Tag Archives: main dish

Sage & Pepper Pork Chops

 

Sage & Pepper Pork Chops | Paleo + LifeI am pleased to report that I am done with the bar exam, and my life has started to regain a bit of normalcy. As normal as it ever is, at any rate.

This means I get to focus a bit on fun things, like figuring out how to take pictures again. I am still very much a novice food photographer, and with the last two months being taken up with other things,  my beginning skills seem to have flown the coop. I really want to spend a lot more time playing around with my camera again.

These pictures were not taken when I had time to fiddle around with the camera, but just as we were sitting down to dinner. I served these with sides of butternut squash and sauteed peas, but really, they work with just about anything.
I love chops because they are so easy to customize to your own taste. Mild and meaty, pork chops take on flavors exceptionally well. I love to marinate them (or cook them in the sous vide), because they can be rather dry, but oiled chops, as they are here, stay pretty moist, too. This recipe is one of the simplest, but it works because the combination of earthy sage and sharp black pepper just sings on the palate.

Sage & Pepper Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 6 pork chops
  • 3 tablespoons oil of choice (leftover bacon drippings are especially excellent)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 whole sage leaves

Instructions

  1. Rinse the chops; pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Coat both sides of the chops with oil. Salt and pepper both sides, then place them on a baking sheet. Top each chop with one or two sage leaves.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until chops are lightly browned and tender. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/sage-pepper-pork-chops/

 

 

Curried Oven-Fried Chicken

Curried Oven-Fried Chicken | Paleo + Life

When I was a kid, I loved having chicken for dinner, because the drumsticks were mine. There was something so perfect and satisfying about them. They were just the right serving size, and even had a convenient handle built in. Let other people have the thighs, wings or the often-dry and boring chicken breasts: I was all about the legs.

As an adult, I have reluctantly ceded the drumsticks to our children. I do find I appreciate the other parts more — a nicely roasted chicken thigh is a thing of culinary beauty, but sometimes, I find that I miss them. Fortunately, I can usually find packs of them on sale. When I do, I am happy to scoop them up.

This particular recipe is almost too simple (i.e., perfect for a weeknight). A hot oven and a dash of a few quick spices take hardly any time at all. Curries come in such variety that it’s impossible to say which is my favorite. This Madras-style spice blend is a good one that I’m enjoying of late. It is perfect with all kinds of meat, and if you are near a spice shop, it’s very easy to find a good one. (I like this one from  The cooking is pretty much hands off; the eating, happily, is the exact opposite.

Curried Oven-Fried Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds chicken (I used only drumsticks, but a cut-up chicken would also work)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon madras-style curry powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pour half of the olive oil onto a baking sheet, with a basting brush, coat the entire sheet.
  3. Wash and pat dry the chicken, placing it on the baking sheet. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and curry powder; drizzle the remaining olive oil over the meat.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, or until flesh is firm, skin is brown and the juices run clear. Remove from oven; serve promptly.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/curried-oven-fried-chicken/

Crustless Carrot Quiche

Crustless Carrot Quiche | Paleo + LifeThe other night, there were just three of us for dinner, which almost never happens. But most of the family were either out or asleep, so it was just one girl, the baby and me. With so much smaller a crowd, I fell back on one of my pre-paleo staples: crustless quiche.

Inspired by one I learned years ago when I worked for a major grocery store chain, crustless quiche has been a regular supper at our house. I have made this so many times, so many ways, I don’t even recall the ingredients in the original.  Aside from the first time, I’ve never made it exactly the same way twice. It’s a very kid-friendly recipe, too; ours love this more sophisticated take on breakfast for dinner.

This is a favorite supper for summertime with a big salad on the side, but at this time of year, I prefer more substantial meals, so I like it with a juicy piece of salmon or a hearty bowl of soup on the side.
If feeding more people, you can easily double the recipe — just make sure your oven-safe skillet can hold that quantity. Your cooking time will be a bit longer, but keep a close eye on it. The high temperature means it cooks pretty swiftly. This is also lovely as a last-minute appetizer; just slice thinner pieces.

Crustless Carrot Quiche | Paleo + Life

One ingredient of note is the cream cheese. While I tend to be more strictly paleo, as a family, we do have some Primal meals (basically, Primal = paleo plus dairy). If you want to stay more strictly paleo, I would substitute a good nut cheese like this one from Primal Kitchen. I have not yet used this genius cultured coconut cream cheese by Beth from Tasty Yummies, but I think it might work since eggs are the star ingredient here. A drizzle of hot sauce adds just the right finishing touch.

