sweet potato hash with a soft egg

Potatoes and eggs are usually the ubiquitous American breakfast food, but if eating clean has taught me anything, it’s that anything can sub-in when it comes to meal norms. And this ‘typical’ breakfast food works just as well for dinner. Especially if you throw in a grilled steak topped with arugula, or something similar.

But for today, this was breakfast. And it was beautiful.
You can mix up the sides endlessly because sweet potatoes play nice with so many flavors and textures. Salad . . . fresh fruit . . . crudités . . .pickled beets . . . a few slices of uncured salami . . . there really is no end to the options.
In my case, it was yellow tomatoes and a slightly overripe avocado.
Hey, whatever works!
Enjoy.

SWEET POTATO HASH WITH A SOFT EGG

1 peeled and shredded sweet potato
1 teaspoon onion flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and grate/shred one sweet potato and set aside.

In a skillet over med/high-high, heat olive oil until hot (but not smoking). toss in onion flakes and allow them to caramelize. Then toss in grated sweet potato and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Turn to coat with olive oil and allow the heat to brown the edges before scraping the pan, turning again, and allowing to brown once more. Scrape and brown the potato until it begins to crisp. Then, with a spoon, hollow out two “nests” in the bed of hash and crack one egg into each nest.

Slide the skillet into a 400-degree, preheated oven and bake the hash and eggs until the egg yokes are covered with a thin while film and the whites are firm.

Remove from oven and plate with fruit, veggies, or meat.

 

garlicky chicken and fresh tomato scramble

You know when you’re so hungry because you forgot to eat breakfast or plan for lunch and it’s 2pm and you’re ready to eat your arm?
Yah. Good times.
Well, this one’s for you.
Prep and cook time: 10 minutes flat. Boom.
You can eat and just tuck that Hangry back in a little.
The world is safe for another day.
I love how a good scramble can do that. *wink*
Enjoy!

GARLICKY CHICKEN AND FRESH TOMATO SCRAMBLE

 Note: This recipe is super versatile. Fresh out of chicken? Turkey works. Or pork. Or last night’s steak. Or even a can of tuna. Not a meat person? No biggie. Leave it out.

Meat of some kind, about 1/2 a cup, or not! (See note above).
1 fresh tomato
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon onion flakes
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon clarified butter

In a frying pan over medium heat, melt butter and toss in meat. Turn and coat and then toss in garlic, onion, and diced tomato. Simmer and mix until everything is heated through and smells AMAZING. Crack two eggs right into the pan, and using a spatula mix it around a little to combine all the ingredients. Then allow the whole thing to cook, covered, for about three minutes or until everything has set. You shouldn’t have any runny eggs.
Serve hot with your favorite fruit or veggie.

 

skillet-baked lemon-garlic chicken breast with sautéed arugula and spinach

“Winner winner chicken dinner.”
That phrase originated, or so the tale goes, from a chicken dinner served in Las Vegas that used to cost less than $2.00. The usual bet at the time was $2.00, so when you won, you could afford the chicken dinner. Hence “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” 

This particular recipe costs less than $2.00 a serving, and considering how good it tastes, I’d say that definitely makes whomever cooks and eats this particular recipe, a winner.
So, there you have it. Congratulations!
Enjoy!

SKILLET BAKED LEMON-GARLIC CHICKEN BREAST
WITH SAUTÉED ARUGULA AND SPINACH

4 chicken breasts
2 cups fresh arugula
2 cups fresh spinach
1 teaspoon clarified butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

for the marinade:
1 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white cooking wine

In a glass dish with a lid, (or a gallon-sized ziplock bag) mix up the marinade and immerse chicken breasts. Allow them to soak, refrigerated, for 8 to 12 hours.

Heat your oven to 400-degrees and warm a large cast-iron skillet. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the pan is well-coated and then lay the marinated chicken breasts evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, turn the chicken, sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper, and return to the oven for another 10-to-15 minutes, or until the breasts begin to brown.

Will the chicken is finishing, melt clarified butter in a pan over med-high heat and toss in arugula and spinach. sprinkle lightly with salt and toss again until the greens begin to wilt. Remove from heat and plate with finished chicken.

roasted acorn squash soup

I very nearly destroyed dinner last night.
This happens to me sometimes when I forgot that I put something in the oven and it overcooks. In a big way.
Fortunately, I was cooking squash. And squash are redeemable. I mean, with a name like squash, they almost have to be, right?

