paleo

Creamy Broccoli Soup

My hearty thanks to Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo for her Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe. It saved my butt the other night. I had an abundance of broccoli this week so I jumped online and Googled, “paleo broccoli soup”. Presto! Nom Nom Paleo was in the top few hits and since I know her recipes rock I clicked on her link.

I didn’t have all the same ingredients but I made do with what I did have. The soup. Was awesome. Definitely a winner and something to go in my little box of quick and easy meals. (Okay, quick is a relative term, it took me over an hour to make but I was multitasking and doing a bunch of things. I think if I’d been focused on dinner only, it might have only taken 30-40 minutes.)

Here’s the nitty-gritty on what I did.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs broccoli (if you don’t have a scale, it was about 4 big heads of broccoli)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 small apple
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup water with about a tbsp of Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate (substitution for coconut milk that I did not have)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What I did:

1. Roughly chopped the onion and sautéed it with the coconut oil for about 5-10 minutes while chopping the broccoli, including the stalk. I also peeled and cored the apple and roughly chopped it.

2. Then I added the broccoli and apple to the pot and poured the 4 cups of broth over it. Michelle’s recipe said that the broth should be covering the veggies and mine only about halfway filled the pan. So I added more water until I had what you see below. I don’t know how much extra water I added.

broccoli soup1

3. I brought the pan to a boil then reduced to low to simmer. I think I turned it down too low, too soon, because it wasn’t really simmering and I had to turn it back up a bit at one point, then down again. In the end, it simmered for about 35 minutes until the veggies were soft.

4. Next, I added the curry, salt, and pepper. Michelle’s recipe called for 1 tablespoon of curry. Either because I had so much extra broth/water, or because my curry isn’t very spicy, I added another tablespoon. (It wasn’t very spicy in my book, just very flavorful.)

broccoli soup2

5. I took the pot off the stove to cool a little but I didn’t let it cool down much; we have a metal stick blender that handles the high heat just fine. (I have seen a plastic one melt before so be careful and mindful of that if yours is not metal.) I blended it until the mixture was smooth. 

broccoli soup3

I know. It looks like baby food. Try to look past the green. I’m telling you, it’s yummy.

broccoli soup4

6. I returned the pot to the stove and turned the burner back to high to ensure my last ingredients would not reduce the overall heat of the soup and then I added the 1 cup of water and the Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate.

You can essentially make coconut milk with TT’s coconut cream concentrate. The jar says to use 1-2 tsp for 6-8 ounces. I’ve never actually used my coconut cream much before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t dissolve well in the cup of water because the concentrate is in a solid state and my water was not hot. And since it doesn’t really look like coconut milk and I was afraid it wouldn’t have enough flavor, I added about 2 tablespoons. I figured it couldn’t hurt anything. I also hoped that the cream would melt and incorporate in the heat of the soup so I just put it in the pot and stirred it for a bit. It all came together fine in my opinion.

I dished out a bowl and topped it with some canned chicken. Nothing fancy. Just great tasting.

broccoli soup

The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.
~ Deepak Chopra

Enhanced by Zemanta

Make Your Own Ready-To-Go Burger Patties

I don’t know why we never did this before. Such a simple and yet ingenious idea. Make your OWN burger patties and freeze them for quick, easy dinners. (Instead of buying what someone else made for you and is loaded with preservatives and other additives.)

You can modify this any number of ways to make the preparation as easy and quick as you need; ours was a little more time-consuming because we used venison that we had to grind first but if you don’t want to take the extra time for that sort of thing (or don’t have an appliance that will grind your meat) you can just buy ground beef and add spices and flavors to your liking. Here’s how we made ours.

Ingredients
Servings: 12 half-pound patties

  • 2 lbs venison
  • 5 ounces of salt pork
  • 1 jalapeno
  • red onion
  • bell pepper
  • green onion
  • minced garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp tapioca flour
  • small handful of bacon bits

Sorry that I don’t have exact measurements on most items. This was Don’s brainchild and as many of you know, he’s not the measuring type. 

  1. We ground the venison and salt pork and mixed them well until they were fully incorporated. (It is important to add fat when using venison or even very lean beef because it helps hold the patty together and it adds flavor as well.)
  2. We diced and chopped all the other ingredients and mixed it all together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using our handy-dandy kitchen scale we experimented with kitchen tools until we found a measuring cup that we could use to accurately measure out 1/2 pound servings that we then shaped into patties.
  4. Using parchment paper as a separator, we stacked them on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer until they were firm but not frozen and then we packaged them two at a time in food saver bags for quick, easy use.

burgers

We have made two dinners since we made the patties about a month ago and they are everything we hoped for. Quick, easy, and delicious.

burgers1

burgers2

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
~ Buddha 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gluten-Free Dumplings for those comfort food moments

I have these wonderful memories from childhood of steaming hot stew with chunky hunks of beef, potato, carrot, celery, and onion, topped with a fluffy cloud of warm dumplings. Of course, back then, all I would eat was the meat, potatoes, dumplings, and broth. I still loved it. Because my memories are so swiss-cheesed with holes and gaps, I don’t know whether it was my dad cooking or my mom, whether the dumplings were from scratch or Bisquick. But whenever a cold or rainy day rolls around, that foggy memory rises up and I pine wistfully for the simple comfort of stew and dumplings. In the chill of the current polar vortex, I attempted another dumpling re-creation and I LOVE the results. 