Quick Carrot Quiche

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (sub nut cheese for vegan)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine eggs and cream cheese; beat well. Stir in grated carrots, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Add olive oil to medium oven-safe pan, swirling to coat. Pour egg mixture into the pan of oil and place in oven. Bake for until top of quiche appears firm, approximately 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/crustless-carrot-quiche/

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad | Paleo + LifeToday’s post is a little different from the usual goings on here @ Paleo + Life. I’ve contributed a recipe as a guest post over at HauteMealz.com.

I ‘met’ Chef Perry, one of the clever folks behind HauteMealz, virtually when I was trying to decide whether or not to attend IFBC (the food bloggers’ conference).  My search for conference reviews led me to the hilarious video review of the 2013 conference that Perry and his co-chef Chris made. I knew I had to meet these guys, because the combination of sarcasm, humor and food obsession made it obvious that they were my kind of people. Because IFBC was such a packed weekend, I only got to meet Perry in person, and that briefly, but I immediately knew I was right. We clicked right away and have been virtual pen pals ever since.

On to the recipe: Since we are still without a stove, I whipped up one of my staple lunches: Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad. I tend to blog the recipes I think are more interesting, but most days I eat simple food like this.  This is such a favorite, I would eat it every day if I could.

I adore salmon in whatever form I can get it, and creamy, lush avocados make my world complete. Combining the two is a natural for me. Remember, if your canned salmon is water-packed, be sure to drain it well before mixing. Any good lemon garlic seasoning will do; I’m partial to one from my local spice shop. Finally, if you wanted to dress this up a bit, drizzle on a bit of your favorite oil and add a sprinkle of finishing salt.

 

Salt-Roasted Beets

Salt Roasted Beets | Paleo + LifeSalt. Roasted. Beets.

Now, I know there are those out there who hate beets. For years, I was one of them. One of my earliest memories, in fact, is eating beets at pre-school. In my opinion, the flavor was musty, nasty, and just slightly better than dirt — if pressed, I was far more likely to eat the dirt. There was no love for the beet in my heart.

(Hee. See what I did there? Ahem. Nevermind.)

But one year, I decided to grown golden beets in our garden. Why would a beet hater do such a thing? I wanted the greens, which are quite delicious. As for the actual beets, I figured I would just pawn them off on a neighbor.

However, my curiosity — and a beet-loving husband — got the better of me. I steamed a few of them, and it was a revelation. These beautiful golden orbs had a deep, earthy, lingering sweetness that was positively addictive. We ate them greedily, and mourned when we had no more.

Salt-Roasted Beets | Paleo + LifeA recent trip to the farmers’ market brought golden beets back into my thoughts, and then quickly into my kitchen. I knew I wanted to do something special with them, but could not think what. Then I fell down some rabbit hole of research — does that happen to other people? Surely I’m not the only one — and re-discovered salt roasting. Immediately, I thought this would be a perfect technique for beets.

This roasting method infuses the beets with salty flavor and tempers their sweetness. My oldest says (and I agree) the flavor resembles sweet corn — a welcome treat for anyone, especially paleo eaters, who can’t eat the real deal. If you like, add herbs like rosemary or thyme to the salt. I prefer to add ghee and herbs after roasting, but either way is delicious.

Salt-Roasted Beets

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pour a thin layer of salt into the bottom of a medium ovenproof skillet (approximately 1/4" deep). The bottom of the skillet should be completely covered.
  3. Nestle the beets into the salt, making sure they do not touch. Add enough salt to cover the tops of the beets.
  4. Roast for approximately 35 minutes, or until beets are soft and salt has become stiff and crusty. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. When cool enough to handle, scrape salt from beets. To serve, split the beets' skins, rub the flesh with ghee or coconut oil, and sprinkle with parsley.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/salt-roasted-beets/

Salsa Smothered Pork Loin

Salsa Smothered Pork | Paleo + LifeBecause the kiddos are getting ready to head back to school, I have easy meals on the brain. Trying to keep track of who needs to be where, what papers must be signed and returned, and which after school activity has to be attended is pretty much a full-time job. I sometimes joke with my beloved that we need a wife to run our lives, so that I can outsource the boring tasks and just do the fun stuff. Until I find this miracle worker, however, it’s my job to get those things done and feed our crew. When we are busy, simple recipes that only need a few minutes’ effort are sometimes all I can manage. Of course, I want it to be tasty as well.

