Category Archives: Paleo

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

Paleo * Gluten-free  ~~

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Ironically, my dog Bella is on a Paleo diet.

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No, it’s not because I’m some paleo fanatic, but because she has itch issues and the vet has taken her off the most common allergens:  beef, chicken, and grains.  I buy her grain-free kibble but then to make it more appealing, I make ground lamb stew to stir into it.   About once a month I traipse to the the meat market that has reasonably priced ground lamb and buy about 5 pounds, then portion it out for single meals.  This month I bought way too much lamb.  As it happens, I had made the Paleo Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes the day before – so Shepherd’s Pie was a no-brainer for the extra ground lamb.

Paleo-izing the Shepherd’s Pie was an interesting challenge.  The potato topping I had already dealt with in last week’s post.  The filling traditionally uses flour (wheat, of course) to create a thick gravy.  My thinking was, instead of substituting an alternate flour for the wheat, why not just let the potatoes be the gravy as well as the topping – after all, I love to smoosh the potatoes into the meat part when I eat Shepherd’s Pie anyway.

The result is a tasty, but less thick meat stew.  I liked it very much as I sometimes find traditional recipes to be a little pasty.

About the vegetables…I confess I use frozen vegetables.  They’re easy and, frankly, I like them.  If you are more ambitious than I, feel free to start with fresh vegetables and cook them before adding them to the meat or just throw in any leftover vegetables you have from previous meals.  It doesn’t really matter what vegetables you use, or even how much you throw in – Shepherd’s Pie is very forgiving.

Though I used ground lamb for the reason stated above, I also love ground lamb; but I know there are many non-lamb eaters in the world you if you are one of them, ground beef or even ground bison would be perfectly fine substitutes.

This is a great  winter meal with protein, starch, and vegetables all in one dish – add a salad for crunch and you are good to go.

Enjoy!
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Paleo Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with or without Garlic

Paleo * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve ~~

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Let’s start with the question “are potatoes paleo?”   If you google that, you will find many different answers ( a good article is found here http://paleoleap.com/are-white-potatoes-paleo/).  When I started paleo, the answer was pretty much “no” BUT sweet potatoes are okay.   This didn’t suit my sense of logic because if we are discussing the diet of Mr. and Mrs. Ugh, if they ate potatoes at all, they probably did not distinguish between the two…and they certainly didn’t eliminate the white potato merely because it was too high on the glycemic index.  As time passed, many in the paleo community seemed to soften on the white potato issue.  I use potatoes as a starchy vegetable and try to avoid the clearly non-paleo versions like potato chips and French fries (I confess I’m not totally successful at this) and I don’t indulge in potatoes daily.  But when I do, I love this fairly healthy (it does have lots of oil in it) version of mashed potatoes

When I first gave up dairy, I would never have dreamed  I would prefer mashed potatoes made with olive oil over those made with lots of butter and cream.  But that is indeed the case.  These mashed potatoes are smooth and rich with added layers of flavor from the broth in which the potatoes are cooked as well as the freshness from the chopped herbs.

The amount of olive oil you want to use in the potatoes will depend on how “tasty” your extra virgin olive oil is (and for this you must use extra virgin).   You will need less of a very fruity/flavorful olive oil than of a bland one.  Start with 2 tablespoons of oil, then add more until you have the flavor profile that you like best.

Enjoy!
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Paleo Pumpkin Bread

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I’m going to my cousin’s house for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  In self defense I offered to bring the pumpkin bread so that it would be Paleo.  I have to confess/brag that I don’t think anyone there will even know that it is anything other than a regular pumpkin bread.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!
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Lightly Curried Asparagus Soup

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Paleo *  Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve~~~

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So, as happens all too frequently, I just couldn’t resist a bargain bunch of asparagus –    even though I had no particular use for them. I brought them home, put them in the refrigerator (I didn’t put them into a green bag that would have extended the life until I really wanted to use them) and 3 days later they are looking sad.  Soup, of course is the great burial ground of dying vegetables – so I took all the sad things I had in the fridge – 1 pathetic leek, 1 mangy stalk of lemon grass, and the drooping asparagus.  Sounds appetizing, yes??  Unbelievably this is now one of my new favorite soups! In my first recipe test I had red pepper flakes but it made it  pretty spicy  so I eliminated them from the recipe – you may want to include some if you like your soup spicy.  If you can eat dairy – this soup would be yummy garnished with yogurt.

