Tag Archives: almonds

Easy green bean side dish: Green beans and pine nuts

easy green bean side dish with nuts

easy green bean side dish with nuts

This is one of my favorite veggie dishes, and if you’re looking for an easy green bean side dish, you found it! This is SO easy to throw together, I actually sometimes make it for a snack! (nom nom nom!)

But it feels just a bit more elegant than an everyday dish. There’s something about the mingling of these four simple ingredients that just works. And it goes great with so many main dishes: fish, grilled steak, pork chops, roasted chicken. Plus, if made with ghee, it’s Paleo and Whole30 friendly!

And when I say it’s simple to “throw together,” I mean it. You won’t need to dirty a single measuring cup or spoon!

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Green Beans and Pine Nuts (or Almonds, Pecans, or Walnuts)
Serves 2; scale up as necessary

2 generous handfuls of fresh or frozen green beans

a splash or two of olive oil

a tablespoon or two of butter or ghee (just eyeball the amount)

1 handful of pine nuts — or your choice of slivered almonds, pecan or walnut pieces

several shakes of salt

If using fresh green beans, snap off the ends and break them into pieces of whatever length you like.

Pour water into a small saucepan, to a depth of about 1″; bring to a boil. Add the green beans. If they’re frozen, stir till the water returns to a boil. Turn the heat down a couple notches and simmer until the beans are done to your liking. Recommended: while they are still bright green, but pleasingly tender when you bite one.

Tip: To safely test whether they’re done to your liking, pull one out, lay it on a dish or cutting board, and tap it a couple times with the back of a spoon or another flat utensil, before you taste it. This will force out the steam that may be on the inside and keep you from burning your mouth!

Drain the beans and leave them in the colander for the moment. Return the saucepan to the heat and pour in a bit of olive oil; add the butter and the pine nuts to that. Stir over medium heat, until you can smell the pine nuts, or until they begin to turn toasty brown.

Add the beans back into the pan and stir to coat them with the sauce and the nuts. Add a little salt. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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Grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo granola; yummy, healthy treat!

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Cranberry Walnut Paleo Granola, from Cook Eat Paleo

I cannot believe I’ve never posted a link to this recipe for Cranberry Walnut Paleo Granola from Cook Eat Paleo! I discovered it more than a year ago, and it’s one of my favorite low-sugar, grain-free treats. I’m not doing the whole pure paleo thing, but there are components of the diet that line up with my nutrition philosophy, so I find paleo food blogs a great source for recipes.

I’ve made my own variation of the original Cranberry Walnut Paleo Granola version (notes below). I haven’t made the Cinnamon Raisin Spice Paleo Granola, but it sounds incredibly tasty, too!

This would make a great sugar-free Christmas goody giveaway. (I’ve also put together a list of 12 Homemade Christmas Treats That Aren’t Sweets.) It has no processed sugar, and is sweetened with a small amount of maple syrup, making it vegan-friendly, too.

And here’s my version…

Cranberry Walnut Paleo Granola Recipe

I have halved and tweaked the original recipe. This fits nicely on a 10 x 15″ cookie sheet; and the 4-cup measuring cup works perfectly for a mix-and-pour bowl.

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds without hulls)
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut – larger flakes are better
1/8 teaspoon table salt (or 1/4 t. sea salt or kosher salt)
1 T. coconut oil, melted
1.5 T. maple syrup
1/2 cup dried cranberries and/or other dried fruit; I like to use these pre-chopped prune bits called “Amazins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a rimmed cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper, or lining it with foil that’s oiled or sprayed.

Combine nuts, pepitas, and coconut in mixing bowl. Mix together coconut oil and maple syrup until well combined, and stir into nut mix.

Spread the mixture evenly on the prepared cookie sheet. Optional: sprinkle with 1/4 t. kosher  or sea salt.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until coconut is just lightly browned. (Your oven may vary.)

Remove from oven, add the dried cranberries and/or Amazins, and toss to combine. Cool completely before serving.
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Disclosure: links go to my Amazon store, but you can find them at your local grocery.

Sugar-free chocolate bark + your favorite toppings!

