Browsing Category: real food recipes

Easy chicken chili

easy chicken chili

Looking for an alternate to regular chili? This recipe has been a go-to for me for a few years. It’s stood the test of time — and my husband! He’s not a big fan of soup or chicken, but whenever I serve this, he says, “This is good!”

There are only two things to be chopped, and every ingredient is probably something you already have on hand. Ancho chili pepper is the one thing you may not normally stock. And other than the avocado, which is optional, all the ingredients are things you can keep on hand in your pantry, fridge, or freezer, so this makes a great stand-by dish.

To make it lower carb and higher fat (or Paleo-, Whole30-friendly), omit the starch step, double the heavy cream or coconut milk (use coconut milk for Paleo), and replace the beans with one chopped avocado.

To make it dairy-free, use coconut milk.

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Easy chicken chili recipe

makes 2 – 3 servings

 

10-12 oz. of chicken, cooked or uncooked

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 medium onion

3/4 teaspoon chili seasoning mix (recipe below)

1&1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

1/2 can black or white beans

3/4 your favorite salsa

2 Tablespoons heavy cream or full-fat canned coconut milk

optional:

  • 1 t. potato starch potato, arrowroot, or tapioca starch
  • 1 avocado chopped

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chili seasoning mix (small batch)

2 t. chili powder

2 t. ground cumin

2 t. dried oregano

1.5 t. ground ancho chili pepper

1/2 t. salt  or 1 t. kosher salt

1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

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If you don’t already have a batch made, make up the chili seasoning mix. (You can use this mix for regular chili, too, so I always have a batch made up and ready to go.)

Cut or tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside.

Coarsely chop the onion. Saute it in olive oil until tender. Add the seasoning mix and stir for one minute.

If using raw chicken, add it now and stir a couple times until most sides are white.

Reserve 1/4 cup of broth, if you’ll be adding starch. Add the remaining broth, beans (if using), salsa, and chicken (if you haven’t already), bring to a boil briefly, then turn down and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Add starch into the 1/4 cup reserved broth, stir well, and add immediately to soup, stirring it in. Add cream or coconut milk and stir it in. Simmer longer, if desired, to thicken up more.

If using avocado, chop and add it about a minute before serving.

Optional toppers: sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped avocado, fresh cilantro, crushed tortilla chips.

 

12 real-food Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes (some paleo, low carb)

12 low-carb paleo real-food Thanksgiving + Christmas recipes

Here are some of my go-to recipes and preparation tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All of them lean toward whole foods; some of them are Paleo, or keto, or adaptable. (I’ve already added an extra, and this list will probably grow as I find new favorites.)

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The stars

green bean casserole

Crock-pot green bean casserole – This recipe, with all the ingredients of the original classic, has two helpful twists: It’s handy when you need to have one less thing in the oven (so, every holiday), and you can make it ahead. (Don’t want to use canned soup? There’s a link to a make-your-own recipe.)

Cream of pumpkin soup – Easy to make ahead; one of my favorites! Just as good with coconut milk as with the original cream.

Low-carb mashed “potatoes” – If you’ve tried mashed cauliflower before and been disappointed, maybe you just didn’t add enough fat! Try this recipe. (My picky husband says I nailed it!)

20 cranberry sauce recipes – Including several refined-sugar-free and a couple Paleo ones.

7 roasted sweet potato recipes – Not a marshmallow in sight!

Quinoa stuffing – I haven’t made this recipe yet, but I plan to soon. I’ve never been a fan of stuffing — too mushy. But combining the savory flavors of stuffing with quinoa? Genius — and gluten-free!

Timetable for roasted vegetables – If you haven’t tried roasting vegetables – or if you have, with disappointing results – check this out! This is one of our all-time favorite ways to eat vegetables, and I put together a list of which veggies need to cook how long. Roasting brings out so much sweetness, with zero added sugar, honey, or anything but olive oil, salt, and pepper.

