Browsing Category: meat & main dish (not paleo)

Best Thanksgiving leftovers ever! – homemade turkey pot pie

turkey pot pie

Here’s our family’s favorite thing to eat the day after Thanksgiving: homemade turkey pot pie!

If my daughter’s home, we’re treated to a homemade crust. If she’s not, I usually rely on Pillsbury ready-made crust. (The photo above is from Pillsbury’s website.) To make this gluten-free or Paleo, substitute a mashed-potato or mashed cauliflower topping for the crust.

I didn’t get to host Thanksgiving this year, so I don’t have turkey leftovers to make it with, SO unfortunately I can’t give you how-to shots, but here’s the recipe.

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie Recipe

5-1/4 c. chicken broth (3 14-oz. cans)

3 carrots, pared (or 12 “baby” carrots), cut into bite-size pieces, ~ 1/2”

1 small white or yellow onion, diced

1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced (or one 4-ish oz. jar of sliced ‘shrooms)

2/3 to 1 c. frozen peas

3/4 c. butter

2/3 c. all-purpose flour or gluten-free substitute

salt and pepper to taste

4 c. cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces

 

(My baking dish is 9” in diameter and about 2.5” tall, with straight sides.)

Bring chicken broth to boil in a 3-quart or larger sauce pan. Add carrots and onion and cook until almost tender. Add mushrooms and peas; cook 3-5 minutes more.

Remove vegetables from broth and set both aside. You should have about 4 c. of broth.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In same or larger saucepan, melt butter; whisk in flour. Cook, stirring constantly till bubbly and a little golden. Gradually whisk in reserved hot chicken broth. Cook until mixture thickens and bubbles 1 minute. Season to taste w/ salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables and the turkey to the saucepan; stir gently and cook till turkey is heated through. Turn the mixture into the baking dish. You may refrigerate it at this point for later baking, if desired.

Prepare one pie crust. Cut an opening in the center and a few small holes around it (to vent steam; not just for decoration). Fit dough over filled baking dish; press dough down all around edge. Trim if necessary, leaving 3/4” or so to drape down the side of the dish.

Bake 40 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and filling is bubbly.
Adapted from Food Editors Favorites, 1983.

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Quick pork tenderloin with seasoned rub

pork-tenderloin-herbed-slicing-510x320

Pork tenderloin is one of my go-to meals when I want something simple to prepare. It’s also one of my go-to meals for special occasions, because it’s delicious and elegant.

(I first posted this recipe more than two years ago, but it’s worth a re-post because it’s so simple and so successful.)

Originally, I was just going to salt and pepper it and rub it with a little olive oil, but I always have to remind myself approximately how long it takes to cook a tenderloin, and when I googled for that I ran across this recipe from Ellie Krieger on Food Network for Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub.

Now, doing a lot of thinking (i.e., measuring and multiple steps) is what I was trying to avoid, but since this recipe uses one teaspoon of all the spices, that speeds things up a little bit. Also, I like that there’s no sugar in the rub. Yay for low carb! (And Paleo, and Whole30!)

I also nixed the fresh garlic, because this would have added time to peel, chop, and fry. And with all those flavors in the spice mix, I really didn’t miss it one bit.

Also, I don’t trust any meat recipe that calls for a specific number of minutes. The secret to perfectly done meat of any kind is knowing what temperature it needs and hitting that. (I highly recommend using a digital meat thermometer like this one.)

And lastly, she didn’t specifiy how much salt to use. I took a guess and missed the mark, so I’ve remedied that here.

So here is my simplified version of Ellie’s recipe…

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QUICK PORK TENDERLOIN WITH SEASONED RUB

1 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander (you could omit if you don’t have this)
1 t. dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/8 t. table salt (Use up to twice as much if you like things salty.)
1 to 1.25 pounds pork tenderloin
olive oil for coating pans

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In separate bowl mix the seasonings: garlic powder through salt. Stir until all the ingredients are well combined. Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin with a dry hand; cover the entire tenderloin. If you have some  seasonings left, continue to sprinkle it until it’s all gone. Then pat the pork all over so the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin. (If you have other dinner prep to do, you could also let this sit at room temp for up to 15 minutes. That will add to the flavor and tenderness.)

TIME-SAVING NOTE: If you want to cut the prep time down further, you could skip the searing step, cooking it in the oven for the entire time. This is what I usually do. Jump right to the paragraph with the asterisk.*

Heat a nonstick skillet, over medium-plus-one-notch heat. Generously dribble olive oil in the pan and give it a minute to heat up. Then place the tenderloin in the pan; let it sit for three minutes and check the color on the underside. If it’s nicely brown, rotate and do the next side the same. If not, let it sit for another minute and check again.

Repeat until all sides are nicely browned. We’re just looking to sear the outside; not cook it through. (That happens in the oven.) This may be two or three sides, depending on the shape of your cut.

* Grease the bottom of a 9×13″ (or so) baking pan with olive oil and place the tenderloin in it. Place the pan in the oven.

Approximate oven time will be 15 – 25 minutes. But don’t go solely by the clock; use a quick-read thermometer to check the interior temp at 15 minutes, and then as needed till it reaches 143-145 F.

When the thermometer reads about 143-145 F, pull the pork from the oven. Please note: Most sources will tell you it’s not safe to eat at this temp, but the temp will continue to rise as the meat sits. If you wait till the recommended 160 F to pull it, you will have dry, chewy pork. (Note the photo above is not of this recipe, and is probably pinker than it will be at 160 F.)

Once removed from the oven, let the pork rest in the pan — thermometer still inserted — until the temp reaches 158-160 F. This will be approximately five minutes.

Cut in slices 1/2″ to 1″ thick. Do not slice until just before serving. This is best served right when it hits that 159-164 F mark, so if possible, time the rest of your meal around this.

Here is Food Network’s nutrition info:
Per Serving:
Calories: 209;
Total Fat: 9 grams;
Saturated Fat: 2 grams;
Protein: 30 grams;
Total carbohydrates: 2 grams;
Sugar: 0 grams
Fiber: 1 grams;
Cholesterol: 92 milligrams;
Sodium: 221 milligrams

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Easy freezer burritos – with diet options

meal prep: freezer burritos

meal prep: freezer burritos

Freezer burritos are one of the handiest things you can have stashed in the freezer, for easy meals or snacks any time! They were my go-to lunch last year while I was on my way to losing 33 pounds. Back then, this was a plain ol’ beef, bean and cheese burrito recipe, but I’ve since modified it to accommodate Paleo and other diet restrictions. I’m providing notes here so you can make it as traditional or as Paleo as you like it. It’s very customizable!

First, a few notes about the ingredients…

The tortillas. If you’re not gluten-restricted and you want the easiest option, just pick up your favorite brand of soft wheat tortillas from the store. Or better yet, stop by your favorite locally-owned Mexican restaurant and get a to-go order of tortillas.

If you’re eliminating gluten and/or grains from your diet, pick up your favorite ready-made gluten-free tortillas, or try this crepe-like recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo (this is the one I use), or this egg-free, cassava-flour based one from Eat Heal Thrive.

Beans vs sweet potatoes. There’s some debate as to whether beans are really good for you or not. The Paleo/Whole30 camp says that the proteins in legumes may mimic some of the body’s proteins, potentially kicking off auto-immune issues. To make a Paleo version, I swapped out mashed sweet potatoes for the same texture — and I ended up loving the sweet note they bring to the dish.

Here’s a nutrition comparison of the two (their fat and calorie profile are similar, so I left those out):

nutrition; sweet potatoes vs refried beans

Note that the sweet potatoes are higher in sugary carbs and lower in protein, but that they have tons of Vitamin A, while beans have none. (If you’re using the crepe-like tortillas, you’ve omitted a good deal of carbs right there, so it’s still not a carb-heavy dish.)

Feel free to use whichever you prefer for taste or nutrition — or maybe get crazy and use both!

The cheese. Feel free to include cheese if it fits into your healthy eating style. Omit it if it doesn’t.

The bell peppers. These are here to add fiber and Vitamin C. There’s really no downside to them, unless you just hate them (or can’t eat nightshades).

The meat. I believe that hormone-free, antibiotic-free red meat is a good thing. (I am from Kansas!) If you have an aversion to beef, feel free to sub ground turkey or another protein of your choice.

The salsa. Use your favorite. To keep it healthy, check the label to make sure there’s no sugar or corn syrup.

