Chicken Faux-tato Salad

Chicken Faux-tato Salad 2 2016

I can hardly call this a recipe. It’s really something that comes together with a few ingredients that I tend to have on hand, and then I’m quite flexible with the quantities. My chicken thighs were cooked on the bone and they were giant, so I only used two. But if you have frozen ones, they tend to be smaller so I’d add more. It can be different every time, too. Don’t be afraid to experiment – it’s very forgiving. If I have more celery or more pickles or fewer eggs or less chicken, it really doesn’t matter. And if I had some parsley or dill on hand, I’d have been tempted to add it. Capers could have gone in or shredded carrots – in fact all kinds of variations exist. But on this day, for this blog post, this was the combination that came together.

I have been mentoring an 11 year old girl for the past few weeks and I bring my lunch while she gets hers from the school. I noticed that she likes vegetables in general and that she’s been a little curious about what I bring. I asked if she’d like me to bring her some to try and she said yes the last time, so I brought this today. She doesn’t like cauliflower, but she loves pickles so she thought it was worth it. She skipped the cauliflower, but devoured the rest. I think the cauliflower is totally innocuous and almost like potatoes, but not everyone agrees. I think it tastes a lot like a traditional potato salad, only it’s not.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Because I use frozen cauliflower, it’s super easy to pull together. No mess, nothing to worry about, and the cauliflower is already blanched so it’s tender. I hope you like it!

Chicken Faux-tato Salad

2-3 cooked chicken thighs, chopped

12 oz. frozen cauliflower, thawed and roughly chopped

1-2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

5-6 small pickles, finely chopped

2 large celery stalks, finely chopped

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 tsp. mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Take all of your chopped ingredients and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the mustard and mayonnaise and mix well, ensuring everything is evenly coated.
  3. Taste and add salt and pepper. It needs salt, but the pickles are salty and so is the mustard, so be sure to taste first.
  4. Once it’s the way you like it, enjoy!

Serves about 2

Bacon-wrapped Chicken with Roasted Onion Gravy

Bacon-wrapped Chicken with Roasted Onion Gravy 2014Bacon happens. Sometimes I think people are interested in exploring Paleo simply because they know we eat bacon. Happily, regularly, and without fear. Notice I didn’t say with abandon. I like bacon and I definitely use it to flavor dishes, but I don’t use it as a protein source and it definitely isn’t a veggie, so that means that I use it more like a condiment. Something to make a dish a little more special or to add another layer of flavor. It’s not something we sit down to a plate of in my house, generally. It’s true my son has been known to eat an inordinate amount on occasion, but we’re working on moderation…

Here, bacon wraps around a lean chicken breast and as it cooks, the flavor melts into the sliced apples and onions. All of that gets blended together with a touch of horseradish and mustard to make an addictive, intensely flavored gravy that I show spooned onto the plate. What you don’t see is that we then slathered our chicken with it, covered our Brussels sprouts in it, and ate it directly from the spoon. Because it’s that good.

Bacon-wrapped Chicken with Roasted Onion Gravy

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 slices of thick-cut bacon

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt, divided

pepper to taste

1/2 large sweet onion, sliced

1 sweet apple, thinly sliced (I used an Ambrosia apple and left the peel on)

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. horseradish

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss onion and apple slices with olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper in a large glass baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring about half way through.

2) While the veggies are roasting, sprinkle chicken breasts with garlic powder, the other 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper, and wrap each one with a slice of bacon.

3) After the apple-onion mixture has roasted for 20 minutes, place bacon-wrapped chicken on top and put back in the oven for 25 minutes.

4) Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and cook for a final 10 minutes. When the chicken and bacon are done, remove them to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

5) Spoon everything from the bottom of the dish, including any juices, into a blender or food processor (I used a Magic Bullet). Add horseradish, mustard, and thyme and blend thoroughly but carefully, because it’s hot, until smooth. Taste and add any additional salt and pepper or horseradish for an extra kick. Plate the chicken on or under the sauce and devour.

Serves 3-4

*Adapted from 500 Paleo Recipes

Baked Chicken Thighs

Roast Chicken ThighsI think chicken thighs are delicious. The problem is that my husband is not a great fan of having bones get in the way of his eating enjoyment so, unfortunately, that means that I don’t bake chicken on the bone very often. This day, however, I wanted to make a recipe that used precooked chicken so I decided to bake up a batch. Wow! I had forgotten just how delicious simply baked chicken is! This is so good that it gave me serious pause as to whether I should still make what I had planned or if we should all just sit down to a plate of this chicken and call it good. I’m not sure which way we’re going tonight, but if you’re searching for something to make for your family, these just might be it.

I use a pretty heavy hand with the seasoning. It should create a crust when it bakes onto the skin. And while I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is done, you know it’s ready when you can see lots of caramel-colored bits in the bottom of the dish (as a child we called these “flavoreens”) and the skin is so bubbly and crispy that the only thing on your mind is when it will be cool enough to taste. Sometimes you might have to go in so quickly that you burn your fingers a little bit. That may or may not have happened with this batch…

Baked Chicken Thighs

4-5 lbs. of chicken thighs

1 Tbsp. salt

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

pepper

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken thighs skin-side down in a large glass baking dish.