This is my favorite pan for roasted vegetables, and anything else that can be made on a rimmed cookie sheet: USA Pan Jelly Roll Pan. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PAN!!! Bakes evenly, rinses off like brand-new teflon every time. Everyone in my house has been threatened to not even think of co-opting this for some craft or garage project!(Note: This link is through my Amazon affiliateship, but I truly do love this pan!)

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Sweets

sugar-free gingerbread prune cookies

No-bake sugar-free gingerbread bites – You could also make these with pumpkin pie spice.

One-ingredient gluten-free pie crust – Here’s the simple crust I use to make shot-glass desserts. Add some sugar-free pumpkin mousse or pumpkin cheesecake, and you’ve got a guilt-free substitute for pumpkin pie. (There’s a recipe for that in my Guilt-Free Treats cookbook.) Don’t forget to pile on the whipped cream!

Sugar-free dairy-free coffee ice cream – My husband declared this “better than Marble Slab coffee ice cream” – his favorite!

Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs – Keto-friendly li’l bites of goodness.

Keto snickerdoodles – Enough said!

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Leftovers

turkey pot pie

Turkey pot pie – The traditional, much-anticipated, day-after-Thanksgiving meal in our house. Sub a mashed potato or cauliflower crust for a gluten-free or low-carb version.

Monte Cristo sandwich – If you eat bread or gluten-free bread, here’s my favorite way to use leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. (Much easier than the pot pie.)

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Tips

Thanksgiving and Christmas food prep FAQs – How long to cook turkey or ham?, how much food per person?, and other answers and handy resources.

 Do you have any favorite real-food, Paleo, keto, etc holiday recipes or tips? Comment below!
12 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes - sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or low-carb
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12 Healthy Christmas Recipes - sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or low-carb

My most-used, must-have dressing and dip recipes

most-used, must-have dressing and dip recipes

In this new mini-cookbook, I’ve collected all the dressing recipes I use again and again. They’re the most basic, most versatile dressings: many of them can also serve as dips for veggies, and as a spread for sandwiches, burgers, and other entrees.

Some of the recipes in this book are scattered throughout this blog, but with this downloadable, printable pdf, you won’t have to hunt all over to find them. Also, a few of these recipes have never appeared on this blog.

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book cover; dressings, dips, and spreads

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The pdf book includes:

  • 4-ingredient mayo
  • Honey-mustard dressing
  • Easy aioli (garlic mayo)
  • Dairy-free Ranch
  • Avocado Ranch
  • Creamy Italian
  • Tex-Mex
  • Sugar-free strawberry poppy seed
  • Blue cheese (tastes like my favorite restaurant version!)
  • Easy Caesar
  • The last vinaigrette recipe you’ll ever need

You’ll also find tips for using these recipes beyond salad, as well as a complete shopping list for every recipe.

View it on your device (handy at the grocery store), or print it out to keep in your kitchen.

Buy it here.

Or get it for free when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. (Also free.)

Cinnamon grain-free granola or breakfast cereal

grain-free sugar-free paleo granola

I’ve been making this easy grain-free granola for ages! These days, I’m enjoying it as a low-carb substitute for breakfast cereal. Having it on hand makes it possible again to have a breakfast that’s as simple as pouring two things into a bowl!

It also makes a yummy whole-food snack: perfect for times when I want something portable, crunchy and munchy. (Hello, road trips and movie theaters!) And happily, this recipe also satisfies the requirements for whole food, real food, sugar-free, low-carb, and Paleo diets. Maybe also keto: see notes at the end.

It comes together quickly, and is made on the stove-top, so you don’t even need to heat the oven!

A few things about the ingredients…

The coconut used is large flake and unsweetened. For the best deal, look for it where bulk foods are sold.

grain-free granola, use large-flake coconut

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Sliced almonds will give a more delicate, crispy crunch than slivered — which will be better for cereal. But if slivered is all you’ve got, or you’re just making this for a snack, slivered almonds are fine.

sliced and slivered almonds

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stevia extract

 

 

Stevia extracts vary in sweetness. This is the brand and flavor I use.

