Category Archives: Recipe

{Recipe} Veggie Sausage Skillet

I discovered this “recipe” (method, really) last summer when I was trying to come up with creative ways to use up all the veggies in my weekly CSA box, before the next box arrived. Since then, I have consistently made it at least twice a month. In the last ten days I’ve made it three times :). It’s my go-to “what do I make for dinner???” meal, because it is quick, full of veggies and protein, and very flexible with the ingredients. Not to mention my husband and kids eat it up and ask for more.

The main idea = brown some pork sausage in a skillet, then remove it and saute the veggies. Add the sausage back on top when the veggies are cooked through. Done. But there are also ways to mix it up or fancy it up a bit. I think the reason it’s so tasty is because pork sausage has so much flavor, and pairs so well with a variety of veggies. Love the combo!

Veggie Sausage Skillet

1.5 pounds of organic, pasture raised, pork sausage (I’ve also used sliced chicken sausage links)
2-3 potatoes (I’ve done white potatoes, sweet potatoes, or a combo of both. Obviously using only sweet potatoes will make it Whole30 compliant!)
1/2 an onion (I’ve done yellow, red….whatever you have on hand will work)

Any combo of the following veggies:
(Seriously, you can’t mess this up! Just pick what you like or have)

zucchini
peppers
mushrooms
broccoli
cauliflower
green beans
asparagus
peas (fresh or frozen)
carrots
chard or kale
beets
parsnips

optional:
heavy cream
raw cheddar cheese

If you will be including the cheese and cream, go ahead and preheat your oven to 400.

Brown your sausage in a skillet. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet – 1) because they’re awesome. 2) because if you follow the *fancy* option at the end, your cast iron skillet can go straight into the oven. (Of course, this particular time, as you can see in the photo, I didn’t use my cast iron. It was in our trailer and I hadn’t unloaded it yet from camping).

Remove the sausage from the skillet, and begin sautéing up your veggies in the wonderful grease that was left behind. Add more ghee or butter or fat of choice if needed. I start with the hardier veggies first: potatoes and onions and carrots. I like to give them a head start since they take a bit longer to cook. I keep the burner on medium+ heat, and just give them a stir every few minutes. I don’t stir constantly for two reasons: 1) I like them to get a bit brown and crispy, 2) Don’t have time! This way you can wash dishes and clean up in between stirs.

After about 10 minutes I add in the next most hardy veggies: broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, etc. I save the greens and other delicate veggies for last. The point is that you’re trying to add veggies in order of which ones need the most/least cook time, so that hopefully at the end they are all equally done! No soggy ones.

Dairy Free Option:
If you are skipping the dairy, then simply add the sausage back to the skillet, give everything a stir, and you’re done! Spoon onto your plates and enjoy. The kiddos like to have a little ketchup for dipping.

Delicious Dairy option:
This is my preferred way to make the dish, but now that my husband has discovered he is lactose-intolerant, we don’t make it this way any more. *tear*. BUT, it like I said before, it’s still great without the cheese! (just a little richer with it 🙂

Once your sausage and veggies are cooked through, you are going to simply drizzle some heavy cream over the skillet, maybe a few tablespoons, or up to 1/4 cup. And then top it with some shredded cheese. Stick the skillet in your 400 degree oven for 10-15 min. You are just giving it time for the cheese to melt and the juices to bubble. I don’t know what it is, something about the starches from the potatoes, and the other juices within the skillet….but they combine with that little bit of cream and it all turns into a thicker “sauce” that bubbles up and creates some major deliciousness.

*Also to note: if you are doing the dairy option, you will want to leave your veggies slightly under cooked during the sauté stage…since they will be going into a 400 degree oven for 10+ min, they will continue to cook and soften there.

In this (terrible) iPhone photo, I just piled the sausage on one side so that you could see all the veggies underneath. Quick, cheap, easy, delicious, and in this case, Whole 30 approved!
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{Whole30} Day 29

{Recipe} Baked Chicken Thighs in Marinara with Cabbage Noodles
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I’m just going to talk about my dinner today, because I am pretty darn excited about it. It was one of those, “crap! what do i make for dinner?!” meals, and I threw it all together without much thought. And it actually turned out! It was so simple and tasty, that I thought it was worth sharing. I even took a few (iPhone) pics along the way; I guess I just had a *feeling* that it might turn out!