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Sugar-free chocolate bark recipe, with coconut and almonds

Here’s a really simple recipe that looks and tastes completely decadent, but it’s low carb/South Beach diet friendly, because it’s sugar free! You can top this sugar-free chocolate bark with whatever toppings float your boat; I first tried it with a mix of chopped almonds and unsweetened coconut on one end (shown above), and salty pepitas (roasted hull-less pumpkin seeds) on the other.

I served this for dessert last night — just the hubs and me. Here’s what it looked like when we started…

Here’s what it looked like when we were done:

And no, he is not putting that back in the pan!

Clearly, the almond/coconut end was the favorite! The slight sweetness of both coconut and almond goes nicely with the semi-sweet, almost bitter flavor of this chocolate. I think the pepitas would taste great with a sweeter, perhaps milkier chocolate. I’ll try that another day.

But today, there’s a new batch in the fridge that’s all almond/coconut!

Recipe: Sugar-free chocolate bark

Note: If you’re not avoiding sugar, substitute up to 1/4 c. of sugar for the Splenda.

6 T. butter
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate (one square of baking chocolate)
1/4 c. + 2 T. cocoa (unsweetened)
6 pkts. Splenda
1/2 t. vanilla
toppings of your choice, probably around 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Prepare a 10×15 pan by lining it with parchment. Trim the parchment if necessary so that it extends over the long sides of the pan, but does not come up the short sides of the pan at all. (My photos above show how not to do that!) Clip the parchment to the sides, if you like, with some clothespins or other large clips. Set aside.

Melt the butter and the baking chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Add in the cocoa and Splenda, and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth. Add in the vanilla, stir until combined, then pour it into the prepared pan. Spread the chocolate out to a fairly even smoothness. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Sprinkle your toppings of choice over the chocolate, then chill for a couple hours at least. Keep it refrigerated when not serving (or snitching) it, because it softens quickly.

If you’re looking for a recipe with a different sweetener, here are some other options:

Want more recipes like this? or looking for Paleo recipes? Check out my cookbook…

 sugar-free dessert cookbook now available

Amost-Panera’s Asian chicken salad

Almost-Panera's Asian Chicken Salad

I love the Asian Chicken Salad at Panera, so I experimented and came up with the recipe that comes pretty darn close. Just this week I discovered that you can get the actual Panera recipe online, but I actually like this version better.

And it’s so, so simple! Instead of finding a source for the won ton fries (or frying them myself), I just use Ramen noodles. So much easier, and probably lower fat, too. If that’s too many carbs for you, you could just leave them off and put on extra almonds.

Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad

4 hearts-of-romaine heads
2 handfuls cilantro leaves, chopped
4 cooked chicken breasts, sliced thin (grilled, roasted or poached)
4 green onions, chopped
1 pkg. ramen noodles
1/2 c. sliced or slivered almonds

optional: sesame seeds for garnish

Dressing:
3 packets of Splenda OR 2 T. sugar*
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Prepare the dressing 30 minutes ahead of time by combining the first three ingredients in a food processor or blender. With the blender running, drizzle in the vegetable oil. Set aside.

How to chop romaine: 
This is how I like to do it: Start by making one slice down the length of the head, starting about 5” from the stem, going all the way to the loose end. Rotate the head one quarter turn and make a second slice in the same manner. (I like to slice right down the center of the rib.) Then chop perpendicular to the first slices, starting at the loose end and working toward the stem end. Stop 4 or 5” from the stem, and save the uncut part for another use.

Slice the green onions. You may leave the cilantro leaves whole or chop them, whichever you prefer.

In a large bowl combine the lettuce, cilantro, and green onions. Let chill at least 10 minutes. (Longer is better; the lettuce absorbs someof the cilatro and green onion flavors.) Break up the ramen noodles into bite-sized pieces and set aside. At this point, you may hold everything till serving time, if you wish.

To serve, add the chicken, almonds and ramen noodles. Serve in salad bowls and offer the dressing in a pourable container so your guest can add as much dressing as they want. You can also pour the dressing over the top of the salad, toss, and serve immediately.

*You can use either Splenda or sugar with no compromise in taste, but using sugar makes it cling to the greens better.