They were going to be a side dish, but instead they became the main dish. And it was serendipity all around. —A happy accident. And also delicious. Worthy of sharing.
Enjoy!

ROASTED ACORN SQUASH SOUP

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2 medium-large acorn squash
32oz/1 qt chicken broth
1 15oz can of whole-fat coconut milk
1 tsp onion flakes
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
3/4 teaspoon of salt (moire or less, depending on taste preference)
2 tablespoons clarified butter

In a 400-degree oven roast the squash until the rinds are blackened. About an hour or more. —I simply pierce the rinds with a sharp knife so they can vent while cooking, and place them whole right on the rack (with tinfoil underneath to catch drips). I find they are easier to de-seed post roasting. I’m all about simplifying the process.

When they have finished cooking and the rinds are blackened, remove from the oven, allow to cool, then slice open, and scoop out the seeds. scoop the cooked squash from the blackened rind and set aside.

In a soup pot over med-high heat, melt clarified butter and simmer garlic and onion flakes until cartelized. Add the acorn squash, broth, and can of coconut milk. With an emulsion blender (or in a standard blender) emulsify until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with rosemary, or parmesan, or both!

 

 

zucchini noodles and shrimp with garlic-horseradish yogurt sauce

Nine days stuck indoors with sick kids makes you do some funny things. Not the least of which includes totally abandoning healthy eating resolutions/Whole 30, because when you are trying to survive it is not a good idea to give up pie.
Temporarily abandoning blogging is another one of those survival things.
And cooking real food. Pjb? Cereal? Pancakes? Fruit basket? All reasonable meals come day nine with four small sick children and no escape.
Anyway. I’m back.
Hi.
And I’m eating pie. Whatever.

But I’m also eating this: Zucchini noodles and shrimp with garlic-horseradish yogurt sauce.
Tasty? Check.
Good for you? Check.
Pretty? Check.
All the requirements met.

Enjoy and stay healthy out there!

ZUCCHINI NOODLES AND SHRIMP WITH GARLIC-HORSERADISH YOGURT SAUCE

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5 small green and/or yellow zucchini (Spirilized into noodles or cut in thin rounds)
1 lb peeled shrimp
3 tablespoons clarified butter
1 tablespoon diced garlic
2 tablespoons horseradish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauté pan, melt clarified butter, and simmer garlic and horseradish. Add lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Continue simmering and toss pealed, tail-free shrimp into the pan. Cover and allow to simmer for a few more minutes. Then throw zucchini noodles (or rounds, halved) into the pan. Toss to coat with butter sauce and cover until the zucchini is more noodle-like than vegetable-like. —About 8 minutes.

Remove the zucchini and shrimp from the pan but retain as much of the cooking liquid as possible. I even go so far as to use a strainer/colander with a plate underneath, draining the zucchini and shrimp, and then adding the liquid from the plate back into the pan.

Turn the heat off the liquid and allow it to cool a bit. You’ll add the yogurt and mayo to this liquid and if it’s too hot it will separate.
Once cooled (20 minutes or so) add ½ cup homemade mayo and 1 cup honey yogurt. I like a creamy greek yogurt for this—so tasty! Whisk until the yogurt and mayo are well incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Spoon over plated zucchini noodles and shrimp. Serve hot.

spicy coconut chicken soup

In the Midwest, we are really good at winter. We’ve got that department mastered like it’s our JOB. I’d much rather be known for summer, but that’s what places like Florida and California and Georgia are good at. Someone’s got to do winter. *sigh*
Also, in the midwest, we are good at thick creamy soups. Because we are trying to stay warm. Anything with cream, or milk, or butter, or cream-of-anything additions to rice and chicken and broccoli and potatoes . . . Yah. You get the idea. Hey, it was -15 for the past week where I live (-25 and lower with wind chills). I’ve got cold on the brain. And also thick creamy soup.

But what happens when you crave that sort of thing but you’re all, “Oh shoot. Whole 30. No dairy . . .”?