 

Feel free to experiment with other brands and flavors, but just remember that it may need adjusting. If you’re unsure, try making a one-third batch first, to zone in on the perfect sweetener level for your taste.

 

Ready for the recipe?

 


Grain-free, sugar-free granola or breakfast cereal

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1.5 Tblsp coconut oil

6 drops liquid stevia extract, plain or flavored*

1.5 cups large, unsweetened, dried coconut flakes

optional: additional 1 teasp coconut oil

1 cup each:

  • sliced (or slivered) almonds
  • large pecan pieces (or small pecans)
  • large English walnut pieces

1/2 to 1 teasp cinnamon

optional: dash salt

*The sweetness level of this recipe as written is slightly sweet to someone who’s used to a sugar-free, sweetener-free life. If your taste runs sweeter, you may want to use more. If you’re unsure, try making a one-third batch first, to zone in on the perfect sweetener level for your taste.

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DIRECTIONS:

For a full batch, your skillet / frying pan should have a 9″ (23 cm) diameter bottom, at least. Larger is fine.

Place pan over medium-low heat. Add the 1.5 tablespoon of coconut oil and the stevia drops. Stir them together, then add the coconut flakes. Turn them over several times — gently, so as not to break too many flakes — so that the oil coats the flakes on both sides.

Then let it sit, but stay near, watching for it to begin turning brown on the bottom. (The first picture below shows it as it begins browning.) As it does, gently turn large spoonfuls over every few/several minutes till many of the pieces are lightly toasted; some will still be mostly white. (Second image below.)

coconut in two stages of toasting, for granola

If the bottom of the pan looks dry at this point,  add another teaspoon of coconut oil.

Add the almonds, pecans, and walnuts, and continue to stir for two or three minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the cinnamon and salt. Stir gently to distribute the cinnamon.

grain-free sugar-free granola, cooling in the pan

You may let it cool in the pan, stirring occasionally. This will probably be 30 minutes, at least. (I sometimes let it sit for several hours as I do other stuff around the house, just stirring it whenever I swing through the kitchen.)

When completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container. Keeps at room temp for a week or more.

For cereal, just top it with your favorite milk. I like coconut.  🙂

grain-free sugar-free granola or breakfast cereal

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Some questions you may have:

Is there a printable? – Sure: here ya go! Grain-free sugar-free granola/cereal recipe.

Can I add other ingredients, like flax seed, chia seed, or hemp hearts? – I wouldn’t add them to the mix, because this isn’t a sticky granola, and they’re so much smaller they’re going to sift quickly to the bottom of the container. But you could certainly sprinkle them on just before eating.

Wow! Isn’t this really high calorie? – Yep. Sure is. I don’t count calories. I find that when I eat all whole foods and keep carbs in check (oh, and address my emotional eating), my daily intake tends to correct itself without any counting.

Is it keto? – It’s certainly low carb, high fat. I haven’t run the macros, but I think you might need to add more coconut oil to make it high enough fat for serious keto. (I don’t have any experience with a keto calculator, but here’s wholesomeyum’s recommendation.)

How much is a serving? – That’s entirely up to you, but I’ll warn you: because it’s so low in carbs (carbs make you hungry) and high in fat (fat makes you full), you’re going to want a lot less of this than you would of cereal. And while I don’t count calories, they do count to some extent, and nuts can quickly get you outside of healthy bounds. To keep snack servings in check, you might want to portion it out into snack baggies or other small containers. I just put a small amount in a very small bowl at home, or in baggies when I’m out.

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Share the love! Post to Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook!

grain-free sugar-free granola or cereal

Shrimp and sausage skillet – quick, easy, Paleo meal

shrimp and sausage skillet

This one-pan meal comes together in 20-minutes or less, and has protein, lots of veggies, and healthy fats — what’s not to love?! Plus it’s flexible – change out the veggies, use a different sausage, experiment with spices, leave out the shrimp — it’ll still come out great. And it’s Paleo, too! No processed food here.

