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In The Kitchen: Paleo recipes and tips

In this past Wednesday’s FCN, I wrote about the current Paleo diet craze and how numerous people credit the diet for healing them of certain ailments and even more people credit the diet for helping them lose weight. 

I also mentioned that one of my favorite things about the diet is that the Paleo community emphasizes consuming grass fed beef, pastured chicken and pork, as well as pastured eggs and organic vegetables and fruits whenever possible. 

People following a Paleo diet do not consume grains, legumes or most dairy. They also do not eat sugar or processed food. Sound impossible? It’s really not. My main tip for staying on the Paleo train is planning ahead. 

For dinner ideas, head to one of our libraries and check out some Paleo cookbooks — they have plenty to choose from. 

If you are a pasta lover like I am, there are some substitutions in the Paleo world. Spaghetti squash is an obvious alternative, but if you invest in a spiralizer, you can make pasta out of zucchini and even sweet potatoes. The gadget is not expensive and you can order one online. Need a rice substitution? Make rice out of cauliflower. 

There are lots of alternative flours, such as coconut and almond flour. I am not going to lie to you all — making bread products that don’t contain flour is tricky. Several recipes I have tried were epic failures. A few were just OK. 

I had some success with Paleo pancakes, but we don’t really eat pancakes often. While I am not a baker, I can make some pretty amazing French bread, hamburger buns and buttery rolls — but I make those with pillowy, white bread flour. When we eat Paleo, we just opt out on bread altogether. 

For some of you serious bakers out there, you may have more luck than me when it comes to making Paleo bread products. If you do, please email me your tips. 

Here are a few simple Paleo lunch or dinner recipes for you if you want to give the paleo trend a try. 


Crispy chicken with lemon, artichokes, capers and olives

This is a hearty dish — perfect for a crisp, cool spring night. Just make sure you use artichoke hearts that are packed in water, not oil. 

Recipe:

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ red onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup capers, with brine

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1/3 cup white wine

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained

1 cup Kalamata olives

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped


In a large bowl, combine granulated garlic, salt and dried oregano. Add the chicken and rub the seasoning into the chicken thighs. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. 

When ready to cook, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from bowl and pat dry with paper towels. Place in hot oil, skin side down. Do not crowd pan, so you may need to cook in batches. When skin is brown, flip and brown the other side. 

Remove the thighs to a plate and loosely cover with foil. In the same skillet, add the onion and cook for a few minutes. Add the garlic, capers and the lemon slices. Cook three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine, scraping up any brown bits. Simmer for five minutes. 

Add the chicken broth and the browned chicken thighs back to the pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer five minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and olives and continue cooking 15 minutes. Remove the thighs from the stew and pull the meat from the bones and chop. Return the meat back to the pan and sprinkle with chopped oregano before serving. 

•    •    •

Paleo taco salad

When that craving for Mexican food hits, make this Paleo taco salad. There is so much flavor, you won’t even miss the cheese or tortilla chips. 

Recipe:

1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed

1 batch taco seasoning (recipe follows)

1 bunch Romaine lettuce, torn or chopped into bite sized pieces

1 cup cilantro, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and minced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 can jumbo black olives, pitted and sliced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, minced

4 radishes, sliced

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 avocado, seeded and chopped

1 cup favorite salsa

1 cup sour cream, preferably from grass-fed cows (optional)


Cook ground beef over medium-high heat until cooked through. Add taco seasoning and a little bit of water, stirring to combine. 

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, cilantro, red pepper, red onion, black olives, tomatoes, jalapeno, radishes, cucumber and avocado. Divide salad into four bowls. Top with seasoned ground beef, salsa and sour cream, if using. 


Taco seasoning mix

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients. 

•    •    •

Beefy meatball soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons salt

1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced


In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Cook until vegetables are soft, about eight minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine ground beef, egg, garlic, almond flour, nutmeg, pepper and the remaining salt. 

Add the chicken broth to the pot with the cooked vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. 

Shape the ground meat into 1-inch meatballs and add them to the simmering broth. 

Continue simmering for about 12 minutes, until meatballs have cooked through. Sprinkle on the parsley before serving.