I threw some boneless skinless chicken thighs in an 8×8 dish (use whatever size dish you need to have it be “full” of chicken. Or use as much chicken as you need to fill your dish?!?)

Moving on!

I had a few fresh herbs, and decided to go with thyme….so I threw a few sprigs of thyme on top, and then some crushed garlic cloves. (I prefer to keep the sprigs whole, rather than taking the “thyme” (!) to pull of each little leaf and chop it up. This way, you still get the flavor imparted into the dish, and just pull the sprigs out when it’s done cooking!)
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Next, I very carefully opened a jar of organic, (no sugar) marinara sauce. And poured it on top. It was hard work, but someone had to do it.
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Then I covered the dish with foil, and baked at 375 while I took a walk with the kids to get eggs from the neighbor’s house….in other words, 30 minutes or so. When I got home I checked it and decided it could go a bit longer. Plus, I wanted to roast some green beans at a high temp in the over (425), so I just went ahead and cranked it up so that I could cook the green beans in there at the same time. I also noticed that it was way more liquid-y than I was expecting, so at this point I removed the foil covering from the dish.

I only had frozen green beans to use as my veggie side, which I think worked well for the way I prepared them. I opened the plastic bag, and filled it with warm water to defrost the green beans. Drain, and repeat once. Now they’re defrosted! I patted away the moisture with some paper towels, since things tend to roast best when they aren’t sopping wet.

Next, throw your green beans on a pan, drizzle with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and salt. Then place in the oven so they can roast at 425 for around 20 minutes. (Meanwhile, your chicken is still baking away). If you have the chance, pull them out once to flip them around with a spatula.

I also had some cabbage wedges roasting away in my toaster over. Drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, cooked at 425 for 20 min. Hey, I never said this was a one pot meal!

The chicken turned out nice and saucy and tender.
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And the green beans were roasted just the way I like em.
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To plate it up, I had my wedge of cabbage, with chicken on top, and sauce over it all. And then the green beans on the side.
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After I took this photo and started eating, I did end up adding much more sauce to my plate.

This is what I love about Whole30! I never would have came up with this meal without it. I maybe would have thought of the chicken idea. But I would have served it with rice or potatoes or something. Instead, after I thought of the chicken idea, I was thinking to myself…what would be good underneath saucy chicken to soak it up? Noodles? Then I remembered seeing something weird on instagram under the #whole30 hashtag. Someone was talking about boiling a whole cabbage, and as it cooks, the leaves come off. You pull the leaves out as they start floating to the top, and then shred up all the cooked cabbage leaves. She was saying she then just keeps it in the fridge and uses them as “noodles”, and that they’re really versatile. So, that’s kind of what I was trying to replicate with the roasted wedges of cabbage (I didn’t want to take the time or mess with boiling a whole cabbage). And it worked! The outer edges were crispy, but the inner parts were soft and the perfect texture to eat with saucy chicken.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think!

{Whole30} Day 23

Only seven days to go! In some ways I am so ready for it to be over. In other ways I don’t really mind and it’s easier than I expected it to be. There is so much to process through in what I’ve learned and what I’ll take away from this. I will for sure be keeping up a lot of these new habits. I love being so intentional about incorporating tons of veggies into each meal. I love being mindful of getting plenty of protein and fat in each meal. I’d say lunches and dinners haven’t been hard to make the switch, and I see many paleo style meals in our future, post-Whole30. I really love the practice of replacing the starch in your meal with more veggies.

Breakfast is the one meal that I sometimes crave something different. A BUTTER, a piece of toast, soaked oatmeal once in awhile, the occasional paleo pancake WITH some real maple syrup, BUTTER…those are things that might sneak their way back in once in awhile :). I also miss my sweeteners. I’ve said before, I don’t use refined sugar, ever. But I do enjoy some healthified paleo-style treats now and again. And coconut sugar in my coffee. And honey in my tea. Ahhhh, yes, I have learned new and important habits. But I also am not afraid of some of the ones I had pre-Whole30. I will strive for a healthy balance going forward!

