Broccoli Rabe & Italian Sausage

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This is a “side dish” in my house, but could easily be a meal all by itself.  I understand, not everyone likes Broccoli Rabe, but think this combination is a great way to balance and enhance the flavors of both main ingredients!  …AND it’s easy!

What you will need:

  • 8-10 oz of Italian sausage
  • 4 cups Broccoli Rabe (chopped)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic (sliced thin)
  • Parmesan (shredded or shaved)
  • Salt & Pepper

How it’s done:

  1. Bring a med/lg pot of heavily salted water to a boil, and blanch the broccoli rabe for 2 min, or until bright green.  Drain well, and set aside.
  2. In a large pan, cook sausage completely.  (If sausage is in casing, remove before cooking) 
  3. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil & garlic to the cooked sausage…cook for 2 more min
  4. Add the blanched broccoli rabe, cook for another 2 min OR until the stalk pieces are just tender.
  5. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, top with parmesan cheese…and serve!

Recipe Credit from: Ibreatheimhungry.com

Lasagna 100% Noodle-Free

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I absolutely LOVE lasagna, at least I used to…I have tried to “cheat” and eat the traditional dish, but I pay for it dearly!  I had to figure out a way to capture the flavors of this much beloved dish.  There are many variations of this meal out there but I think this recipe has me pointed in the right direction, and I am thrilled!!  Unfortunately, this was not the MOST photogenic meal, but just had to share!

What you will need:

  • 3-4 zucchini (depending on size) skin on, sliced thin (I used a mandolin)
  • Salt
  • 2 Lbs Ground Beef(I used 85/15, 100% grass fed)
  • 2 tbsp ground pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic crushed or chopped very fine
  • 2 roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 1.5 c. tomato paste
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c red wine
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 15 oz of Ricotta cheese
  • 4-5 tbs fresh parsley
  • 16 oz of frozen (organic) Spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, I like them chopped fine
  • 16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 10 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cook Temp 350 degrees

How it’s done:

  1. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Slice zucchini (length wise) very thin with mandolin.  Sprinkle slices lightly with salt, set aside and let drain (this allows them to lose some of their water before cooking)
  3. Prepare meat sauce:  In a large pan cook beef and pepper for about 5 min.  Add in red pepper, garlic, and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink.  Stir in tomato paste, sauce, wine, basil and oregano.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for about 20 min.
  4. Preheat Oven now
  5. In a med bowl, mix together Ricotta, egg and parsley…combine well, and set aside.
  6. Slice mushrooms
  7. To assemble Lasagna:  Spread 1/2 of meat sauce on the bottom of baking pan.  Then layer 1/2 of the zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, ALL of the spinach and ALL of the mushrooms; Then 1/2 the mozzarella.  Repeat by layering the meat sauce, zucchini, ricotta, and mozzarella.  Spread parmesan evenly over the top and cover with more parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 45min to an hour (depending on thickness), then remove parchment paper cover and bake for an additional 15 min.  (I ended up turning on my broiler near the end of the 20 min to get desired color on cheese)
  9. Let stand for at least 5 min before serving

Bacon Baked Avocado

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Honestly, I am not sure what I LOVE more…Bacon or Avocado!  With this recipe, you don’t have to choose and that makes it another favorite at my house.  This was derived from my baked potato cravings…since I limit my starches (potatoes)…I needed something to fill the void!  These work fantastic as a appetizer or as a side dish.

SUPER EASY!!

What you will need:

  • 2 ripe (but firm) Avocados
  • 6-8 strips of cooked Bacon (I prefer thick cut)
  • 1.5 c cheddar cheese
  • Greek yogurt

How it’s Done:

  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. Half and pit the Avocados
  3. Cook Bacon (note: I bake mine in the oven – see instructions at the bottom)
  4. Chop Bacon and fill each avocado half as full as possible
  5. Top bacon and avocado with cheese
  6. Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly)
  7. Remove and top with Greek Yogurt and serve!

 

Baking Bacon

  • Line a rimmed** cookie sheet. with parchment paper, place strips of bacon on sheet.
  • Turn the oven to 400 degrees and place bacon in oven immediately (do not preheat)
  • Bake for 20-25 min, remove and let cool on paper towels to soak up extra grease

**A rimmed cookie sheet may seem to be common sense BUT you would be surprised!  I have heard of one too many grease fires, and I don’t recommend it!

Polish Cabbage Rolls with Mushroom Sauce

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I will be completely honest…I have NO experience with Eastern European food I probably should considering my heritage…but this was my first go at it, and I was pleasantly surprised!!!  The ONLY downside to this recipe is that it takes about 2.5 hrs from start to finish.  Thankfully last night was weird…so we were ok with eating dinner at 8:30. 

I made very few modifications to the original recipe from “CrankingKitchen”  The biggest adjustment below is that I will be doubling the mushroom recipe since we couldn’t get enough of them!  

I got this recipe FROM: http://crankingkitchen.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/paleo-polish-cabbage-rolls/ 

-Cabbage Rolls-
What you will need:

  • 1 head of cabbage, cored
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

How it’s done:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the cabbage head and remove the leaves to a bowl or strainer as they come off the head, about a few minutes for each. Aim for about 12 leaves. When you get to the center and the leaves are small, just take the head out, let cool and chop. Lay in the bottom of a casserole pan.

2. As the cabbage is boiling, heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add to a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Add the beef, pork, and egg to the vegetables, along with salt and pepper, and mix well.

4. Lay each cabbage leaf out on a work surface (shake out any remaining water) and place about 1/3 cup of meat mixture (it’ll vary depending on the size of the leaf) at the base of the leaf. Roll up a little bit, then fold in the sides and continue to roll. Like a mini Polish burrito. Burrito-ski. Place each pigeon tightly in the baking dish, seam side down.

5. Place, uncovered, in the middle of the oven and bake for 2 hours, basting with the pan juices every 30 minutes.

-Mushroom Sauce-

What you will need:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds of cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 tbsp of garlic powder (used instead of fresh garlic because I forgot to slice them)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or beef)
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (or wt. wine)
  • drippings from the cabbage rolls
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

How it’s done:

1. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. When the foaming has just died down, add the mushrooms. Stir frequently. First they will absorb the butter, then they’ll release their liquid, then soak it back up again.

2. Add the garlic, stir frequently for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, then turn the heat down to medium. Add the broth and drippings and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced. Season to taste.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

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I am always looking for a good soup and this one is a winner!  I had not worked with Wild Rice before this and I was pleasantly surprised…it’s a fantastic “add” to any soup.

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 finley chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 3/4 lb thin sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 2.5 cups of cooked wild rice
  • 2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream (amount can be to taste)

How it’s done:

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in onion, celery,& carrots; sauté for 5 min.  Then add mushrooms, sauté for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add flour gradually, stir well.  Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until added.  Bring just to boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer
  3. Add the rice, chicken, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ground pepper, and sherry.
  4. Allow it to heat thru, then pour in cream.
  5. Let simmer for 1 hr (DO NOT let it boil or your roux will break)

Peaches & Cream

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-Simple Sweets-

Although we are definitely at the end of Peach Season, this is still a good one

  • Freshly made whipped cream (sweetened with coconut sugar)
  • Diced Peaches (season is almost over…but you can obviously substitute anything you want)