The recipe is by Paleo Newbie, so I’ll just link to her recipe at the end. Here’s her photo; a little sexier than mine, eh?

shrimp and sausage skillet by Paleo Newbie

It’s pretty quick and easy as-is, but I like to do a little ingredient prep earlier in the day, so at dinner time, everything just goes into the pan without any measuring or chopping.

As you can see in my prep (photo below), I did the following:

  • Chopped the shrimp in half, for more bite-sized pieces.
  • Added some of the spices to the shrimp for a dry marinade.
  • Used a different kind of sausage — cooked and crumbled. (Check out my homemade sausage recipes.)
  • Used only one color of bell pepper, and added mushrooms.

I group together the ingredients that go into the pan at the same time. I just cover all these and stick them in the fridge till it’s go-time.

shrimp + sausage skillet meal prep tips

This is a recipe I turn to again and again. My hubs and I both love the flavor, and I love how easy it is to cook up and put on the table!

Original recipe on Paleo Newbie

2-minute grain-free biscuit/muffin/bread/toast (Paleo, Keto, Whole30 friendly)

Paleo, Keto, grain-free, gluten-free English muffin

If you’re committed to living a gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, low-carb, or ketogenic lifestyle, one of the hardest things to live without is bread — right?! You’re gonna love this: this Paleo/Keto bread recipe fits all those requirements AND it involves one bowl, a minute or so of whisking with a fork, and less than two minutes in the microwave. It’s so quick and simple, and helps round out so many meals, it’s earned a permanent spot in my recipe file. So easy! You can also use it to make avocado toast, garlic toast, or strawberry shortcake!

I’ve updated this post to include two versions…

Option 1: It looks like an English muffin, but the texture is really more like a biscuit. Use it where you’d use a biscuit, or as a base for berry shortcake. In either case, don’t skip toasting it and adding LOTS of butter!

Option 2: This one is a little lighter and works well as toast on its own, for sandwiches, or for dipping in oil. It eliminates the coconut flour, and uses a different vessel for cooking.

 

Option 1: biscuit / English muffin recipe

3 Tablespoons fine blanched almond flour

1 Tablespoon coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon avocado oil or melted coconut oil

 

In a cereal or soup bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, then push them to one side of the bowl.

Place the egg and oil in the empty spot and whisk with a fork till well blended. Then stir the wet and dry together till it’s all the same consistency. It will be about as thick as wet mashed potatoes, or thick cornbread batter.

Grease a 7 oz ramekin. UPDATE: You can still cook it in a ramekin, but I’ve found that a tall coffee mug with parallel sides works nicely, too, and you get a little taller result with a flatter bottom. (I love this chemical-free, soy-free avocado oil spray from  Chosen Foods.) Put all the batter in the ramekin or mug, even out the top, and microwave for one and a half minutes.

dish + spray for Paleo Keto English muffin

The ramekin may be hot! If using a coffee mug, just grab the handle. After removing it from the microwave, turn the muffin out and let it sit till cool enough to handle. If the top is lumpy, just slice that bit off, for even toasting. Slice horizontally into halves or thirds, and let some of the steam escape before toasting. Toasting can be done in a toaster or oven, but toasting is essential to get a nice golden crust, for both visual appeal and texture.

Ways to use it:

Paleo, Keto, gluten-free English muffin with chia seed jam

  • Spread with one or more of your favorite toppings — butter, ghee, cinnamon, nut butter, or sugar-free jam. I like this chia seed jam from The Kitchn. (This photo shows the muffin version, but use this topping on either option.)
  • Also a great accompaniment for soup or any dish that wants its sauce sopped up with bread!
  • I’ve also used it as the shortbread-biscuit component in my family’s version of strawberry shortcake. (Don’t expect pound cake: this is truly strawberry shortbread.) Toast in the toaster, then crumble into a small bowl. Top with macerated strawberries, drizzle with some cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk. You can also top it with whipped cream if you like. Or instead of the crumble, stack it up…

keto strawberry shortcake

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  • I’ve also just poured a berry compote over the buttered toast. To make a simple compote, heat up some mixed berries (frozen is fine) with a little maple syrup, honey, or sweetener until the berries are soft.

berry compote on keto paleo toast

 

Option 2: Paleo/keto bread for toast recipe

3 Tablespoons fine blanched almond flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon avocado oil or melted coconut oil

In a cereal or soup bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, then push them to one side of the bowl.