Breakfast:
I’ve had this two days in a row: an egg scramble with chicken sausage, zucchini, and mushrooms, and those mini sweet peppers (my new obsession!). And then I decided to give this Sweet Beet Smoothie a try. Sounds gross, I know. It’s actually quite delicious! And the kids chugged it down. I was inspired to make it because I had a container of steamed beets in the fridge that needed using up. Then when I came across this recipe for the smoothie, I noticed that it called for cooked beets. Now, I can’t say that I would ever go through the trouble of cooking beets just for this smoothie (they’re really a bit troublesome to cook, what with the peeling and inevitable pink-stained hands). But because I already some cooked and in the fridge, I decided to give it a go. And it was so good yesterday (and I had enough beets left over) that I made it again today! Also, it should be noted that I’m not really a huge smoothie fan. I like the idea of them. But then when it comes time to drink it I usually get about half way through and lose interest. Something about the texture? But this one I had no trouble at all getting down.
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*recipe notes: I omitted the protein powder and the honey. I added about 5 ice cubes just because I like my smoothies really cold and somewhat slushie. And I added a handful of frozen kale just to see if I could get away with it – didn’t taste it at all!

Lunch:
My sweet mother in law took me and the kids out for a day downtown. We tried the Nordstrom Cafe for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to immediately find something on the menu that needed very few changes to make it Whole30 compliant! I went with the Salad Nicoise with Herb and Garlic Salmon. It was so good! In case you’re not familiar (and since I forgot to take a photo), Salad Nicoise is a traditional French salad with hard boiled egg, green beans, capers, tomatoes, red onion, and potatoes. I believe it is traditionally topped with tuna, but I was happy to have mine with salmon. I of course omitted the potatoes, and used oil and vinegar for my dressing. Very very good and I’m excited to recreate it at home sometime.

Dinner:
This dinner was a total Hail Mary that turned out as a win. We were getting ready to leave the house this morning when I decided at the last minute that I really wanted to try and come up with something to slow cook while we were gone, since I knew we would have a late afternoon and I would be crunched for time to make dinner. I literally ran out to the freezer in the garage and scanned the shelves. I found a hunk of round steak, ran it inside, cut the plastic off, and plopped it in my dutch oven. Then I poured a jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Tomatillo Salsa on top and added a little water. I put the lid on and threw it in the oven (250) and said a little prayer. When we got home five hours later, the house smelled heavenly. I pulled it out and things were looking hopeful! I cut up the meat into smaller chunks so that they could all nestle into the sauce a bit more. I had a head of cauliflower that I really needed to use up, so I decided to try making some “rice”, which I thought could be a good accompaniment for some saucy chunky meat (just take your food processor to your cauliflower until it’s in tiny pieces, and then boil those for 5-10 min and strain. Rice!). Sauteed a sliced zucchini, and we were good to go! At the last minute I decided to throw some diced avocado on top of the meat+rice. Heaven. Seriously, it was so good. Full disclaimer, though: Bret wasn’t really a fan. He wasn’t a hater, but he wasn’t excited about it. So, I’m not sure if I’m the weirdo or if he’s the weirdo. Try it at your own risk!
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{Recipe} Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs

Ok, are you ready to make the easiest & tastiest thing you’ve had in ages? Here ya go.

I started out planning to just make a quick chicken & veggie sautee (which really, is what this is). But once I had my veggies assembled, I realized they were the kind I like to use on kabobs (those little peppers came in a plastic package and are called “sweet peppers” and I’m loving them!).
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I started chopping and then remembered I had some sliced pineapple in the fridge, and that’s when I realized it was the perfect addition, because I REALLY like pineapple on kabobs. Then it all came together. Chicken + veggies + pineapple [sauteed] = way quicker and easier than skewering, marinating, and grilling kabobs = brilliant (did you follow that equation?).

Deconstructed Chicken Kabobs
Assemble your veggies and pineapple, slice/chop into bite sized pieces (tons of veggies per person)
Slice your chicken breasts into thin slices (1/4″ or so) (one chicken breast per person)
Saute the chicken slices in your fat of choice (I went with a combo of ghee and olive oil)
As the chicken starts to brown, throw in the veggies
Season everything with some salt and garlic powder
Add the chopped pineapple and let it heat through (give it a minute or two)
Once they are all cooked through, throw in a tablespoon or so of coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and let it sizzle and cook down a bit and coat everything.

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Enjoy your tasty, delicious, and Whole30 compliant meal that only took you 15 minutes from start to finish.

Please let me know if you try this, and what you think! I’d love to hear any feedback! Also, does this “recipe” even make sense? I’ve never actually written a recipe down before, so I’m not sure if what’s in my head is even translating into something that makes sense. Ha! Let me know 🙂

This post is part of Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid, and The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter