Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Fried Eggs

This was a dish I decided to experiment with on Saturday morning.  We had a sweet potato and onion that had not yet had their fate decided and for some reason I was in the mood to do a little early morning cooking.  Here’s what I used:

  • 1 large garnet yam (or sweet potato), peeled and grated using either a cheese grater or the grater attachment on a food processor.
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs (per person)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped

I first heated a large skillet over medium-high heat and added olive oil to the pan.  I then sauteed the onion and garlic together until the onion was soft and translucent.Whole301

Once the onion was cooked, I added the sweet potato to the pan and let that cook until some of the pieces of sweet potato were getting a little crispy. Whole302 I then used a spatula to flip the sweet potato over a bit.  I then created four little holes in the pan and cracked the eggs directly into those spaces.  I flipped the eggs over after about 2 minutes and then served–we each got 2 fried eggs and a bunch of delicious hash browns and we even had leftovers for the next morning! Delish 🙂Whole303

 

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Posted in Breakfasts, Paleo, Pareve, Vegetarian, Whole30, Whole30 Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The perfect snack!

While I’ve been doing this Paleo Challenge, I really haven’t found that I crave sweets at all.  When I do want a little something sweet, an apple with almond butter seems to provide just what I’m looking for.  I’ve never been a fan of peanut butter but I actually really like almond butter.  Whole30

And I think almond butter on a gala apple is the perfect snack these days!

Posted in Nutrition, Paleo, Pareve, Snacks, Vegetarian, Whole30, Whole30 Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creativity

I finally decided that I have enough knowledge and creativity about cooking to start making up some of my own recipes.  Yesterday I was craving salmon and spinach for some reason (it’s funny for me to crave Spinach… but I guess that’s what the Whole30 Challenge will do to you–change the way you think about food and help curb cravings for unhealthy things), so I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work and picked up a few ingredients.  After Julia went to sleep I got started!

Coconut Salmon:

First I preheated the oven to 325 degrees, and prepared a baking sheet by covering it with tin foil and greasing it with olive oil.  I then rinsed and patted dry 4 6-oz. salmon fillets and placed them skin-side down on the baking sheet.  I put 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt it and then I brushed that all over each of the salmon fillets and sprinkled them each with salt and pepper.  Once the oven was heated up, I put the salmon in the oven and baked for 15 minutes.  You can check for done-ness by cutting in half the thickest piece of salmon and making sure that the inside is pink and cooked to your liking.

Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms:

I heated up a large pan over medium-high heat, and added 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.  Once that was heated up, I added 2 chopped cloves of garlic.  Once the garlic became fragrant, I added 1/2 of a chopped yellow onion and 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.  I sauteed these until the onions were soft and translucent, and then added some salt and pepper.  Finally, I added about 6 cups of baby spinach and continued to sautee until the spinach was wilted.  Whole309

I served the salmon over a bed of the spinach and it was DELICIOUS!  Whole308

To be “restaurant quality,” I would have needed one more dish on the side… and I would have made a batch of sweet potato fries, except that I didn’t really feel like waiting another half an hour to eat.  It was already close to 8 by the time we ate dinner!

Breakfast this morning was another Monkey Salad (I am really loving these Monkey Salads and not getting sick of them at all!) only this time I added some raspberries in with my banana, and topped the fruit with a small handful of cashews and unsweetened coconut.  Yum Yum! Whole310

Posted in Breakfasts, Fish, Nutrition, Paleo, Pareve, Whole30, Whole30 Challenge | 1 Comment

Chicken Goulash Over Spaghetti Squash

Yesterday I put together a list of all the recipes I’ve documented on this little blog of mine and I was quite proud to see what a long list it was!  One thing I learned looking through the list is that I need to start experimenting on my own a little bit more to make my own recipes.  I’ve gotten the hang of following directions in a recipe but I feel like I have a pretty good sense of what flavors go well together and I need to start experimenting a little on my own and trusting my own instincts regarding flavor and spices.

Last night I made a good old standby: Ken’s mother’s Chicken Goulash recipe which Ken ate over the usual elbow noodles and I had over spaghetti squash.  It was delicious with the spaghetti squash since the squash soaked up some of the tomato sauce.  Yum yum!

On the menu for tonight is some salmon with sauteed spinach and mushrooms and possibly some sweet potato hash browns.  Tomorrow night we’ll be having Tandoori chicken, and on Friday night with my mom we’ll have Cajun Dirty Rice using Cauliflower instead of rice!  I will be sure to update with recipes as my Challenge continues!

Posted in Adventures, Paleo, Whole30, Whole30 Challenge | 3 Comments

A weekend of new recipes!

Welcome back from a lovely weekend!  I spent a lot of time cooking this weekend but enjoyed every minute of it!  I did decide to take a break from the challenge for dinner last night (we had friends over who brought a delicious salad with goat cheese, along with a bottle of wine and we had some challah that needed to be eaten) but I am starting right where I left off, so this morning I began Day 8 of my personal Whole30 Challenge with a slice of frittata (which you will see below) and my usual Monkey Salad with a banana, cashews and coconut.  (Yes, I know that goes against everything you might read about the Challenge online but I am doing this challenge for my own personal reasons and felt no qualms about taking a one-meal break from the challenge to enjoy a lovely dinner with friends).