2) In a small bowl, mix together all the spices except the pepper.

3) Liberally sprinkle the bottom of the thighs with the seasoning. Flip them all over and coat the skin-side heavily with the spice mixture. (I had about 4 1/4 lbs. of chicken thighs and I used all the spice.) Crack a good amount of fresh pepper over everything.

4) Place chicken in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. When the chicken smells intensely good, has crispy skin everywhere, and has created a lot of “flavoreens” in the bottom of the dish, remove it from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes, just so you don’t burn your fingers.

Recipe Review: Deep Dish Tamale (Hint Hint: It’s in the Chowstalker Community Cookbook)


You know how I’ve been telling you about this amazing bundle of Primal and Paleo cookbooks, success stories, research papers, how-tos, discounts and more? If you don’t know about this incredible sale, the details are here.

Well…one of the cookbooks in the Primal Life Kit is the Chowstalker Community Cookbook. You’ll find my recipe (!) for Spring Risotto with Ham and Asparagus, of course, as well as over 130 Paleo/Primal recipes by other bloggers. It’s pretty awesome and there are so many that I want to try! One in particular kept drawing me back. It was a recipe for a Deep Dish Tamale by Emily Coatney, at Coconut Contentment.

Coconut Contentment's Deep Dish Tamale Pie

I have actually been craving tamales lately. I grew up in California and live in Colorado so tamales are a part of my culture. But they’re time consuming to make and they’re made with corn so they’ve fallen to the side. Then I saw this open-faced tamale that you whip together and toss in the oven and suddenly I knew what I would be making and sharing with all of you.

The crust of this is nothing short of amazing. The combination of white sweet potato and coconut flour does an impressive job of standing in for masa. It’s tender and fluffy and slightly sweet and the chicken topping is nicely spiced. We ate it with guacamole and salsa and it was terrific! I have to admit, though, my mind starting going wild with all of the possible toppings for this crust. Just like a traditional tamale, you could do beef, pork, even a sweet variation. There’s a lot of fun to be had!

So go ahead and make this recipe and then go get your bundle while it’s still on sale. Who knows which recipes or articles or books will be the ones to change your life?

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Disclaimer: In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase the Primal Life Kit. It’s an incredible bundle from some spectacular people, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Deep Dish Tamale by Coconut Contentment

Filling

1 Tbsp. palm shortening (sub any healthy cooking fat)

2 c. shredded or chopped cooked chicken (about 3/4 lb., thighs are normally the most affordable and delicious)

2 1/2 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. chili powder

zest of one lime

juice of one lime

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 purple onion, chopped and sautéed

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

Tamale Dough

2 white sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed (sub any variety of sweet potato)

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. chicken broth (sub water but broth provides the most authentic flavor)

2 Tbsp. palm shortening (sub any healthy cooking fat)

1 tsp. vinegar (white or apple cider)

5 Tbsp. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Toppings

Guacamole

Salsa

Avocado Slices

Cilantro

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an 8-10 in. oven-safe skillet or pie dish, place the Tbsp. of palm shortening (or other chosen fat). Put in the oven to heat the skillet to temperature.

2) Combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium sized bowl – toss well to ensure even coverage.

3) Combine all of the dough ingredients together in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, Kitchen Aid mixer, or by rolling up your sleeves and giving it a good stir until well-combined.

4) Once your oven has preheated carefully remove your skillet or dish. Evenly distribute the melted cooking fat in the bottom of the pan. Pour your dough into the skillet, spread out evenly with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Layer your filling on top, lightly pressing it into your dough.

5) Carefully place in oven to cook for 35-40 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned and the chicken has begun to brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve alongside your favorite toppings.

Serves 4-6

Chicken Cutlets with Garlic-Lemon Sauce

Pan-fried ChickenThink foods like fried chicken or chicken scallopini are a thing of the past now that you’re following a Paleo lifestyle? Think again! You just need to reimagine the dish with ingredients that don’t wreak havoc on your insides or cause inflammation throughout your body. It’s totally doable. And with this recipe you get to pound your chicken with a mallet, so that’s good, right? If you have kids, they usually think that part is pretty cool.

This recipe makes cooking the chicken fast because it’s pounded thin first. It’s crispy on the outside – breading, not a dipped batter – and so tender there’s no need for a knife. It’s finished with a lemon-garlic pan sauce just to give it a bit of brightness, but you can easily skip that part. It’s really good just the way it is. It feels like comfort food to me and I like to make it when I’m needing an extra hug. I generally pair it with one or more vegetables, like asparagus or Brussels sprouts and carrots or a big salad, rather than a carby side like sweet potatoes. If you want to skip making the sauce, you could pair it with this cauliflower recipe and the flavors would come together beautifully!