For this dinner, I needed to make the pork loin extremely mild — my youngest girl hates even the idea of spice — so a simple coating of salt and pepper was all it needed. Keeping the seasoning simple also makes it a cinch to use the leftovers in other dishes.
However, I also wanted some big flavor to accompany this mild meat.

As I have mentioned, I grew up in Chicago, and growing up in Chicago means eating classic Chicago-style foods, like Italian beef sandwiches with giardiniera (a mix of pickled veggies like cauliflower, carrots, celery and hot peppers). It’s full of hearty, tangy flavor and is the only condiment I am not ashamed to eat straight out of the jar. However, I only had a spare 30 minutes, and not the weeks of aging real giardiniera requires. So I took a virtual detour from Little Italy to Pilsen and created a big-flavored salsa instead.

For the salsa, I threw in slices of carrot in a nod to my favorite condiment, along with the more usual peppers, tomatoes, and the like; they stay pleasantly crisp even after days in the fridge. I deliberately left garlic out of this salsa, but if you miss it, just add in a finely minced clove or two.
Coating the cooked meat in the salsa before serving means the outer pieces soak up the spicy flavor, the inner slices stay mild, and everyone is happy. If only it were so easy the rest of the time.

Salsa Smothered Pork Loin

Ingredients

    Pork Loin
  • 5 lbs. pork loin
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Salsa
  • 4 small carrots
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 hot peppers
  • 8 small scallions
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

    Pork Loin
  1. Remove pork from package; rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper all sides of the meat thoroughly. Place in a slow cooker; cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  2. Salsa
  3. With a food processor set with the slicing blade, slice the carrots. (If you do not have a food processor, a mandoline or sharp knife will work just as well). Place in a medium bowl.
  4. Dice the tomatoes; add to the bowl.
  5. Slice peppers into rounds, and add to the carrot-tomato mixture. Repeat with scallions.
  6. Finely mince the cilantro; you should have roughly 3-4 tablespoons. Add to the mixture and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. 20 minutes before serving, remove pork from crock pot and place on platter. Cover with salsa and let sit to meld flavors.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/salsa-smothered-pork-loin/

Spiced Summer Burgers

Spiced Summer Burgers | Paleo + LifeSuddenly, I realized that the last three recipes I’ve shared here involved carrots in some fashion. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — I adore carrots. I always buy the enormous 10 lb. bags at Costco when we do a shopping run and I am trying to grow a batch of these chubby little Parisian carrots* on my front porch right now. However, there is more to my cooking than root veggies. Like these zippy, paleo-friendly burgers, which I made to accompany the Kohlrabi Coleslaw I recently posted.

To my mind, the perfect burger has a lot of flavor — supplied here by cumin and coriander –and just a touch of heat. In most recipes, black pepper provides that spark, but for these burgers, I wanted a flavor that was a bit more complex. Grains of Paradise* are peppery, but hint at other flavors as well; Aleppo pepper* resembles cayenne, but less hot and more deeply flavored. The combination is subtle, but takes these burgers to a new level.

A couple more notes:
I sometimes enjoy grinding my spices by hand, but these days (i.e., four kids later), I have less time for that sort of thing. Instead, I keep a spare coffee grinder that is only used for milling up spices. This grinder* is the one I use; it has lasted for ages.

When we make these, we usually cook them on the grill, but they also work just fine in the oven or on an electric griddle like the George Foreman grill* (does anyone have one of those anymore? When I was a swinging single, I loved mine).

Spiced Summer Burgers

Spiced Summer Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grains of paradise
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the lamb and beef. Using your hands, mix them together thoroughly for at least five minutes. Set aside.
  2. Grind the spice mixture either by hand with a mortar and pestle, or in a dedicated coffee grinder.
  3. Sprinkle approximately half the spice mixture onto the meat; mix in by hand for about 1 minute.
  4. Fold the remaining spice mixture into the meat.
  5. Grill to desired doneness.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/spiced-summer-burgers/

* = Affiliate links.

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