Enjoy!

Continue reading Lightly Curried Asparagus Soup

Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~

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I’m a Johnny-come-lately to the pleasure of calamari.  For most of my life if you had offered them to me – my automatic response would have been “If I wanted to eat rubber bands, they certainly wouldn’t be the fish flavored ones!”

I think I started to change my opinion at Carmine’s, a family style restaurant.  Someone ordered fried calamari for the table and insisted I try one.  OMG!  Who knew how delicious, tender, and non-rubber bandy they could be.  I couldn’t stop eating them…and now I dream of them.

But that was fried calamari…let’s be honest if you fried fishy rubber bands and gave me a delicious dipping sauce for them , I might fall in love with them too.  The transition to non-fried calamari came in a seafood cooking class.  One of the dishes was a squid salad and one of my tasks was cleaning the squid (which I was awesome at) and after doing all that work, I had to try the dish.  Okay, not love a first bite – but pretty good.

Fast forward to last week and I’m at the farmer’s market where the fish monger has fresh squid and some weird impulse seduced me to buy some.  I think it was more to see if I remembered how to clean them (the class was several years ago) then to actually eat them.  But here I am, a bunch of perfectly cleaned calamari and wondering what to do with them.  This recipe was my answer…and an excellent answer it was!

BTW if you want a really speedy version of this recipe, just heat up your favorite spaghetti sauce and stir in some calamari slices and cook a minute or two until opaque.

Of course I serve mine with zuchetti, if you are not paleo or gluten free, you can use any kind of pasta.

Bon Appetit!
Continue reading Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Aloo Gobi Matar (Cauliflower, Potato, and Pea Curry)

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo *

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This has always been my favorite dish to order when I’m having a meal at an Indian restaurant (or when I’m ordering in from one).   It’s probably one of the only savory dishes I make that doesn’t contain either onion or garlic – which means I can serve it to my friend who is allergic to both.

Usually you find Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) on restaurant menus but I like the texture and color that the peas (matar) contribute to the dish.   Though I like the peas, if you are strictly paleo you may want to leave them out. When cooking this, it’s hard to tell how juicy your tomatoes are going to become, so you may or may not need additional water.  Using boiling potatoes will ensure that your potato cubes remain pretty intact. You don’t want mashed potatoes; you want the dish to be just a little saucy.

Aloo Gobi Matar

Stir this dish occasionally as it cooks to make sure the liquid doesn’t evaporate completely.

1 tablespoon olive oil  

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Ground red pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water + additional if necessary

3 cups cauliflower florets

1 cup cubed new red or Yukon gold (boiling) potatoes

1 cup tomato wedges

1/2 cup peas, optional

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro + additional for garnish

Salt to taste

In a 3-quart pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the ginger and cook, stirring 30 seconds.

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Add the curry, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and ground red pepper; stir until absorbed.

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Stir in the 2 tablespoons water; add the cauliflower, potato, and tomatoes.  Stir until vegetables are coated with spice mixture.

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Cook, covered, over medium heat 5 minutes until mixture starts to steam.  Stir; reduce heat and cook, covered 10 minutes longer.  Stir and see if any additional water is needed (adding 1 to 2 tablespoons as necessary).  Continue cooking 10 minutes, covered or until potatoes are cooked through.

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Add peas and cilantro, adding water if necessary.  Cover and continue to cook 5 minutes longer.  Season with salt to taste.

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Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with chopped cilantro if desired.

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Makes:  4 cups    Serves:  4

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Paleo Sweet Noodle Pudding (Noodle Kugel)

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Parve ~~~

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This recipe is a paleo update of a post I made about for Passover 2 years ago.   But you don’t have to limit it to Pesach, it’s just as delicious for Rosh Hashanna or break fast.

