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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a week of whole30 dinners

When I look back on my history with meal planning, I don’t have a great track record. But I’m trying. Progress not perfection. That’s what this is all about, right?
And “this” incudes healthy eating/cooking/noshing/foodblogging . . .

You’ve probably noticed I post a lot of whole30 friendly recipes here at EatWriteRepeat and that’s because I’m trying to practice what I preach. So as you head into your week and your grocery list grows on the sticky note taped to your fridge, here’s five meals (Healthy! Tasty! Whole30-friendly!) to help you in your own progress-not-perfection meal-planning endeavors.
Enjoy!

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Crispy brussles sprouts with a soft egg
Poached salmon in curry sauce
Bone broth and veggie soup with bean thread noodles
steak and veggie tossed skillet
Pan grilled chicken breast, cauliflower rice, and balsamic-glazed baby carrots

pan-grilled chicken breast on a bed of cauliflower rice with balsamic-glazed baby carrots

Sundays are the one day I give myself permission to basically abandon the kitchen to the forces of nature (my kids) and I cook only one meal. They are on their own for breakfast and lunch. Except the baby, of course. I’m a good responsible parent. She gets fruit snacks and a bottle. Kidding. Totally kidding. Mostly.

Anyway. Sundays. One main meal in the middle of the day. Something everyone will eat. Something relatively easy and quick to put together (because the after-church hanger is real). So often that ends up having something to do with chicken. —Soup, occasionally. Or a pot-pie. Today it was pan-grilled chicken, cauliflower rice (because whole30) and baby carrots. I fancied things up a bit for the adults with balsamic glaze on the carrots and a few avocado slices to finish it off, but everyone else requested ketchup, no cauliflower rice. (“Ewww that’s gross Mom!” Whateves), and carrots “with no black stuff.” So much for cultivating culinary taste and appreciation for presentation. Oh well. At least this meal has the benefit of mix-and-match so that we can appease ALL THE TASTE PREFERENCES. Hooray for Sundays.
Enjoy!

PAN-GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST ON A BED OF CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH BALSAMIC-GLAZED BABY CARROTS

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4-5 chicken breasts
1 lb baby carrots
1 head of cauliflower
4 tablespoons clarified butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
¼ cup diced onions
a dash of Italian or poultry spices
salt and pepper to taste

CARROTS:
Start by steaming the baby carrots as they will cook away while you prepare the rest of the food. Use an in-pan steam-colander if you have one, or another steaming method you are comfortable with. When done, the carrots should be fork-tender.

CHICKEN:
While the carrots are steaming, heat 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in a large flat-bottomed pan over med-high heat. Sauté onions until caramelized, spread evenly across the bottom of the pan and lay the chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle with Italian or poultry spices, along with salt and pepper to taste, cover and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip and repeat for another 5-7 minutes. You can check for doneness by gently slicing through the middle of one breast. The meat should be white all the way through. If it is still pink, allow it to cook for a couple more minutes. Remove the chicken from pan and set aside.

CAULIFLOWER RICE:
The ‘rice’ is the messiest part of this meal, but it’s so delicious that it’s definitely worth the hassle. You will need a food processor for this job or you’ll have to be handy with a dicing knife. I’ve used both and prefer the food processor method. Take a fresh head of cauliflower, pare of the greens, chop into small pieces, and then whirl in a food processor on the pulse setting until the cauliflower resembles rice grains. You can do the same thing with a large knife and a cutting board. It just takes a little longer.

Once the cauliflower is processed, warm another 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in the same pan you cooked the chicken. (Make sure you leave all the drippings and spices from the chicken! They flavor the rice perfectly). Add the processed cauliflower to the hot pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn with a spatula to cook evenly and mix in all those tasty spices left over from cooking the chicken. Once well-mixed, cover for 5-8 minutes and allow to cook. Turn again. The rice should not be mushy—careful not to overcook or you will just have made the most delicious baby food. So catch it before the mush state and remove from heat.

The carrots should be done by now, and everything is ready to plate—cauliflower rice, chicken breasts, carrots. Top the carrots with balsamic for a nice glaze (granted ketchup isn’t the condiment of preferable choice) and serve hot.

Loaded paleo baked sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are one of those forgettable foods. On their own at least. I mean, sweet potatoes. I remember them at Thanksgiving when they are topped with marshmallows, and also when they’re cut into fries and served alongside a medium-rare burger. But other than that I often forget they’re even a thing.

But they are so stinking good for you, and this brightly-colored tuber (not a root, not a vegetable, what?!) is definitely worth remembering. Sweet, earthy, savory. And because they are whole30 compliant, they act as a nice base to a lot of different meals. This one included. Hopefully this dish will bring them to the forefront of your mind next time you’re looking for a satisfying, almost-comfort-food-category meal.
Enjoy!

LOADED PALEO BAKED SWEET POTATO

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1lb grass-fed hamburger
2 cups homemade salsa
4 sweet potatoes/yams
2 tablespoons clarified butter
2 whole avocados
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon diced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Scrub sweet potatoes briskly and pierce each of them several times with a fork or sharp knife. This will allow them to breathe while baking. Place all four potatoes directly on the rack in a 400-degree preheated oven. Allow to bake for an hour or so, or until a fork easily pierces the skin and they are browning. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

In a large sauté pan, melt clarified butter and sauté garlic and onions until caramelized. Add hamburger and cook through. Drain off excess liquid and then add one cup of salsa. Cover and allow to simmer for a few minutes until well incorporated. Drain excess liquid off a second time. Set aside.

Slice each of the potatoes lengthwise and lay each one open-face on a plate. Top generously with hamburger, remaining salsa, and sliced avocados—one half avocado per potato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired. Serve hot.

—Makes four potatoes

Sun-dried tomato and pesto pasta skillet with baked eggs

Sometimes dinner is about what you have in the fridge right now. Because everyoneisstarvingandmightdieiftheydonteatthissecond. So making a meal becomes a thing of urgency. And also odd creativity. Obviously. And out of such circumstances, this meal was born. Bonus, it serves as either dinner or breakfast!
I’m all about eggs these days. Funny, because I’ve never been an egg person. Probably because eggs are breakfast food and I am not a breakfast person. I’m a coffee person. Anyway.
Eggs. For dinner. Magic.
And so, for your urgent dinner needs:

SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND PESTO PASTA SKILLET WITH BAKED EGGS

14388870944451 lb angelhair pasta cooked el dente
3 tablespoons pesto
1 tablesoon sun-dried tomatoes (in oil so they are more of a sauce rather than a dried fruit)
1/2 fresh Parmesan (or to desired taste).
6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
optional: bacon crumbles

Prepare pasta per package directions, drain and return to pot. Add pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and part. Stir in the warm pot until cheese is melty and the sauces are well combined with the pasta. Spoon mixture into a well-oiled (olive oil) cast iron skillet. Smooth out until settled and even in the pan. Using a spoon, create small “nests” in the pasta and crack one egg into each nest. Slide the whole skillet into a 375 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired preference. I like mine over-easy. Top with more parm or with bacon crumbles. Serve up to your ravenous Loves.
Enjoy!