Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms cropped 2016-001

It’s almost New Year’s Eve when it can be super fun to have a bunch of different nibblies to enjoy throughout the evening. So how about some stuffed mushrooms! I’ve loved stuffed mushrooms my whole life, but in the past they’ve been filled with cheese and bread crumbs and all sorts of other things which made them less than a healthy choice. Delicious, sure, but not exactly in line with my Paleo lifestyle goals. That being said, they were never the worst thing either. Still a vegetable, right?

The other day, I got to thinking how easily they could be made Paleo and how they would still be really delicious. I haven’t finished with the variations either because I think these might be one of those things that are perfect to make during a weekly cook up so that they can be lunch or snacks throughout the week. Pair a couple of them with a big handful of veggies, some carrots and bell peppers, for example, and they’re special and simple all rolled into one.

I dolloped a mixture of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard on these which added a really nice creamy kick. I would have taken a picture of it like that except the battery in my camera died after one shot – this one shot – and then I was done. I suppose we could have waited to eat them, but that just didn’t seem right.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb. whole mushrooms with stems

1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp. ghee

1/2 onion

3 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp. pepper flakes

1 lb. uncooked Italian sausage meat

Salt & black pepper

Optional sauce: Equal parts mayonnaise and mustard

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Rinse or brush off any dirt from mushrooms. Pop stems out, finely mince, and place in a large bowl.
  3. Place mushroom caps on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  4. Finely chop or mince the onion and add to the minced mushroom stems.
  5. Melt ghee in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and mushroom mixture, along with garlic, pepper flakes, a large pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until veggies are soft and mushroom stems have released any liquid.
  6. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or pepper flakes if needed and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Return veggie mixture to the large bowl, add the sausage and mix together well using your hands. Ensure everything is evenly distributed.
  8. Take large pinches of the mushroom mixture and stuff into the mushroom caps. You can have a full, meatball-sized amount sitting on top.
  9. Make extra meatballs out of any extra mixture and place on the baking sheet as well.
  10. Cook for 20 minutes until slightly browned on top.
  11. Add a little sauce and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

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Spicy Slow Cooker Pork

Pork with green chiles 2014I have had some busy mornings with busy afternoons lately and that can make it difficult to eat right in the evenings. Unless I pull out my slow cooker, of course. You probably know the rules already – for me, it has to come together quickly and I don’t want to do any extra browning of this or that. I just want to throw it all in the pot and come home later to something tasty. This does not disappoint!

I didn’t even thaw the meat. My pork was already cut into one inch pieces so I put the whole block in the crock pot, added the other ingredients, stirred it after a few hours, and a couple more hours later, it was done. If your pork isn’t frozen, that’s no problem – it just won’t take as long. The chiles I used were quite spicy so if you like it milder, go ahead and use mild green chiles. And you can serve this a lot of different ways. I went with a pile of spaghetti squash, but there’s no reason you can’t wrap it in a Paleo tortilla or top a baked sweet potato with it. Or even just eat it on it’s own. I’m already looking forward to leftovers!

Spicy Pork Slow Cooker Stew

2 lbs. pork, cut into 1″ pieces, frozen

1/2 onion, chopped

7 oz. diced green chile peppers, canned, hot or mild

1 c. full-fat coconut milk

4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. dried oregano, rubbed to release flavors

1 1/2 tsp. salt

cilantro, optional

Directions

1) Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Stir, breaking up the chunks of pork and combining everything well. Cover.

2) Cook for about 2 more hours until pork is tender.

3) Plate, top with fresh chopped cilantro, and serve.

Serves 6

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Sage

Crockpot Pork ShoulderWake up. Throw this together in 10 minutes. Come home later to an amazing dinner. If you don’t have a slow cooker, I highly recommend getting one. There is something magical about putting a bunch of ingredients into a pot in the morning and then coming home later that day to a marriage of rich flavors and crazy-tender meat. Pork shoulder is ideal for this kind of low, moist heat – it gets truly transformed.

Once you have a pot of shredded pork, there are all kinds of things you can do with it. In my house, it’s hard to even get it to the dinner table because everyone walks by and has to steal a bite. We liked this version just piled on our plate with the juices over the top, but you can wrap it up in a lettuce leaf or add it to your eggs in the morning. Whatever you want to do, pork probably makes it better.

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Sage

about 2 lbs. of pork shoulder, trimmed of most of the visible fat

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 a large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 large stalk of fresh sage, about 8-10 leaves

1/2 c. coconut milk

Directions

1) In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Rub this mix all over the pork shoulder, getting into the nooks and crannies, and set aside.

