Monday, November 29, 2010

5 Favorite Paleo Recipes So Far, Part 5: Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups

I'm not sure if you hard core Paleo Cross Fitters out there ever feel this way, but occasionally I really miss certain foods. Now of course, I can blame it on cravings ;) . Either way, it's nice to eat new foods, and it's also nice to enjoy old favorites.

One of those indulgences from my non-Paleo days (as in, 2 months ago!) was Buffalo Chicken Anything. Sandwich, Pizza, Boneless "Wings," Yum times 3. My first attempt at Paleo Buffalo Chicken was soup. Sounded good. But without roux or relying too heavily on dairy, it was just a little weird. Then, I had some leftover chicken from making Enchiladas, and came up with a version of Buffalo Chicken so delicious that I can hardly justify missing it anymore. It might be stretching it to call it a recipe; perhaps it's more of an idea, but it's a yummy one.

Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups
1 serving

4 slices Deli Chicken (I'm still using Hormel Natural Choice...any other suggestions?)
1 slice Provolone
2 t Crumbled Blue Cheese
Texas Pete or Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste

Anybody else out there in love with their George Foreman? I'd nearly forgot I owned one before starting Paleo, but wow, what an option-giver. This recipe capitalizes on the nice double sided heat of the George, but a skillet would work fine. All I do is take two slices of deli-chicken and fill it with half a slice of provolone, 1 teaspoon blue cheese, and several good shakes of salsa. Repeat, then throw your Roll-Ups on the grill until heated. Yes, it oozes. No, it doesn't bother me. I just use a silicone spatula and scrape the yum on top. Alternately (and perhaps more neatly), just heat the roll-ups in a pan turning once. These are nice with celery, of course. ;)

Did Paleo Help Me Get Pregnant?

I guess you might say my husband and I are dinosaurs of a sort: we love big families. We love calling kids a blessing (it's a mindset!), love raising future adults who will contribute to their communities (yes, in spite of their "carbon footprint"), and, well, love babies. After years of struggling with miscarriage and "secondary infertility," we were thrilled to find out a few days ago that we are expecting Baby G.4.0!

Upon receiving the news, one of the first things I did was google "Pregnancy AND Paleo." What I was really looking for was information on how this way of eating might affect my pregnancy and if I needed to make any changes. What I found was a very interesting article pointing to the fact that Paleo might have actually helped me get pregnant. How exciting. One more evidence that Paleo is healing my body.

I plan on continuing Paleo throughout the pregnancy, and I'd love to hear other's experiences about how it worked for them. Did you make any adjustments to your eating? Did you supplement with prenatals or folic acid or calcium? For those who've had a Paleo and a non-Paleo pregnancy, how can you compare weight gain/post-delivery weight loss between pregnancies? I'm still about 15 pounds from goal weight, so I'm wondering if Paleo might give me that awesome basketball tummy instead of feeling whale-like putting on a full 30 pounds, distributed everywhere! I feel a bit overwhelmed being a newbie Paleo non cavegirl and embarking on a stage in life where diet is of utmost importance. I'd love any help I can get!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

5 Favorite Paleo Recipes So Far, Part 4: Daddy's TexMex Enchiladas

I live in the South. Mexican food is weird here. I'm from Texas. We know Mexican Food. And Tex-Mex, which is it's own delicious genre! My dad was a Fire Captain...which means when he wasn't busy saving lives, he was cooking for a crew of hungry men. Thankfully, that trickled over to the home front and he kept us well-fed!

These are my daddy's enchiladas...Paleo Style. I do dairy, but these are grain and legume free. I'm just going to give the basic recipe, but of course, use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on. Our bodies and taste buds thank us!

Captain Jack's TexMex Enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce

3-4 Dried Ancho Chiles (pictured above), stems removed (you'll find these in the Hispanic foods section of the grocery)
About 1 cup Tomato Sauce (If you're not going to use organic or homemade, try Del Fuerte which is BPA free. It's in a little TetraPak in the same section with the chiles)
2 cups Water
1/3 - 1/2 Yellow Onion chopped
1 T Minced Garlic
Salt to taste (about 1/2 t)

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly and puree and strain, or VitaMix the sauce when done cooking and skip the straining.

2 cups Chili Without Beans (Check the label if you're tempted to use canned, lots of it has grain and soy)
1 pound Ground Beef or Venison, cooked and seasoned to taste
2 -3 cups Finely Grated Cheese (Colby, Cheddar or "Mexican Blend")
Finely chopped onion

Here's the trick: Deli-Sliced chicken breast.
I've seen some Paleo-tortilla recipes online, but none looked like they could stand up to the filling and the baking, so here's my Paleo-friendly substitute. It may take some time to find a grain free version. Hormel Natural Choice Chicken Breast is nitrite, preservative, MSG and gluten free. The label says 0 carbs, but the ingredients list rice starch. Since I'm still eating (and blogging!) Paleo For the Rest of Us, that's gonna do today. I'm curious to see if I can find an even better version at Earthfare. The chicken has a mild flavor, but is sturdy enough to stand up to the enchilada goodness filling the inside.

