Caveman Cuisine: Healthy Paleo Recipes

IMG_8746

I’ve been on a Paleo kick recently. Admittedly, it was first an attempt to shed a few pounds (which has worked, hooray!), but I’ve actually had a lot of fun coming up with recipes. And instead of focusing on what this “cave(wo)man-style” diet cuts out — no carbs, no dairy, no legumes and no sugar — I’ve done my best to highlight the wholesome ingredients on the “to eat” list … and that certainly includes BACON! If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised at how flavorful and filling each of these recipes turns out to be.

 
 

Bacon-Mushroom Frittata
Serves 6-8IMG_8411

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms (I use baby portabella)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 bacon slices, cooked and chopped
2 green onions, sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 large eggs, beaten

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a 10-inch (2-inch deep) ovenproof non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms in hot oil 2 to 3 minutes or until browned. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute until fragrant.

Add bacon and green onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and cook 3 to 5 minutes, gently lifting edges of frittata with a spatula and tilting pan so uncooked portions flows underneath.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until set and slightly browned on top. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut into 6 to 8 wedges and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Baked Denver Omelet
Serves 4IMG_8738

Ingredients
8 eggs
1 cup pre-cooked ham, diced (I use a ham steak)
1 cup bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the bell peppers, onion and garlic until soft (4 to 5 minutes). Add the ham to the skillet and cook another 3 minutes.

Spread the ham and veggie mixture evenly on the bottom of a round glass pie pan.

In a large bowl, add the eggs, milk and chopped scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste and whisk until well combined. Pour egg mixture over the ham and vegetables. Bake in the oven 25-30 minutes until the top is slightly browned and the middle is cooked through.

 

 

 

Avocado Tuna Salad
Serves 3 to 4IMG_8739

Ingredients
15-ounce (or 3 small cans) tuna, drained and flaked
1 English cucumber, sliced
2 large or 3 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ small bunch of cilantro (1/4 cup chopped)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
In a large bowl, combine sliced cucumber, avocado, onion, drained tuna and ¼ cup cilantro. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over salad ingredients and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine before serving.

Note: I love this salad on its own, but you could scoop it atop some field greens for a flavorful salad.

 

 

 

BLTA Salad
Serves 2IMG_8471

Ingredients
9-ounce bag hearts of romaine
2 avocados, pitted
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 strips bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
 
For the dressing
Pour olive oil and lemon/lime juice in a bowl. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until the emulsion comes together.

For the salad
Add the romaine lettuce to a large mixing bowl. Chop the avocado into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl. Add halved tomatoes and bacon to bowl. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper to taste over salad and then drizzle with dressing. Toss to mix before serving.

 

 

 

Fajita Shrimp with
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
Serves 4IMG_8415

Ingredients
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
Aimee’s Mexican Spice Mix, recipe here
2 limes, juiced
1 large head cauliflower
2 garlic cloves
2 green onions
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

For the Fajitas
Heat the oven to broil. In a medium bowl, mix the raw shrimp with the juice of ½ of a lime and Aimee’s Mexican Spice Mix. Spray a jelly roll pan or sheet pan (with sides) with cooking spray and place the shrimp evenly on the pan. Place the sliced peppers and onion on a separate pan and spray with cooking spray.

Cook both pans under the broiler for 7-8 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through and pink. Serve with cauliflower rice.

For the Cauliflower Rice
Remove the core of the cauliflower. Coarsely chop into florets then place half of the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice or couscous — don’t over process or it will get mushy! Set aside and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil, green onions and garlic and sauté about 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the cauliflower “rice” to the pan. Cover and cook approximately 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro and lime juice to taste.

 

 

 

Paleo Taco Skillet
Serves 4IMG_8406

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 large bell peppers, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies
3 cups salad mix (pick whichever you like)
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
3 green onions, sliced
Aimee’s Mexican Spice Mix, recipe here
guacamole/avocado (for garnish)
Aimee’s salsa fresca (for garnish, recipe here)

Directions
In a large pan, brown the ground meat over medium-high heat. Drain off excess fat and return to the pan. Add diced onion, zucchini and peppers and cook until soft and browned. Add tomatoes and stir. Sprinkle in Aimee’s Mexican Spice Mix and stir to combine. Let the mixture cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes longer.

To serve, add salad mix to a bowl. Spoon taco mixture over the top and garnish with cilantro, green onions, guacamole/avocado, and salsa fresca.

 

 

 

Pork Egg Roll Bowls
Serves 4IMG_8483

Ingredients
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
5 green onions, sliced on a bias (white and green parts)
1 pound ground pork (or turkey)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Sriracha, or more to taste
14-ounce bag coleslaw salad mix
3 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon black sesame seeds
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions
Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and white portion of the green onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, 5-8 minutes. Add the ground pork, ground ginger, salt, pepper and Sriracha. Sauté until the pork is cooked through. Add the coleslaw mix, coconut aminos and vinegar. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the coleslaw is tender.