The taco seasoning. Sure, you can buy some ready-made. But check the label to make sure there’s no sugar, maltodextrin, corn starch, or other unnecessary fillers. Cheaper and healthier: make your own.

The guacamole. While not essential, it makes a nice visual finish, as well as adding flavor and healthy fat! If you happen to have some homemade, by all means use that! However, I usually just keep some Wholly Guacamole single-serve packs in the fridge; one is the perfect size to spread over a couple burritos.

Finally, a note about servings: Because there are so many variables in this recipe, I can only give you an approximation of how many burritos it will make. I get six or seven; your mileage may vary. Also, once you’ve made it once or twice and tuned into how you like to make it, you can certainly double or triple the recipe to really stock up.

Beef and sweet potato freezer burrito recipe

1 or 2 T. olive or coconut oil

1 small (or half a large) yellow onion, diced

1/2 large red bell pepper, diced

1 pound ground beef

1 medium sweet potato, already cooked and diced

(or sub half a can of refried beans)

1 cup of your favorite salsa (or more, to taste)

2 teaspoons taco seasoning (or more, to taste)

3/4 cup shredded cheddar or monterrey jack cheese (optional)

several 6″ tortillas

 

Dice peppers and onion, and saute in olive oil until they are soft. Leave in the pan but push them off to the side.

freezer burritos in the making

Brown the ground beef, drain excess fat if you want, and add in the taco seasoning; stir it all together till spices are distributed. Then add sweet potatoes (or beans) and salsa, and stir till evenly combined. Taste, and add salsa and/or taco seasoning till you’re happy with the flavor. Remove from heat.

Lay out several squares of waxed paper or parchment. These should be two or three inches wider than the diameter of your tortillas, and long enough to wrap around one two or three times. Lay a tortilla on each. Spoon the desired amount of filling down the center of the tortillas, in about a 2″-wide line from one edge to the other. Sprinkle with cheese, if using. Roll the burrito into a tube; no need to fold in the ends. If your filling isn’t sticky enough to hold the tortilla closed, secure it with a toothpick.

freezer burritos - roll 'em up

Then wrap the paper around it. Again, no need to fold in the ends. Repeat till filling is all used. Place wrapped burritos on a cookie sheet or other flat surface, setting them down in such a way that the weight of the burrito holds the paper in place. Then place this in the freezer till the burritos are firm.

freezer burritos, ready to go in the freezer

Then put them all into a large plastic baggie and return to the freezer.

To reheat a burrito, remove the wrapper and place seam-side-down on a plate, and microwave for 30 seconds. Then turn it over and microwave till heated through. I use the “reheat” button on my microwave; every machine is different, so experiment to find what works for you, and make a note of that. Be sure to remove the toothpick before topping with guac!

Make up a batch of these on the weekend, and you’ll have healthy, easy lunches — or dinners, or snacks — on hand for a quick, few-minute meal!

 

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beef + sweet potato freezer burritos

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Balsamic-glazed salmon

balsamic glazed salmon

balsamic glazed salmon

If you like balsamic vinegar, you’ll love this salmon recipe! This one has been in my meal rotation for years, and for good reason. It’s a really simple dish — and like most really simple things, it’s also beautiful!

balsamic-salmon-closeup-700x560

For the balsamic glazed salmon recipe, visit my guest post at Faith, Food and Fitness!

(The green beans and pine nuts are another one of my long-time faves — also super easy! Recipe here.)

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Ginger chicken skillet

ginger chicken recipe

ginger chicken recipe

This Ginger Chicken recipe is from Kelly Bejelly at agirlworthsaving.com. She does a bang-up job of making comfort food that meets Paleo and/or AIP requirements.

This recipe is one she says her mom used to make weekly — and I can see why! It’s both easy and delicious.

My only changes to her recipe are to use thighs instead of drumsticks — I think they’re easier to eat, and we both prefer that meat. Plus, I eliminated the chopped red onion. It adds a little color, but there’s so much flavor happening I think they’re not totally necessary, and it simplifies the prep a bit. And I’m all about that!