Assembly and Cooking
Use 2-3 slices of chicken overlapped as your "tortilla." Spread 1 T of Enchilada Sauce and then 1 tablespoon chili on the sliced chicken. Sprinkle equal parts cooked ground beef/venison, and shredded cheese, about 1 tablespoon each. You can add the onions now, or sprinkle them on top at the end. Roll up in "enchilada fashion" and place seam down in a glass baking dish. I actually assemble mine in the baking dish, even though it gets crowded at the end. When your dish is full, mix the rest of the chili and enchilada sauce together and pour over the enchiladas, adding a little water if needed. Add remaining cheese, sprinkled on top. This makes 12-14 enchiladas, depending on how thick you make them. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (if you started with warm ingredients) until bubbly. These can be pre-assembled and refrigerated or frozen. No soggy tortillas! Don't you just love Paleo?

But what about the rice and beans? Well, what about them, right? Serve these with guacamole, sour cream and shredded lettuce tossed with lemon juice. That is a good meal. ¡Buen Provecho!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

5 Favorite Paleo Recipes So Far, Part Three: Stewed Apples with Greek Yogurt

Here again, living up to my blog title. As hoped, I have found a nice alternative to eggs for breakfast. With the weather turning cooler (well, sort of), I have been missing a nice bowl of oatmeal, so I came up with an alternative that's not so low carb, but has a decent protein profile. And, well, it's yummy.

Stewed Apples with Greek Yogurt

2 small apples, large dice (Gala, Pink Lady, Honey Crisp, and Fuji are all nice)
2 t butter or coconut oil
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1-2 t sweetener of your choice (Hate to say it, but brown sugar is my favorite. Stevia in the Raw, Maple syrup, or honey work too)
1/2 c Greek Yogurt (Oikos is my favorite)

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and add apples directly to pan as you wait for butter to melt. Turn down heat to medium low/low depending on your range. Add vanilla and spices and cover. You don't want to pan fry these babies. What you're looking for is a slow stewing so that the apples release their juice and caramelize. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I serve the apples over the yogurt in a teacup and enjoy these with coffee once a week or so.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Weight Loss and Paleo, Revisited

I fell off the Paleo Wagon for a few days. But, I enjoyed it. Better, I figure, than doing so mindlessly and not enjoying it. Even so, for most meals, I still ate Paleo because I really wanted to. That huge white flour bun with the hamburger was not the least bit tempting. But the Chimichanga with cheese sauce? Now that's another story.

Interestingly enough, I definitely had what Dr. Sears calls "Yuck Tummy" after every foray into my former grain-based diet. In reality, I didn't even eat that much grain, but given the way I felt afterwards, it will probably be a while before I "cheat" again.

In other news, despite my venturing off path for a few days, my weight loss is steady. In about a month, I'm down at least 10 pounds. My jeans are beginning to be uncomfortable because THEY'RE TOO LOOSE. Oh, yeah, baby. My kind of discomfort. I'm not saying I'm busting out the "Skinny Clothes" box that's packed in the closet, maybe not even my "Medium Skinny Clothes" box, but I'm well on my way and enjoying nearly every moment of it.

I am tired of eggs in the morning. And find it impossible to eat salad greens with breakfast, though that was so intriguing my first couple weeks. It's not that I want bread (though oatmeal does sound nice); I just don't want eggs. Need to browse a bit and be creative. Here's to hoping "Part 3" of my Favorite Paleo Recipes will be breakfast related.

5 Favorite Paleo Recipes So far, Part Two: Ratatouille Inspired Chicken Soup

Today it's finally cold. Finally. The South's not been good to me this year. But I digress. We celebrated with a pot of soup. Very Paleo-Friendly. And very yum. Enjoy. As with all things Paleo, use the best quality ingredients possible. Organic, cage-free, local, in-season, all-of-the above, whenever possible. For us today, it was none-of-the-above, but it was good, and we were thankful, nonetheless.

Ratatouille Inspired Chicken Soup

3 chicken breasts
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 zuchinni, sliced into 1/4 in. rounds
1/2 onion, very roughly chopped
3/4 cup whole baby carrots
1 T minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional ratatouille-like ingredients I didn't happen to have on hand: roughly chopped bell pepper and cubed eggplant

Add all ingredients to pot, cover with water (or part brewed black tea for a richer broth), and boil until the chicken is tender and able to be cut with a fork. That simple. If the chicken breasts are frozen to start with, bring them to a boil with the water on their own for at least 30 min.

We garnished with lemon juice, crushed red pepper and Provencal (or Italian seasoning), because we're Mexican and that's the way we eat soup. I also strained the broth and added the chicken back in for The Littles. They love their veggies. RAW. Thank you very much. But at least they got some of the nutrients, and a lot of the delicious flavor. It was delightful and we ate with the doors open just to feel the fall breeze. Very nice. Enjoy.