Garnish with green onions, cilantro and sesame seeds before serving.

 

 

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Serves 8-10IMG_8596

Ingredients
3-5 pound round roast
Cajun Seasoning Mix, recipe here
Arrowroot flour
Garlic powder
1 white onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4-6 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces (you could also use baby carrots)
1 small can beef broth

Directions
Put roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle Cajun Seasoning Mix, about 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour, and a generous amount of garlic powder on the roast. Add chopped onions, bell pepper, parsnips and carrots into the slow cooker. Pour beef broth in, cover and cook on low for several hours (8-10, depending on the size of your roast). Be sure to turn the roast over about half-way through the cooking time.

When roast is very tender to the touch, take it out and shred it into thick pieces. Mix a couple tablespoons of flour with water and then pour into the leftover gravy in the slow cooker to thicken. Serve roast with vegetables and cauliflower rice, if you’d like.

 

Hop To It: A Delightful Easter Brunch Menu

Easter is always a tricky holiday in our house. While it might not fall on the same Sunday each year, you can pretty much count on it landing near the end of tax season. It’s a stressful time for both my husband Kenny (a CPA who works ungodly hours around April 15) and me, who takes on the brunt of household duties. This year, Easter Sunday happens to be two weekends before Tax Day, so I’m planning on a quiet brunch (for dinner!), just the two of us.

Typically, as with most other households, Easter is a family affair. And I put together this menu a few years back when we celebrated the holiday with relatives in our Orlando home. I went all out that year with a spring-inspired tablescape – I even learned how to fold napkins in a really elegant way (you can too by going here).

I have found that the key to brunch is offering a little bit of everything. You need a bread/pastry component (I made banana bread and buttermilk biscuits); something light and refreshing (yogurt parfait served in pretty wine glasses or a bowl of fruit, which also adds a pop of color to your buffet); then a meaty/protein-based dish (smoked salmon crostini and breakfast casserole with bacon). Oh, and you can’t forget the coffee, tea and morning cocktails (mimosas, anyone?). This easy menu can be dressed up by using your finest China, like I did, or opt to go casual and enjoy this beautiful spring weather while dining alfresco.

 

buttermilk biscuitsButtery Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible
Makes 9 biscuits

Ingredients
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small bits
1 cup buttermilk

Directions
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, your hands, or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.* Using a rubber spatula, fold the buttermilk into the flour mixture until all the flour is moistened.

Sprinkle a small handful of flour over a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead lightly two or three times with the palms of your hands until the mixture comes together. Pat the dough out until it’s a 6-inch square. Cut the dough twice lengthwise and twice widthwise to make 9 squares.

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and bake until light golden brown and firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with spreadable butter or fruit jam.

*Note: Make sure the butter is very cold, straight from the fridge and work quickly so that it doesn’t melt on you, especially if you’re using your hands. If using your hands, rub your fingertips together when cutting the butter into the dry ingredients – and be careful not to overwork. If using two knives, crisscross them across the butter and flour until the texture is like coarse meal. Next time I intend to use a pastry cutter in hopes that’ll produce flakier biscuits.

 

banana breadBanana Bread
Recipe courtesy of Kenny’s Gamma Eleanor Vitek. My mother-in-law, Marylin Bloom, made this famous (in our family) bread as part of the welcome gifts presented to our wedding guests. It’s the best I’ve ever had – no joke!
Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Put the first six ingredients into a mixing bowl together and mix until well blended. Add in mashed bananas and mix until it’s very creamy like cake batter.

Grease (with cooking spray) and flour two loaf pans. Pour batter evenly into pans and bake for 50 minutes, or until top of bread is golden brown. Serve with butter and jam.

 

salmon crostiniSmoked Salmon Crostini
I tossed together this recipe, which is inspired by the original smoked salmon-topped bagel – one of my favorite brunch dishes!
Makes 30 crostini

Ingredients
8 ounces regular cream cheese
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh dill
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
30 thin slices French bread baguette (Publix also sells them pre-sliced, to save time)
12 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
¼ cup red onion, diced
capers (for garnish)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first three ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Brush oil over both sides of bread. Arrange bread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake until just crisp, about 5 minutes per side.

Spread cream cheese mixture onto toasts. Top with salmon (cut into small pieces so that it fits on the toast). Garnish evenly with red onions and capers.

 

breakfast casseroleBreakfast Casserole
Recipe courtesy of my mom, Gay Ann Tangen. She’s made this savory dish for many of our family holidays and it’s always a huge hit with everyone!
Serves 8

Ingredients
1 (8-ounce) packaged seasoned croutons
1 (2-3-ounce) package real bacon bits
1 (8-ounce) package shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend)
8 eggs, whipped
1 1/3 cup half and half

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9×13 oven-safe dish, layer croutons, bacon bits and cheese – in that order. Whip eggs with half and half. Pour eggs over the top of the other layers evenly, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, and then serve warm.