Well, then you turn to the glorious creamy sweetness that is coconut milk. No lie, this stuff really is amazing. Chilled in the fridge overnight it separates and all the heavy vegetarian fat rises to the top and thickens. You can scoop it out with a spoon and drop it in your coffee. Or if you whip it (like with a hand-mixer) the consistency changes to something reminiscent of whipped cream. Great for topping pumpkin pie, brownies, or yaknow, coffee. And in this case, it provides an exotic note to an otherwise ordinary soup. Paired with the heat of some Sriracha sauce it’s the perfect blend of east and west—Midwest, in this case. Midwest on Whole30. In winter. Burrrrrr.
Enjoy!

SPICY COCONUT CHICKEN SOUP

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1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon clarified butter
¼ cup diced onion
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup Celery, diced
2 cups yellow summer squash, cut in rounds
2 cups of arugula
bean thread noodles
1  13.5 oz can of coconut milk
Sriracha sauce

In a stockpot, over medium high heat, melt clarified butter and cook onions and celery until caramelized. Add chicken stock and heat until boiling. Carrots, diced, can be added next. Turn down the heat and scoop the coconut milk/cream into the broth and whisk until well incorporated. The broth will have a sweet-savory flavor at this point. How much sriracha you add is totally dependent upon preference. I like enough heat to warm my soul. —Not burning, but I want my mouth to remember what it feels like to be warm during a mid January freeze in northern Minnesota.

The noodles can be dropped into the soup and the heat raised again to boiling. Cook them through—they’ll be translucent and soft, but shouldn’t be chewy. Bean thread noodles are my new fav. Their texture is unique and a nice alternatives to egg noddles or a standard pasta.

Lastly, add the squash and arugula as these two soften quickly.

Serve in hot steaming bowls on a cold day.

coconut-cream sweet potatoes and sausage with spinach pesto

I gave this dish a skeptical eye the first time I made it. It was one of those, “Well, the flavors all work together, technically” situations.  Sweet potatoes, salty meat, cool and refreshing pesto. Match made in . . . I don’t know . . . Candyland?
But you guys. You. Guys.
This tastes so much more amazing than I ever planed.
For real. I need to figure out a better presentation, perhaps. Something molded or towering. Because the pile-on-a-plate just doesn’t do this thing justice.

“What are you calling this?” my husband asked, mowing down his second helping.
“Don’t know,” I said. He nodded.
“Maybe go with something more descriptive than that?”
“Suggestions?”
“Candy.” He said. And he heaped another plate.
And there you go.
Enjoy!

COCONUT-CREAM SWEET POTATOES AND SAUSAGE WITH SPINICH PESTO

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*Note: This is another one of those two-for-one recipes. I’ve linked the pesto recipe here.

2 large sweet potatoes
¼ coconut cream
a dash of salt
1 lb mild Italian sausage
4 tablespoons lemon-balsamic spinach pesto

Scrub 2 sweet potatoes and pierce skin with a sharp knife, allowing them to breathe while baking (so much better than exploding inside your oven). Place potatoes directly on the rack of a 400-degree preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Make sure the burner is lined with foil as the potatoes will drip while baking.

In a flat bottom pan, cook 1 pound of mild Italian sausage until browned and crumbly. Drain and set aside.

Mix up a batch of lemon-balsamic spinach pesto.

When the potatoes are finished baking, allow them to cool, and then slice lengthwise and scoop out the baked interiors into a mixing bowl. Dispose of the peels. Add coconut cream and a dash of salt to the potatoes, and then with a hand mixer, blend until will incorporated and smooth.

Plate up in layers—potatoes on the bottom with Italian sausage spooned generously over top, and finished with the pesto.

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coconut crusted panfish

One of the difficult aspects of trying to eat clean, is finding food that has flown under commercially grown/raised/harvested radar. It’s difficult to come by. For example: Raw milk. It’s amazing stuff, but in my state, acquiring it has to be a transaction between producer and consumer exclusively. Same with eggs from hens that have not been treated with antibiotics (which is part of the reason I keep my own!) Know and befriend your local farmers! Meat is less difficult to find but more expensive. Again—make friends with all your local producers and farmers.

If you live in a rural area, hunters and fishermen can also be fantastic suppliers of meat and fish (harvested within seasonal limits and legal parameters of course—I shouldn’t even have to say that, but I don’t want anything taken out of context here). When it comes to wild game, you are guaranteed meat and fish that are free of antibiotics and growth hormones.