Friday night my friend Leah came over.  The last time I saw her was when I was about 30 weeks pregnant, so it has definitely been a while… a lot has changed!  I’m so happy she was able to meet Julia and I’m particularly glad that Ken was able to enjoy dinner with us even though he was on call!  For dinner, I made a frittata with some sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.  Leah had asked earlier what I wanted her to bring, so I said “How about some fruit for dessert?”  She brought bananas, blueberries and raspberries so I came up with a Whole30-compliant dessert that we all enjoyed!

For the frittata, I used:

  • 5 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 2 yellow squash, chopped
  • 3 cups of spinach, broken apart into pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, quartered

First, I sauteed the onion and garlic together in the olive oil and then added the spinach and cooked until it was wilted.  I then set that aside in a large bowl.  I then sauteed the zucchini along with the squash until they were soft, and then I added those to the bowl with the spinach.

I then added the eggs and mixed everything together, being sure to beat the eggs well while mixing.  Finally, I added the tomatoes and some salt and pepper to taste, and I poured the entire mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, and baked at 350 for 35 minutes.

I actually made 2 frittatas, and here they were going into the oven:whole304

When you take them out of the oven, you want to make sure they are somewhat fluffy and that the egg is set.  Here was one of them coming out of the oven:Whole306

For the Sweet Potato Fries, I used 3 large sweet potatoes, which I peeled and cut into pieces that were the size and shape of fries.  I then tossed them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and paprika, then baked at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, tossing half way through. I baked them on parchment paper because I had seen several comments on blogs saying that made them crispier than baking them on aluminum foil.  Whole308

I was not perfectly satisfied with the Sweet Potato Fries, to be honest.  The flavor was fantastic but the fries were not crispy–it was more like eating roasted sweet potatoes, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for but I was hoping for something crispier.  Next time I think I will try cutting them into smaller pieces and I think it would help to have the oven hotter–maybe at 450 and I might try using aluminum foil instead of parchment paper but I will certainly keep you updated about how they turn out next time.

The dessert, which I mentioned, was bananas, blueberries, raspberries, cashews, coconut and coconut cream.  It was DELICIOUS! Whole307

Saturday night Ken ended up stuck at the hospital for much of the evening despite plans to watch the Patriots game.  I had all the ingredients ready to go for a chicken fried “rice” dish using Cauliflower instead of rice, so I decided to go ahead and make that after Julia went to sleep.  I’m glad I did since it was delicious!  I used this recipe but  had to make a few changes to it, so here’s what I did:

First, I sauteed 3 cubed chicken breasts in olive oil in a large wok over medium heat.  Once the chicken was cooked through, I set the chicken aside and then basically followed the recipe you can access with the link above.  Whole305

I sauteed the onion and garlic with the carrots.Whole306

Then I added green peas.Whole307

Then I set the vegetables aside with the chicken.  I then scrambled the egg and set that in with the chicken and vegetables.  Whole301

Finally, I sauteed the cauliflower the way they recommend, browning pieces of it before stirring and then at the end I mixed everything in with the cooked cauliflower.  Whole30

At the end, I added coconut aminos and sesame oil along with salt and pepper.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find fish sauce that does not contain sugar but I have read about several brands available online that are “Paleo-compliant” if that is something that matters to you.Whole302

This dish was fantastic, and much healthier than the “real” thing.  I will definitely consider using cauliflower as “rice” in the future since it makes for a much healthier side dish.  Later in the week I may even experiment by making Cajun Dirty “Rice” using cauliflower.  It also includes ground beef and spicy sausages and hopefully will remind us of New Orleans at least a little bit!

Sunday morning we were both feeling like we needed to get out of the house a bit so we decided to take a family outing for Breakfast.  It is hard to eat out while trying to remain on a strict Paleo diet but luckily I’m not taking this to the extreme.  My reasons for doing this Challenge are personal and going out to eat, as long as I stick to the “basic” plan, is something I still want to do.  So I was able to order some basic breakfast items while still sticking mostly to the Challenge.  I counted that as a success!

For dinner, I made a new Whole30 Salmon recipe and some steamed broccoli, which I topped with garlic and lemon juice.  The friends who we had over brought with them a salad that contained goat cheese, along with a bottle of wine.  We also had some challah from Julia’s daycare that we needed to eat so I decided to take a break from the Challenge to enjoy some cheese, bread and wine but it was delicious so that’s okay 🙂

The salmon was a Coconut-crusted salmon.  I had 6 salmon fillets that were approximately 4-5 oz. each.  I seasoned each of them with salt and pepper and squeezed lime juice onto them as well.  I then dipped each in egg that had been well beaten, and then coated with unsweetened shredded coconut and baked for 15 minutes at 325.  The salmon itself was perfectly cooked and had a nice flavor from the coconut, but it was a little more subtle than we normally like.  It was good but nothing amazing so probably not a recipe I will be repeating.

