredible first meal, Sam carved it and we froze it in a few different serving sizes. Between the leftover meat, the juice, and the fat, I think we used this one roast for probably five more recipes! I’m kind of salivating just thinking about it. Might be time to get another one of these going…

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  • 7-8 lb fresh ham
  • 4 Tbsp dried rubbed sage
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seed
  • 2 Tbsp asise seed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine sage, garlic, fennel, anise, thyme, salt and maple syrup in a blender or mini food processor. Blend until a thick puree forms.
  3. Place ham on a roasting pan and smother all sides with the puree.
  4. Insert a meat thermometer in the deepest part of the meat, but not against the bone.
  5. Place in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.  When the timer goes off, turn the oven down to 300F.  Continue cooking for about 2 more hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°.
  6. Remove from oven and let it rest 5-10 minutes before you cut into it.  Enjoy!

Recipe credit: thepaleomom.com

Sweet Potato Jalapeño Biscuits & Coconut Sausage Gravy

Our half-of-a-pig delivery came with some delicious breakfast sausage and Sam found a recipe for biscuits and gravy immediately. He has made this a couple times now and it is our new go-to breakfast recipe for when we have guests. Rave reviews so far! The combination is just decadent, it is hard to believe that it is so healthy. The kick of the fresh jalapeño is the perfect compliment to the sweet biscuits and gravy.

This was another amazing find from PaleOMG.com. Now that we are eating pork and beef, our Google searches always include the keywords “paleo” or “paleomg.” We have yet to not absolutely love one of her recipes.

Biscuit Ingredients

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes (about 2 cups mashed)01c8b0d378e2c72d7fce376d3f4f053763026b9472
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 4-5 shrimp, cooked, diced small (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat or butter, melted
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly diced
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

Biscuit Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Pork holes in your sweet potato with a fork and wrap in a damp paper towl. Microwave for 8 minutes, turn over, and microwave for 4 minutes or until completely cooked.
  3. Peel sweet potato, place in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  4. Add the eggs and mix well with the mashed sweet potato. Then add in the bacon fat or butter and mix well.
  5. Add your dry ingredients: coconut flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. I sift in the coconut flour as it tends to clump. Mix well.
  6. Finally add your diced cooked shrimp (optional) and jalapeños. Mix well.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop biscuits on the sheet. Use an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Try to make them all equal in size so they cook the same.
  8. Place in oven and bake for 22-27 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes.

While those bad boys are baking, whip up your delicious gravy!

Gravy Ingredients
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  • 1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour (or arrowroot powder)
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • ⅛ tsp smoke paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Gravy Directions

  1. Preheat a cast iron pan. Add the breakfast sausage to the pan and cook until you no longer see any pink, breaking up the sausage as it cooks.
  2. Once meat is cooked through, remove with slotted spoon and set to the side.
  3. Pour the coconut milk into the pan and whisk for a minute while it heats up.
  4. Slowly add in the coconut powder, whisking constantly to break up lumps, until the gravy has your desired consistency.
  5. Whisk in the parsley, garlic powder, sage, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  6. Add breakfast sausage back in. Taste and salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Plate two biscuits and smother in a generous scoop of gravy. Grind a little fresh pepper over the top and sprinkle with parsley for a splash of color!

For my vegan/vegetarian friends, I’ve made the gravy with Morningstar breakfast sausage and it turned out great! And also for my vegan friends, obviously the gravy can be used with any vegan biscuits, and I also found this recipe for Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits that looks pretty promising. If you try it (or a different one), let me know how they turn out!

Recipe credit: PaleOMG.com

Sam’s Zucchini Benedict

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This is Sam’s favorite breakfast of all time (so far), and since I get a recipe named after me, I supposed my primary tester should get one too. This is a pretty hearty breakfast for having no bread – lots of egg and butter, fresh organic zucchini, and a potentially fantastic bacon vessel. Yes, bacon. Some day when we are eating meat again (which sounds like will not be that far off) I am going to put so much bacon on this. Responsibly-farmed, lived-a-happy-life bacon of course 🙂

BACON UPDATE: Can confirm – this is excellent with bacon. As if there was any doubt that it would be.

I have a serious addiction to eggs Benedict, and I am extremely picky when it comes to Hollandaise. A great Hollandaise seems to be a diamond in the rough, and I could count for you on one hand the restaurants that have actually impressed me. Every time I see eggs Benedict on a breakfast menu I want to order it, and every time Sam says no, reminding me that I am disappointed every time. Then I get mad at him, because I’m probably hangry by this point, and all I really want is some delish eggs Benedict. Then someone else orders it, I try a bite, and…damn. He’s right again. I secretly breathe a sigh of relief that I did not order it, then maaaaybe I’ll admit it to Sam a couple days later.  Anywho, I made a pretty legit version of Hollandaise a couple years ago with a double boiler, and it is time-intensive and difficult to get just the right thing. This discouraged me from using it at home. Then recently I discovered that – and stay with me here – making Hollandaise with a blender is a thing. Yes, it sounds sketchy! Yes, I was SUPER skeptical. And yes, it is super delicious. It takes about three minutes to make and even keeps well in the fridge.

Next roadblock: We don’t eat bread at home! English muffins out the window. How do you have a delish Benedict with no bread? Zucchini to the rescue! This recipe for zucchini fritters is very savory and takes advantage of the leftover egg whites from making the Hollandaise sauce. Fun fact: Zucchini and yellow squash are some of the most highly modified GMO products on the market, so going organic is especially important to us.