Place the egg and oil in the empty spot and whisk with a fork till well blended. Then stir the wet and dry together till it’s all the same consistency. It will be about as thick as wet mashed potatoes, or thick cornbread batter.

Flatten the batter out in the bowl, and cook for 90 seconds in the microwave. Be careful when removing: the bowl will be hot.

Run a knife or spatula around the edge and turn the bread out onto a clean dishtowel or paper towel. (Set it to soak in lukewarm water right away.) Let the bread sit until cool enough to work with.

Using a long serrated knife, slice it in half horizontally. Optional: cut the larger piece in half to make two half-circles. This creates three fairly equally divided pieces.

Let it cool just a little bit more: toast it and add LOTS of butter! Like, butter it once, let that soak in, and butter it again. (If you’re using it for dipping in oil, you can skip the buttering.)

How to use:

 

keto paleo bacon avocado toast

  • Of course, avocado toast is the bomb! Bacon optional, but oh so recommended!
  • For garlic toast, toast it lightly first, then spread with butter and garlic salt, and broil till you like the color. Watch it closely!
  • Serve it toasted but untopped, along with some good olive oil to dip it in. Better yet, enhance the olive oil with balsamic vinegar, roasted garlic, or your favorite seasoning blend. We like it with zaatar.

shrimp salad on keto paleo toast

  • Use as a sandwich bread, either stacked, or open face. Here, I’ve topped it with shrimp salad, with some avocado smash underneath.

Enjoy!

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Macros:

Here are the macros for the keto peeps. This is option two, one-third of the whole recipe, without butter.

For option one macros, add 1.4 gr carbs to this. (Fat and protein is negligible in coconut flour.)

macros for keto toast

Note: Inspired by this recipe from Running to the Kitchen, but I’ve tweaked the recipe to make it a one-bowl deal, and to make the muffin a bit less soggy. See her original for a cinnamon-raisin version (not so keto-friendly).

Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs

blueberry cheesecake fat bombs

A picture of this sugar-free keto treat has been in my @jana.realfood account on Instagram for a while, and people keep commenting,”Where’s the recipe for those blueberry cheesecake fat bombs? I want to make them!” So finally I got the hint: here’s the recipe!

 

Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs recipe

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2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (strawberries or raspberries would probably work great, too!)

8 ounces cream cheese

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice (or more, to your taste)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 drops plain or vanilla stevia extract (omit, or add more, to your liking)

3 dashes of salt

 

Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes, until softened.

If using fresh berries, wash them and remove the stems. Frozen berries work fine, too. Just make sure they’re sugar-free!

blueberries - fresh and frozen

If using frozen berries, let them sit at room temp for 10 or 15 minutes before blending.

Combine all ingredients using an immersion blender* or food processor, and mix until well combined. Taste, and adjust lemon juice and/or sweetener to your preference. This amount makes for a very subtle flavor. If you like a stronger lemon flavor (I do!), you may want to add quite a bit more.

Spoon the mixture into small muffin silicon molds or candy molds*. Place in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until set.

Pop them out and store in a bag in the freezer. Enjoy!

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Macros

Since the per-serving info depends on what size you make your fat bombs, I can’t provide macros for an individual serving. So please note that the numbers below are for the entire recipe. To determine serving numbers, divide these figures by the total number of servings you made.

Carbs: 23 gr (6%)

Protein: 14 gr (4%)

Fat: 150 gr (90%)

Info from calculator on happyforks.com

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*Equipment I recommend

This is the immersion blender I use and love. It comes with a blender attachment, a whisk attachment, and a carafe. So handy for making whipped cream. And essential for homemade mayo, or dump ranch dressing!

