Month: March 2012

Cooking Without Drama-Paleo Roasted Root Vegetables

We have just rounded into week 4 of our 3 month Paleo Challenge.  While I am still getting overwhelming cravings for bread, (especially a nice crusty sourdough), and potatoes, I am finding the biggest challenge coming up with side dishes to go with the lean proteins since the rice, biscuits, rolls, garlic toast, mac-n-cheese, pastas, polentas, potato dishes are now off limit.

What I have discovered in its place are other root vegetables.  Sure, I’ve always enjoyed a sweet potato, but I have never tried turnips, rutabagas or parsnips.  Well the other day I did.

I saw the original recipe on the Wegmans website and adjusted it to fit within the confines of the Paleo Challenge.

Paleo Honey Roasted Root Vegetables (Serves 4 as a hearty side, 6 as a small side and two as a meatless dish)

1/2 medium rutabaga, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces on bias or 2 cups Cleaned & Cut Rutabaga
1 medium (6 oz) turnip, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces on bias (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 large  Organic Carrots, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces on bias (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large (6 oz) parsnip, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp Olive  Oil
Sea Salt and pepper to taste  (I did not use salt, as the challenge does not allow)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
2 Tbsp Raw Honey, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees 

  1. Toss rutabaga, turnip, carrots and parsnips with basting oil; arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast 25 min; remove from oven.
  2. Combine melted coconut oil and honey to make glaze. Drizzle over vegetables and carefully toss until completely coated.
  3. Return veggies to oven. Roast 8-10 min until glaze just begins to bubble.
 I actually cooked them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes because I had a turkey breast in there as well, and jacked up the heat for the last bit while the turkey breast rested.
They were delicious and reheated well.

 

MCAS Day

Since we live in Massachusetts its the week my son takes the MCAS-The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System. This means he has no homework this week, except to “get a good night’s sleep” and “eat a healthy breakfast”. Which annoys me because 1st off they are coddling the kids. If i have an important meeting or presentation at work, it does not mean that the dest of my work stops. And 2nd, shouldn’t I be making sure my kids get a food night sleep and a healthy breakfast every day? It’s annoying enough that I almost want to keep my kid up to all hours and then give him a ‘pop’ themed breakfast of soda pop, tarts of pop and pop rocks as an appetizer.

I really hate the focus on standardized testing. I feel it hampers the teachers and they spend time teaching kids how to do well on the MCAS and less time teaching more critical thinking.

I also hate how the ratings on a standardized test then define the school district. With the exception of one teacher that should have retired, my son has had wonderful, engaged teachers and caring support staff.

However, since the MCAS scores are not good, the school district is not good. And since the school district is not “good” then the whole town is considered a less than desirable place to live.

Which is a lot to be determined from some kids filling out bubbles on a sheet.

Cooking Without Drama-Paleo Stuffed Peppers

Growing up, stuffed peppers were awesome with the bite of the pepper mellowed by tomato sauce and slow roasting and the mixtutre of spices, sausage, rice, breadcrumbs, and cheeses mixed into the pepper.  However since I’m on a Paleo Challenge at my Crossfit Box, I needed to learn to make these delights without the sausage, the rice and the cheese.

Also, since I like dinner on the table within 30 minutes of walking in the door, how can I make it easier?

Answer- Slow Cooker of course!  When I made these beauties, I prepared the stuffing, cleaned out the & stuffed the peppers and made the sauce the night before, then all I had to do the next day was assemble and turn the slow cooker on.  When I got home…the house smelled awesome and dinner was on the table in the 10 minutes it took to make a side salad.

Paleo Stuffed Peppers (Serves 4)

4 Green Bell Peppers

1lb Meatloaf/Meatball Mix (Get the beef/pork/veal mix-its the moistest)

8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 T dried Basil

1 T dried oregano

1/2 t black pepper

1 t crushed red pepper

c cloves crushed garlic

28oz Can Crushed Tomatoes

1 Cup Red Pepper Puree (Recipe Follows)

1. Prepare peppers:  Remove tops of pepper and chop up useable part of top.  Clean out the seeds and membranes and discard.

2. Prepare filling: Place baby bellas in food processor or blender and process until finely chopped, add to pan

3.  Crumble meatloaf/meatball mixture into hot pan with pepper pieces, onions, and spices

4. Let mixture brown, and then drain.

5. Stuff peppers and set aside.

6. Make Sauce: Open Can of Crushed tomatoes and place in a bowl.  Add red pepper puree and mix well.

7. Prepare to cook.  Add 1/2 the sauce to bottom of the slow cooker.  Add peppers to the slow cooker.  Top each pepper with some sauce and pour the rest of the sauce into the slow cooker.

8. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Enjoy

Red Pepper Puree

For every two peppers you plan to roast use 1 head garlic.  Drizzle some olive oil on the cut head of garlic and wrap in foil.  Place the peppers and garlic in a pan and roast at 425 for at least an hour or until the garlic yields when given a gentle squeeze.  Place the peppers in a ceramic or plastic bowl (not metal-it messes with the acidity) cover with plastic wrap and let sit 20 minutes.  Peel peppers and remove seeds.  Add peppers into blender and squeeze in roasted garlic.  Puree, adding a drizzle of evoo if the peppers are not moving.

This freezes really well.