2) Put the chopped onion in the bottom of the cooker. Pour in the coconut milk, add the whole garlic cloves and fresh sage. Place the pork on top of the mixture and put the lid on. Cook on low heat for about 8 hours, until the meat is fall apart tender.

3) Remove the meat to a bowl and remove any excess fat from the meat that you don’t want. Strain the liquid at the bottom of the cooker into a fat separator or any container to put in the fridge. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or more and then remove the layer of fat that solidifies at the top.

4) When you are ready to eat, reheat the meat and juices together and pile on your plate.

Serves 6

Puerto Rican Pork and Potato Stew

Puerto Rican Pork and Potato StewThis stew is delicious. I’m serious. Salty, briny, meaty, filling…everything you want on a cold, winter night. I say that, but I think it would be delicious on a hot summer day too. Once you get the meat browned, the rest comes together quickly and then it just simmers on the stove making you hungry. My husband loved it to and my son ate the pork like crazy and left the rest. He doesn’t like olives, though, so I guess we’ll let that be his excuse.

I’m not Puerto Rican but this dish brings together many typical ingredients in Puerto Rican cuisine, like olives, capers, and oregano. I used pork here because I had some stew meat all cut up and ready to go, but it would also be great with chicken if that’s what you have on hand. The white sweet potato worked perfectly – not too sweet but just providing a soft, starchy contrast and something to absorb the saltiness of the olives and capers. Either way, it’s a wonderful dish that keeps well and makes you really look forward to leftovers.

Puerto Rican Pork and Potato Stew

2 lbs. pork stew meat, 1 1/2 – 2 in. cubes

1 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbsp. + 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil (or F.O.C.)

1/2 large onion, chopped about 1 c.

1 bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 jalapenos, sliced, seeds removed

1/2 c. green olives with pimentos, rinsed and sliced

1/4 c. capers, rinsed and roughly chopped

14 oz. can diced tomatoes

4 c. broth

1/2 lb. white sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1 in. cubes

1 c. water

1/2 c. cilantro, chopped about 1/4 c.

pepper

Directions

1) Massage pork with 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. oregano and set aside for about 30 minutes. Melt 1 Tbsp. coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large (preferably cast iron) pot and brown 1/2 the pork until well caramelized. Remove to a plate to catch any juices, add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil to the pot, brown the rest of the meat, and set aside.

2) Reduce heat to medium and add 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil.  Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt, plus a few grinds from a pepper mill, and sauté until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

3) Add tomatoes and stir up any browned bits from the bottom. Return meat to the pot, add broth, capers, olives, and 1/2 tsp. oregano. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 2 hours until the meat is tender and the stew is reduced by about half.

4) Peel and chop the sweet potato. Add it to the stew with the water and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

5) When the potato is soft, add the cilantro and serve in big bowls with a green salad on the side. Enjoy!

Mexican Pork and Pepper Stew with Avocado-Citrus Cream

I love pork for its incredible versatility. Depending on the spices you use, you can travel the world with this meat – and that makes me happy. Tonight I wanted to make an avocado-citrus cream I’ve been thinking about, so I went south for the flavor profile. I served it on top of butternut squash noodles but it was also great on its own. Depending on your chili powder, this can be quite spicy or not at all – so feel free to add more spice if you need to kick it up. Either way, the cooling avocado cream will round everything out perfectly.

Pork and Pepper Stew with Avocado-Citrus Cream 2013

Mexican Pork and Pepper Stew

3 lbs. of pork loin, cut in 1 inch cubes

1 T. ground cumin

1 tsp. granulated garlic

2 tsp. salt, divided

1 T. + 1 tsp. coconut oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. chipotle powder

28 oz. diced tomatoes

2 c. water

Directions

1. In a large bowl, massage cumin, garlic, and 1 tsp. of salt into the cubed pork loin.

2. Melt 1 T. coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add pork without crowding the pot and brown well. This may take several batches. Set aside.

3. Melt 1 tsp. coconut oil in the pot and add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and 1 tsp. salt, stirring and scraping up any brown bits until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, then add the chili powders and coriander. Return the pork to the pot with its juices and pour in the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium to keep a lively bubble.

4. Leave the lid off and allow the mixture to bubble until most of the liquid is gone for a thick stew. This will take about an hour. Check the tenderness of the pork and when ready, serve with a generous dollop of Avocado-Citrus Cream (recipe follows).

Serves 4-6

Avocado-Citrus Cream

1 avocado

1/2 c. cilantro

Juice from 1 lime

Juice from 1/2 an orange

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 t. salt

2 T. water

Directions

1) Place everything in a blender and blend until very smooth and silky. I used a Magic Bullet, but you could even mash it with a fork. A little chunkier but still tasty!