Here’s a cheaper version. Just a blender, no whisk or carafe.

Here’s the candy mold I use for fat bombs. (This is not what’s shown in the picture.)

Please note: These are Amazon affiliate links; if you buy something through them, I will get a li’l something from Amazon, with no additional cost to you. 🙂

blueberry cheesecake fat bombs

Mashed cauliflower – great low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes

pan-seared salmon on mashed cauliflower

Is there a comfort food more universally loved than mashed potatoes? A classic side for everything from meatloaf to fried chicken to Salisbury steak to Thanksgiving turkey, chances are, if you’re American, this was a regular on your dinner table growing up.

If you’re cutting back on carbs, though, you’ve got to either cut it out or restrict your serving to a tiny amount.

Cauliflower saves the day! I call it “cauli mash” for short. If you’re served this in a fancy-schmancy restaurant, they may call it “cauliflower puree.” Call it what you will, it’s yummy, and a great foil for a number of different dishes.

Besides the traditional ways to serve this dish, I love it under pan-seared salmon, shown in the main pic above. (Have you seen my video on how to make perfectly-done pan-seared salmon? It’s so much easier than it sounds!)

It’s also scrumptious as a side dish for pork chops.

mashed cauliflower side dish

 

And delicious under pulled pork or carnitas, topped with some cheese, sour cream, and/or guacamole.

pulled pork over mashed cauliflower

cauliflower packageThe secret to getting a great texture in your cauli mash is four-fold: it must be cooked till soft, well-drained, mixed with a stick blender (unless you want it chunky), and have lots of added fat! It takes a few steps, but it’s not hard. Plus, this is a versatile side or base that goes with lots of things, and it keeps well in the fridge, so I always make enough for at least a couple meals. The 24-oz. bag is plenty to make at least six servings.

I use packaged fresh cauli already cut into florets, but if you want to save money and spend a little more time on prep, you can buy a whole head and cut it down yourself.cauliflower florets

Here’s my method…

Mashed cauliflower / cauliflower puree recipe

24 oz. of cauliflower florets

(you can include stem pieces, cut to much smaller than the florets)

1/4 cup butter or ghee*

1/4 cup sour cream (or non-dairy substitute)*

2 T. bacon fat*

2 T. cheese, your choice of cheddar or cream cheese (optional)*

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine salt (if using coarse salt, double the amount)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/16 teaspoon dill (optional)

*See step 5, regarding the fats. It’s completely okay to adjust these to your liking.

  1. Cut the florets to somewhat-equal sized pieces, and steam them over simmering water until they can be easily sliced through with a plastic utensil, such as a spoon or spatula. I do a 24-oz. package in three batches. This ensures they steam more evenly, and helps with the next step.
  2. Drain them, press them, then dry them some more. I use the steamer section of my pan as a colander, holding it over the sink with the cooked cauli in it, gently pressing down with a large mixing spoon to force more water out. Don’t press too hard, or it will begin to mash and drip out the bottom.
  3. (Sometimes I skip this step; no big deal.) Then I put that batch in the mixing bowl and kind of spread it out, so more steam can escape. (I use the small mixing bowl from my mom’s vintage Sunbeam Mixmaster. Did your mom or grandma have one of these?)glass-mixing-bowl-300 A little bit before I’m ready to dump the next batch of cooked florets into the bowl, I reach in with a sturdy paper towel over my hand and give the steamed-out cauli a squeeze or two.
  4. Repeat till all the cauli is cooked and drained.
  5. Add the fat! You can tweak the amounts if you want less of one and more of the other, to adjust to your taste or dietary requirements.
  6. Blend well using a stick blender. Start at the top and press down while blending, then release the button and repeat again till it’s all starting to look the same. Then you can add your seasonings and blend everything together well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve immediately, or store in a tightly-closed container in the fridge for several days. Reheats well in the microwave.

Serves 6-8.