One-Pan Ginger Chicken Recipe

4 chicken thighs

salt and pepper

about 1 T. coconut oil

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 fat piece ginger, about 2″ long, peeled and sliced pretty thin

1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped into thin slices

Make a slit in the meat that runs along the bone on the skinless side of the thighs. (There’s a line of fat and/or membrane there; just cut along that.) This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it makes the meat easier to cut off the bone later on while you’re eating it.

Trim off any skin that extends beyond the meat. Season the meat generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the coconut oil, then add the chopped onion and ginger and cook for 3 minutes.

Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, skin side up, and cover with a lid. Turn the heat to low and allow to cook covered for 30 – 40 minutes, until meat is done. The juices will run clear, and the interior temperature of meat is at least 170 F.

Optional: For more color on the chicken, remove them from the skillet and broil for 3 – 5 minutes at the end.

Spoon the pan sauce over the thighs after plating, then sprinkle sliced green onions over them.

Mmm, that’s tasty!

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Gyro wrap (gluten-free, mostly Paleo)

quick lunch from leftover hamburger - gyro wrap

Some of my best — and easiest! — lunches are born out of “what do I have in the fridge and freezer today?” This Gyro-inspired wrap is one of them.

I usually have already-cooked sausage or seasoned hamburger in the freezer, crumbled and divided into quarter-pound servings, in individual sandwich baggies. I also try to always keep romaine in the fridge, and now that I’m no longer doing a strict Whole30, I also keep plain Greek yogurt in the fridge. (Use dairy-free yogurt for Whole30 or strict Paleo.) And I always, always keep diced onions at-the-ready. All that’s needed to round out this lunch is tomatoes, cucumber, and a little dill.

No measuring involved; these directions are for one serving: Just put a “plop” of yogurt in a small bowl or ramekin (I’d guesstimate that’s about 2 or 3 tablespoons), add a pinch of dried dill weed, and a generous dash of garlic salt. Stir those together and set aside.

easy lunch: dill yogurt sauce for gyro

 

Defrost and warm up the ground beef or sausage. (Here’s a short video showing how I season the hamburger as I cook it.)

Dice some cucumber, tomato and onion.

Next, lay out three medium-sized heart-of-romaine leaves — or similar sized lettuce leaves, or other gluten-free wrap of your choice. (Have you tried this gluten-free flatbread recipe?)

Then layer them with a smear of the yogurt sauce, one third of the heated meat mixture, and top with the diced vegetables according to your taste. Top with more yogurt sauce, if desired.

quick easy lunch: gyro wrap - paleo, gluten free

 

The reason for putting some sauce on the bottom is that the juices from the meat will mingle with it and create a more complex sauce. The extra yogurt on top stays cold and provides a contrast to the warmer contents below.

Of course, you can tweak this suit your leftovers: use guacamole in place of the yogurt mix and swap out the cucumbers for your pepper of choice for gluten-free taco wraps. Swap mayo (and/or ketchup, if you allow it) for the yogurt mix, and sub pickles and/or mustard for the cukes, and you’ve got an American burger wrap. What else could you come up with?

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your leftovers! It opens up a lot more possibilities for quick, easy lunches!

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quick easy lunch - gyro wrap, paleo, gluten-free

Meatballs with marinara & Italian roasted cauliflower

meatballs, marinara, zoodles, + roasted cauliflower

With some easy advance prep, this is a Whole 30 compliant / Paleo meal that comes together quickly. The cast:

One yummy, tasty, Whole30 dinner!

For the side dish: Roasted cauliflower from Simply Recipes  – to make it Whole30 compliant, skip the Parm but sprinkle the cauliflower with garlic salt and Italian seasoning mix.

Make sure the seasoning mix is sugar free, corn free, etc. Better yet, make your own. You can find plenty of recipes, but in a pinch, just throw together some dried basil and oregano in generous portions, some garlic powder, and then a little rosemary, thyme, and/or marjoram, if you’ve got ’em.

How to make this an easy, throw-together weeknight meal: Make up a whole batch (or two) of the nom nom meatballs on your day off, and keep them in the freezer in serving-size packs. Four per person works nicely in our house. Make up a batch (or two) of that easy marinara sauce, and freeze it in one- or two-cup units. Cut up the cauliflower the night before, if you want to save that time. Then everything comes together quickly at the last minute!

And — did I mention — yummy?

paleo meatballs, marinara, and cauliflower

New to eating gluten-free? Or thinking of going Paleo?

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