So far I am enjoying this Challenge because of the new recipes I am learning and because it is teaching me new ways to incorporate vegetables into our diet.  I feel like we, as a family, don’t eat enough vegetables so this is opening my eyes to different vegetables we can cook with and more ways to incorporate them.  Another reason I personally wanted to do this challenge was to kind of re-focus my mind and body on eating healthy meals and making healthy choices with the foods I eat.  I don’t think carbs or dairy products are the enemy (like many Paleo enthusiasts seem to), but I do think I eat way too many bagels, too much bread, and too much pasta (and toward the end of the year I had gotten myself into the unhealthy habit of having too many snacks), and I wanted to kind of re-set my mind to remind myself that those things should be the exception rather than the rule.  The rule should be healthy meals that focus on protein and vegetables while carbs, dairy and sugary snacks should be the exception.  I have lost a few pounds already in the week I’ve been doing the Challenge so I do plan to stick with it but, like I mentioned above, I am doing this for personal reasons, not because I want to go Paleo.  One thing this challenge has definitely opened my eyes to are the number of chemicals and the amount of sugar that are in some of the packaged/processed foods that we eat.  Ken & I don’t really eat a lot of processed foods, but for example, the other day when I was doing the grocery shopping, I picked up a couple of the processed foods we do often use–bagels, cream cheese, tomato sauce, soy sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup, etc. and looked at the ingredients.  Who knew that sugar is used in tomato sauce?  That just seems so unnecessary when you can make a delicious tomato sauce using nothing but real, delicious and healthy ingredients.  I do think this challenge will cause me to look at food labels more in the future to decide which brands to buy.

So the bottom line is… even if I’m not doing this Challenge as a way to start eating a Paleo diet all of the time, I am learning a lot and am enjoying it so far!  Now onto the rest of Day 8!  For lunch today I brought some leftover curried beef with cabbage from the other day along with some baby carrots and an apple.  Dinner tonight will be leftover Fried “Rice.”

Posted in Adventures, Desserts, Fish, Nutrition, Paleo, Pareve, Poultry, Side-Dishes, Whole30, Whole30 Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Whole30 Challenge Continues: Creamy Sweet Potato Basil Soup

Even though I haven’t posted in a day or so, the Whole30 Challenge is continuing and is going well!  Wednesday night we had leftovers from the previous night–spaghetti squash with artichoke pesto and chicken, and to go along with that, I made a delicious soup!  The original recipe, here, has you basically dump all the ingredients in the Crock Pot and then 3 hours later puree with an immersion blender, and taa daa!  But I didn’t get home from work until about 6 PM and by the time I fed Julia, gave her a bath and started cooking, we wouldn’t have had soup until 10:30 or 11 if I had to wait 3 hours.  So instead I made it the way I’ve always made soup… on the stove!  And it was DELICIOUS!

I had to make a few adjustments since I was cooking it on the stove top instead of in the crockpot, but here’s what I did for my Creamy Sweet Potato Basil Soup:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 14-oz. cans of coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon of dried basil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Once heated, add the onions and garlic and sautee  until the garlic is fragrant and the onion is soft and translucent. Whole30

Add the diced sweet potatoes, the salt and pepper and the basil to the pot and sautee for a few more minutes. Whole301

Add 1 can of coconut milk and 1 cup of the vegetable broth.Whole302

Bring the pot to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft.  Then, add the second can of coconut milk and the last 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and bring the soup back up to a boil.  Turn off the heat and then you can either use an immersion blender directly in the pot to puree the soup until it is creamy or you can transfer the soup (very carefully since it is very hot!) into a blender and use the blender to puree the soup.

Enjoy!Whole303I probably won’t be posting much over the weekend but I have a couple of exciting meals planned for the next few days!

Tonight I’m planning to make a vegetable frittata along with some sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli and tomorrow night we’ll be having chicken fried “rice” with riced cauliflower!  I’m sure I’ll have some updates to post Monday after my cooking adventures! Stay tuned…

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Jim’s Meatloaf Recipe

This recipe is not Paleo or Whole30 Compliant for those of you looking for that.  And in fact, the original recipe has some (optional) suggestions that are not Kosher (which I am leaving out for the purposes of this blog).  But… my dad, Jim, makes the best meatloaf I’ve ever had and I thought it would be wise to share his recipe since it’s DELISH!  Also this way I won’t have to ask him for it the next time we want to make it (which will not be in the next 27 days as I am currently on Day 3 of my Whole30 Challenge).  Instead, it will be easily available right here on my blog.  So here it is!

It originally is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 11th ed. 1965

Mix Together:
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup water
1 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced onion or dried onion soup mix or flakes
2 lbs. lean ground beef, chuck or round

Season more highly if you like.  Pat into a greased loaf pan or shape in a roll and place in a shallow baking pan.

There are all kinds of variations–you can add things to the meatloaf, you can put various sauces on top, you can add different spices if you like… but that’s the basic meatloaf recipe that he makes and it turns out wonderfully every time!

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

He usually serves it with frozen peas and a baked potato.  And to me that meal will always be a comfort meal.

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