Thinking about where our food comes from is an excellent practice in conservation, environmental awareness, stewardship, and mindfulness. We take care of the things that hold value, and until we recognize the work that goes into feeding our bodies, we will not value it. For this same reason we teach our children/friends/spouses to cook. There is value in the art of nourishing ourselves and others.

I have a lot of hunting and fishing friends. One of them recently asked if I was interested in some Crappie—a small pan fish that is both extremely tasty and prolific in our local lakes. He’d caught his limit ice fishing and had some to share. Did I want some fillets?
Did I ever!
This recipe came out of his provision.
The idea of hunting and fishing can be a touchy topic for some, and I’ll not get into the ethical arguments here. Suffice it to say I am thankful for the work so many men and women do, on so many fronts, to put food on tables across the country, whether by farming, gardening, hunting, or fishing.
Enjoy!

COCONUT CRUSTED PANFISH

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A dozen fillets or more, depending on your crowd.
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes
4 eggs
½- ¾  cup olive oil
Cast Iron pan (not absolutely necessary, but your fish will definitely fry better if you use a cast iron pan rather than a standard or coated sauté pan)

Begin by making sure the fish have been cleaned well—meaning the bones have all been removed. Nothing is worse than swallowing a small sharp bone while you’re trying to enjoy dinner! Run your fingers along the middle of the fillets and if you feel any small bones remaining in the meat, use a meat scissors and simply trim that section of meat off the fillet. The shape of the fillets will be very un-even and reminiscent of fish sticks at times more than a standard fillet. No worries. The taste negates their appearance entirely.

In a shallow dish (a pile plate works great!) mix the coconut flakes and 1 teaspoon of salt together.

Then in a mixing bowl, mix up the eggs and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt until frothy.

In a cast iron pan, over high/med-high heat, warm olive oil until a small drip of egg bubbles and fries.

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Immersing each fish fillet in the egg, make sure it is well coated, remove and allow to drip off the excess egg briefly and then drop it into the coconut flakes. Cover and pat until the flakes stick to the entire surface of the fish. Carefully place it in the fry pan and repeat until the pan is full of fillets. Brown for about 1-2 minutes and then turn and brown the other side, turning each fillet over in the order it was placed in the pan so each one is cooked approximately the same amount of time. Place the fillets on paper toweling to absorb any excess oil and serve hot.

spinach quiche with sweet-potato crust

Don’t you just love when you can make a breakfast meal that doubles as dinner? Two birds, one stone. Best thing ever. And this quiche is exactly that. Save, no birds die. Speaking figuratively is hard.
This quiche boasts a tiny bit of spice, courtesy of the salsa, but it’s mellowed by the eggs and spinach, transforming it into a savory dish more than heated one. The ‘crust,’ such as it is, can be either crispy or soft —a similar consistency as the filling, depending on how long you bake it before adding the filling. It’s your choice. Breakfast? Dinner? Crispy? Soft? Whatevs. It’s all delicious. Enjoy!

SPINACH QUICHE WITH SWEET-POTATO CRUST

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Crust:
2 sweet potatoes, baked
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt

Quiche Filling:
8 eggs
1/2 cup water
½ pint jar of salsa, strained and liquid drained away
2 cups organic greens like spinach/arugula/kale/spring greens
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

Crust:
Scrub 2 sweet potatoes and pierce skin with a sharp knife, allowing them to breathe while baking (so much better than exploding inside your oven). Place potatoes directly on the rack of a 400-degree preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Make sure the burner is lined with foil as the potatoes will drip while baking.

Slice baked and cooled potatoes lengthwise down the middle. Scoop potato into a mixing bowl and discard the skin. Add one egg and salt. Mix using a hand-mixer and then spread into the bottom of a greased baking dish or pie plate.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until spongy. Add a few minutes if you prefer a more crispy crust. Set aside while you mix up the filling.

Quiche filling:
In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, water, strained salsa, salt, pepper, and seasoning. Mix with a hand mixer until well incorporated. Add in greens and mix again on low. Pour contents over baked sweet potato crust.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until egg is baked through and lightly browned on top.

Note: This recipe makes enough crust and quiche for two 9” pie plates. Freeze one if you like!