Finally, a word about time management. This three to four part recipe (depending on the bacon!) is time and labor instensive. I would highly recommend an assistant (promise them extra bacon). If you don’t have an assistant, then follow this order: Make the Hollandaise. Leave sitting in blender. Mix up the zucchini cakes. Warm up griddle, and throw on your first batch. While those are cooking, warm up egg poaching water. Poach eggs. Just before plating, whip up the Hollandaise one more time with the blender and you’re good to go!

Hollandaise Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks (save those whites for the zucchini fritters!)
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-3 dashes hot sauce (Franks & Cholula work great)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Hollandaise Directions

  1. In a blender, add the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and hot sauce,  then cover and blend well.
  2. Turn the blender down to medium and remove the small center part of the cover.
  3. While the blender is running, slowly pour in the melted butter. The sauce will thicken immediately.
  4. Next verrry carefully pour the sau- oh wait – you’re already done. YUP, it’s that easy.

Store leftover sauce in a sealed container in the fridge. Don’t ever directly re-heat it in the microwave or in a saucepan as it will start to cook and harden. Instead, either sandwich between two hot food items to melt it down, or place the container it is in into a bowl of hot water to heat it ambiently.

Zucchini Fritter Ingredients

  • 2-3 organic zucchini
  • 2 green onions, thinly slicedZucchini Cakes
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter

Zucchini Fritter Directions

  1. Cut off ends of zucchini, wash, and grate. I use the grating attachment on my food processor, gets the job done in about ten seconds! Get rid of excess moisture by putting in a cheesecloth and squeezing. Alternatively, lay grated zucchini out on paper towel or a kitchen towel, and using another towel over the top squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
  2. Put the zucchini in a large mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and stir together.
  3. Heat butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, or other pan/griddle. If you are using bacon, cook the bacon first and use the grease instead of butter!
  4. Using a large fork or slotted spoon, scoop the zucchini mixture on to the skillet in 3-4 inch pancakes. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 4-5 minutes. You want both sides to be nice and brown and crispy!

And now, for the scary part…

Click here for egg poaching directions. It’s not really scary. I followed this the first time I attempted a poached egg, and it turned out perfectly! There are shortcuts like using muffin tins in an oven, but you can’t get exactly the right texture and done-ness without doing it the right way 😉 If you’ve never poached an egg, this will make you feel very fancy! 4 minutes on the dot for a runny yolk, or flip it over in the water and leave in for another thirty seconds if you prefer it a little more done.

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My first poached egg! This was just after the water stopped swirling, right about when it started looking extra weird.

When everything is ready and you’ve perfectly poached your eggs (I believe in you!) put two zucchini cakes on a plate, top each with a poached egg, spoon some Hollandaise over everything, and top with a little fresh ground pepper. If you’re adding bacon, I imagine that I’d stick a couple crispy slices right between the zucchini and the egg 🙂 BACON UPDATE: I did. It was amazing. If you have enough leftovers for the next day, it works really well to make a Benedict sandwich with the zucchini cakes to warm up your Hollandaise. Bon appétit!

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Mmm, benny sandwich!

Recipe Credit: chellebelle @ AllRecipes.com for the Hollandaise, Deb @ smittenkitchen.com for the egg poaching directions.

Chorizo & Sweet Potato Hash

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Sam was feeling like we needed to shake up our breakfast options a bit. So, in his Sam-ly way, he did a bunch of research resulting in the discovery of some amazing creations on PaleOMG.com. Seriously, go check it out. This is one of those recipes, and it tastes even better than it looks. We love sweet potatoes, they actually have some nutritional value over the starch lumps that are regular potatoes! Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene (an antioxidant that is a precursor to Vitamin A), and FUN FACT: beta carotene is fat soluble, so the butter or bacon fat and eggs in this recipe will help your body soak it all up and turn it into Vitamin A.

The original recipe calls for chorizo, so for all my meatly friends, this is for you. For us veggies, soy chorizo has become incredibly easy to find in our local grocery store, usually in the organic section, and sometimes right next to the regular chorizo. The soy chorizo doesn’t need to cook down as it doesn’t have any animal fat, mostly just needs to be warmed through and browned. We don’t eat a lot of soy but I had to make an exception for this one!

Ingredients

  • 1lb chorizo or 1 pkg soy chorizo
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon preferred fat (butter or bacon fat)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
  2. Heat up a large skillet (cast iron works the best!) over medium heat.
  3. Add your fat and minced garlic.
  4. When the garlic becomes fragrant, toss in your onions, sweet potatoes and chorizo to begin to cook down.
  5. Use a wooden spoon or whatever you have on hand to break up the chorizo and mix around to incorporate everything. Cover to help steam the sweet potatoes. If you are using soy chorizo, definitely add a splash of water to help steam the potatoes.
  6. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  7. Add your tomatoes and spices and mix together.
  8. If you are not using a cast iron skillet, pour your hash into a baking dish.
  9. Use a spoon to press into the hash where you want your eggs to go.
  10. Crack your eggs directly on top of hash.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending how runny you want your eggs. Just press on the egg yolk with your finger to see how done it is. Note that the eggs will look shiny on top no matter how long you cook them, so they might look runny after 20 minutes, but they’re not. I learned that the hard way! Note: If you are not crazy about poached eggs or have a lot of leftover hash to eat up, over-easy fried eggs work great as well. After making this a few times we’ve decided that we like the fried eggs more, so I cook the hash for about 15 minutes on its own and fry eggs on the side.

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This is what Sam gets to start his day with. I like to remind him often that he is a lucky, lucky man 😉

Recipe Credit: PaleoOMG – Click here for the original post and pics of the meatly version.