The amazing thing is that Gefen noodles are made with ingredients allowable on the paleo diet:  POTATO FLOUR, POTATO STARCH, TAPIOCA STARCH, SALT, CELLULOSE GUM, BETA CAROTENE

Okay, I’m not sure about the cellulose gum but otherwise they fit into my definition of paleo.  You can buy them in most kosher stores or online at Amazon or buy it by the case (you can share the noodles with friends) for much less per package here:

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Buy Gefen Gluten Free Wide Noodles – 9 Oz. Each (Case of 12)

In the olden days I used to make a spectacular noodle pudding with sour cream and cottage cheese and pineapple (although the pineapple had to be omitted a long long time ago when I became violently allergic to it).  So, I was a little worried about how a non-dairy, gluten free kugel would come out.  The answer is GOOD – really good.

I suspect my family will miss my matzoh kugel this year, but honestly the gluten free matzoh – even though it tastes quite good – just disintegrates and turns to mush when I tried to make the kugel.  So I hope they will forgive me or even better learn to love this noodle pudding instead.  Oh yes, it freezes (which is why I could make it today and plan to serve it at seder) well; just reheat before serving.

Enjoy and Shanna Tova!
Continue reading Paleo Sweet Noodle Pudding (Noodle Kugel)

No Potato Home Fries (paleo)

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo

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Breakfast is my favorite meal.  I’m happy having breakfast for lunch or dinner or a snack.
When I first started on Paleo, white potatoes were not “legal”.  That was actually my first deviation from strict Paleo.  I thought of the logic of stone age gatherers finding both white and sweet potatoes and throwing away the white ones but consuming the sweet potatoes.  Taking this image to an even more absurd height, I envision the conversation between mates:  “Ugh dear, look what I brought home” and Ugh replying “don’t eat the white one, it’s too high on the glycemic index!”

That being said, you would think I have no objection to everyday home fries…and in fact I don’t, but I was wondering what someone who doesn’t eat white potatoes could do to substitute for home fries.  My answer is jicama and fennel.  YUM!  A good choice even if you do eat white potatoes.

Enjoy! Continue reading No Potato Home Fries (paleo)

Sweet and Sour Unstuffed Cabbage

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~ 

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My grandmother made the world’s best stuffed cabbage.  I have the recipe and have made it occasionally but it’s such a pain to make the cabbage rolls that it’s enough to discourage all but the most determined cook – and frankly I’m rarely that determined.  Here is where my sister comes in.  She is a natural out-of-the-box thinker and she created unstuffed cabbage.  You make the meatballs and just cook them in the same sauce as the stuffed cabbage, but add lots of shredded cabbage.  YUM and easy!

The challenge of converting this recipe to paleo was the meatballs because grandma always put rice in with the meat and since I don’t eat rice, I needed something the give the meatballs more interest and keep them from becoming too dry.  After many tries I finally came up with this recipe that I just love.

First I added pork to the beef to add moisture (grandma definitely did not use pork as she was kosher).  Then I added the cauliflower and potato flakes to capture the moisture and make the meat fluffier.  Onion and garlic – well I don’t have to tell you what onion and garlic do.  A little tomato sauce also adds to both texture and flavor.

I am so happy with the results I have to restrain myself from going back not just for seconds, but also for third and fourth servings.

Now that I have totally convinced you that Unstuffed Cabbage is the way to go, for anyone who still likes their cabbage stuffed, just use this filling and roll it up in parboiled cabbage leaves and cook according to the recipe

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BTW I freeze these in individual servings and when I need a quick dinner just pop one in the microwave.

Hope you love this as much as I do.
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Mama’s Meat Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~ 

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So last week I wrote about zucchetti and promised to give you a meat sauce to use with it.  True to my word, here it is…and it’s easy and pretty quick (only cooks for 30 minutes)!  It makes a lot, but the great news is it’s one of those foods that freezes beautifully.  I freeze it in individual portions and then just pull one out of the freezer whenever I want a quick meal.

This is one of those recipes where you can use any ground meat and still end up with a tasty sauce.  You can use beef, buffalo, pork, chicken, turkey, veal, ostrich, or sausage or any other ground meat or combination of meats you can think of.
Enjoy!
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