Friday, January 3, 2014

Three Recipes, Whole30 Style

One of the hardest things to wrap my head around when I did my first Whole30 was what on earth I'd be eating. This was before the accompanying book came out, and I was at a loss. So I pretty much ate the same four things during the whole month. I lived, but it didn't bode well for my success at continuing to eat well after the restrictions were over. Luckily, there are a ton of resources for paleo cooking these days, not to mention my own experience in the meantime. In fact, I sometimes feel like there's so much variety that I struggle to choose. So I've got some tried and true standards that can be adapted to suit my moods, and then I've got some new favorites as well. I'll share two tried-and-true meals and one new recipe that is knocking my socks off lately.

Dinner Option One: Roasted Chicken Bites and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Start by peeling and dicing a bag of sweet potatoes, then placing them in a 9x13 baking dish. Toss with oil or ghee, salt, pepper, and garlic (and, if you're us, a generous amount of berbere), then bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, prepare your chicken.

To make the roasted chicken bites, simply cut up one to two pounds of boneless chicken into 1 1/2-inch pieces, place the pieces in a baking dish, toss them in a bit of oil or ghee, sprinkle liberally with whatever herbs and spices float your boat (current fave is sprigs of rosemary and wedges of lemon tucked in around the chicken pieces), and place in the oven.

When you put the chicken in, give the sweet potatoes a little toss and a stir at the same time. Leave both chicken and sweet potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes (so that's 40 total for your sweet potatoes), then take the sweet potatoes out of the oven. Pour one cup chicken stock into the pan with the chicken, put it back in the oven, turn the oven off, and leave the chicken inside for five more minutes.

Boom. Dinner is done. You've made enough sweet potatoes that you should have enough for a skillet meal later in the week, for which you can chop and saute all your threatening-to-go-bad vegetables together, add some sausage, and call it good.

Dinner Option Two: Roasted Pork Loin and Sauteed Vegetables

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a pork loin fat side down in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with whatever herbs and spices suit you. I normally use just salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and it is fantastic. Roast the pork loin for 25 minutes, then flip it over so the fat side is up, and roast for an additional 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for five minutes, then slice and serve.

During first 25 minutes of cook time, wash/peel/slice/dice whatever vegetables you'd like to serve with your pork loin. My two favorite options are carrots and brussels sprouts (but not together). During the final 20 minutes of pork cook time, I saute the vegetables over medium high heat, in ghee with a generous amount of onion and plenty of salt, pepper, and garlic powder (are you sensing a theme here?), letting them brown a bit before turning off the heat. Easy peasy. Though the cook time on the pork is a bit long, this meal requires minimal effort, especially if you buy the bag of shaved brussels sprouts from Trader Joe's (ahem). You can also put the pork loin in the crock pot for four hours on low if you want to leave the house to do other things and be able to throw together a meal in record time when you get back home.

Dinner Option Three: North African Lamb and Carrot Stew Over Mashed Cauliflower


I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's North African Beef and Carrot Stew with Mint. The three of the four of us in our family who have opinions that can be voiced agreed that it would be better with lamb, and I thought it would be nicer if it were allowed to cook low and slow so that the meat would be tender. Additionally, the original recipe is meant to be served over couscous, and that's not Whole30 compliant. I'd tried it over mashed red potatoes before and figured it would be good over mashed cauliflower, and for once I was right. Without further ado, the recipe.

For the stew:
1 to 2 lbs. lamb steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
5 med/large carrots, cut into coins
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan that will fit in your oven (dutch oven is ideal, but I used a 10-inch skillet with high sides), sear the lamb pieces over medium high heat, in a bit of oil or ghee, until they are nicely browned on each side. Add salt and pepper as you are browning. Once browned, remove the lamb from the skillet and put the carrot and onion in, sauteeing just until lightly browned on the edges, about five minutes. Add the can of tomato paste, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir, coating the vegetables. Then add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Put the lamb pieces back into the pan with everything else, then cover with an oven-safe lid or aluminum foil and bake in a 300 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, core and cut one large or two small heads of cauliflower. Boil until fork tender, drain, and mash with salt, pepper, and ghee. I use an immersion blender for this, but a traditional potato masher or even a fork will do fine. Spoon cauliflower onto plates, then ladle the stew over the top.

Now go enjoy your lovely, healthy dinner.


  1. We tried the stew over cauliflower tonight and it was a hit! I'd never thought to use cauliflower in that way before but it was delightful. Please keep posting your favorite recipes.

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