I experimented with an Almond Flour Dumpling recipe two years ago, which is ok but I didn’t love it enough to make it more than once, and yet it ironically has been my most popular post over the life of this blog. (Quickly being surpassed by our recent Cream Cheese and Jalapeno Stuffed Pork Tenderloin post. 🙂 ) If you’ve tried the old dumpling recipe, you’ve GOT to try this one. Delicious. Easy. Just plain wonderful. 

Gluten-Free Dumplings, can be used for chicken or stew soups

Ingredients – makes 6-8 dumplings depending on size

  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (this was a happy accident since I meant to use baking powder but the soda seems to work just fine IMO)
  • 1/4 cup broth from your soup

I combined all the ingredients in my food processor and blended it well. Then I simply dropped spoonfuls into the top of my stew. I put the lid on and let the dumplings cook for 10-15 minutes (until plumped and firm.)

gluten free dumplings 1

gluten free dumplings 2

The dough was too thin and sticky to shape into balls which was why I opted for simply dropping spoonfuls in the stew.

gluten free dumplings 3

It firmed up quite well to my surprise and delight. (You know me, always a little afraid when trying something new. I’m always worried about the waste if something doesn’t turn out well.)

gluten free dumplings 4

gluten free dumplings 5

Ta-da! Try it. Seriously. Good eats.

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
~ Sheilah Graham

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cauliflower Soup ReMixed

I made cauliflower and artichoke soups two ways recently and they were both good. But this past week I think I made the best soup I’ve EVER made.

soup

Don’t let the plain appearance deceive you. The flavor ROCKS.

My plan was to make the roasted cauliflower and artichoke soup again, like I had before. But after I had the cauliflower in the oven and was pulling out the rest of my ingredients, I discovered I didn’t have any artichoke. Doh! So I improvised.

Ingredients makes about 3 servings

I sautéed the onion, peppers, and garlic paste on the stove over medium heat until the onions were translucent.

Once the cauliflower was roasted to my liking (30-40 minutes at 400) I placed all the onions and cauliflower into my food processor. I added the box of mushroom soup and about a cup of water. I blended it until it was close to smooth, adding more water incrementally. I could not get a truly smooth consistency in the processor so I moved the mix to a saucepan and used my KitchenAid stick blender to further puree it all until it was creamy the way I wanted. Then I added the can of chicken and mixed by hand to incorporate it.

Between the peppers and the spice in the garlic paste, I didn’t even need to add salt or pepper. It was hard not to eat any then but I made it in the morning for the coming week so once combined I portioned it out and moved it to the fridge. I ate it for lunch at work the next day (pictured above.) Blew me away it was so good. WAY better than the first two editions. Definitely a great way to use up any cauliflower in your fridge that is close to the end of its shelf life. I highly recommend combining cauliflower, onion, mushroom, and chicken flavors. 🙂

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
~ Ann Wigmore

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chicken

Sometimes you can come up with the most interesting combinations purely by circumstance. In this case, I had Brussels sprouts that needed to be used. They had been in the fridge for a while and I was beginning to worry about their freshness. I had been procrastinating because they can take a lot of time to prepare. But I LOVE them when I do take the time to make them.

IMG_0638

So, I was finally committed to cooking them last weekend. I asked Don what he thought I should make with them, since he wasn’t going to be home. He suggested two frozen chicken thighs that were marinated and ready to go. Initially, we thought of just grilling the chicken whole but then Don suggested that I dice it up and add it to my roasted Brussels sprouts, sort of like a tossed chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts. But I was planning to add walnuts and bacon, since that’s an awesome combination, but Don suggested I skip the walnuts and try macadamia nuts instead. So that’s what I did.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (roughly) of Brussels sprouts
  • 6 pieces of bacon
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • handful of macadamia nuts
  • bit of olive oil
  • dash of salt

To roast sprouts, I prefer to wash them, cut off the ends, and then cut them in half.

IMG_0641

While I worked on the sprouts, I cooked my bacon in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. While I waited for the bacon, I also diced up my chicken and set it aside.

IMG_0639

IMG_0648

When the bacon was done I took it out, set it aside, and turned the oven up to 400. I took a little bit of the bacon grease and used it to cook up the chicken, in my GreenPan. Still LOVE it btw.

IMG_0651

The rest of the grease stayed in the bacon pan and I added the Brussels sprouts, making sure they were well covered by the bacon grease and added a tiny bit of olive oil and a dash of salt.

IMG_0647

They went in the oven for about 40 minutes (total.) I checked on them frequently, stirring them to get a good coverage of roastiness.

While waiting on the sprouts, I diced up my macadamia nuts and reduced my bacon to bacon bits.

IMG_0655

IMG_0653When my sprouts were looking almost done, I added the bacon and chicken to the pan. Mixed it well and put it back in for 5 minutes. Then I added the nuts and put it back in for another 5 minutes.

IMG_0658

Then, it was time to test the flavor.

IMG_0659

It was good. But it seemed to be lacking something. So I pulled up my first roasted Brussels sprouts post for reference and made a quick dressing with mustard, honey, and apple cider vinegar. It helped give the dish a bit more flavor. I liked it. 🙂 I call this new creation a success!

Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.
~ Anonymous