Chicken Cutlets with Garlic-Lemon Sauce

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 tsp. salt

pepper

1/3 c. arrowroot powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

2 eggs

1/3 c. coconut flour

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. salt

2-3 Tbsp. ghee

Sauce

1/4 c. broth or stock

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 garlic cloves, minced

parsley to garnish

Directions

1) Pound the chicken breasts to about 1/4-1/2 in. thick using a meat mallet, frying pan, or rolling pin. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and fresh cracked pepper. Set aside.

2) Get out 3 shallow bowls and line them up next to the stove. In the one furthest from the stove, mix the arrowroot powder with the garlic and onion powder. In the middle bowl, lightly whisk the eggs together. In the bowl closest to the stove, mix the coconut flower with the paprika, thyme, and salt.

3) In a bowl or measuring cup, mix the broth with the lemon juice and garlic cloves. Set aside until the chicken is cooked.

4) Melt 2 Tbsp. ghee over medium-high heat in a large pan, preferably cast iron. Lightly dredge the chicken in the arrowroot mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip it in the egg, then dredge it in the coconut flour mixture, again shaking off any excess, and lay it carefully in the hot pan. Do the same with the other chicken pieces.

5) Cook chicken for about 5 minutes each side until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through. If the pan is dry when you flip the chicken, add the additional ghee. Once cooked, remove to a plate.

6) Quickly add the sauce ingredients to the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom. When the sauce has reduced a little, this takes about 30 seconds, pour it over the chicken, sprinkle on the parsley, and serve.

Serves 3

Cajun Chicken

Cajun ChickenWhen it’s cold outside and you’re dreaming of traveling to warmer places, one of the easiest ways to take a mental vacation is to cook something up that reminds you of that place. Spices transform foods like ordinary chicken breasts into warm and exciting dishes like Cajun Chicken and I love scouring the Internet for different spice combinations or dishes that will transport me to cultures that I’ve never visited before.

Like Louisiana. I haven’t had the chance to go there yet, but Cajun flavors definitely appeal to me. Peppers, tomatoes, onions, celery – all good stuff! And since I’m always looking for something to top a pile of zucchini noodles, simmered meat and veg with just about any flavor profile will usually do the trick! Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. Most of them are straight from the spice cupboardThis was even better the next day so be sure to make enough for leftovers.

Cajun Chicken

Bacon

1 1/2 oz. bacon, chopped

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. lard or F.O.C. (fat of choice)

Chicken

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into strips

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

F.O.C., as necessary

Veggies

1/2 tsp. F.O.C.

1/2 an onion, chopped about 1/2 c.

1/2 bell pepper, chopped about 1/2 c.

4 stalks of celery, about 1 c. chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. salt

1 can diced tomatoes

1 c. vegetable or chicken broth

parsley

Directions

1) Melt 1/4 tsp. lard in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chopped bacon with 1/8 tsp. garlic powder and cook until crisp. Set aside on paper towels.

2) While bacon is cooking, season chicken strips with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, and 1/8 tsp. garlic powder. Brown chicken on all sides over medium-high heat, about 5-6 minutes, adding additional fat if the pan is dry. You may need to do this in batches so the chicken browns instead of steams. Set aside on a plate to catch any juices.

3) Add 1/2 tsp. fat and all the chopped veggies including the garlic to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until translucent and slightly soft. Sprinkle oregano, thyme, paprika, and salt over the vegetables and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return chicken to the pan, add tomatoes and broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to medium or medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.

4) Simmer everything for about 35 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are tender. Return bacon to the pan, add parsley, and serve as is or over a bed of zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice.

Serves 4

Turkey and Celery Salad with Cinnamon-Citrus Dressing

Turkey salad with celery and clementines

What do you do when you have a bunch of leftover turkey and a boatload of clementines? Make salad, of course! This beautiful salad uses an exotic spice blend to completely transform holiday leftovers into something quite exceptional. It’s creamy and crunchy and satisfying with sweet little bursts of clementine that bring the sunshine back to any winter-weather day. If you don’t have any turkey left, just use any leftover poultry. You might even want to quickly poach or grill some just so you can try this recipe!

I used a mandoline to slice my celery really thin, very quickly. I love having a mandoline, but then again, I love all of my kitchen gadgets. If you don’t have one, you can easily slice the celery with a knife.

Turkey and Celery Salad with Cinnamon-Citrus Dressing

Dressing

2 T. paleo mayonnaise

Juice from 1/2 a lemon, about 2 Tbsp.

1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

3/4 tsp. salt

3-4 grinds of pepper

Salad

6 clementines

6-8 oz. of cooked turkey or chicken breast, chopped

5-6 celery stalks, thinly sliced, about 2 cups

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. toasted walnuts, chopped

A few toasted coconut flakes to garnish, optional

Directions

1) In a large salad bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, olive oil, spices, salt and pepper.

2) Peel the clementines, cut them through the middle at the “equator”, and then break off each little half-section. Place in the bowl with the dressing.

3) Add the chopped turkey, sliced celery, scallions, and walnuts to the clementine pieces in the bowl.

4) Toss everything together very well to combine. Top with coconut flakes if you like and any additional salt and pepper.

Serves 2