Paleo Spaghetti and Meatballs

I decided to do a Paleo version of one of my favorites – spaghetti and meatballs! I had bought a spaghetti squash recently, had some fresh tomatoes, and decided I just needed to make some meatballs to go with it. I sort of made this recipe up, but it came out delicious and my boyfriend loved the meatballs (so they are man-approved as well). I also used the most phenomenal sauce I’ve ever tried: Newman’s Own “Sockarooni”. It has peppers, mushrooms, and tons of flavor. I know jar spaghetti sauces aren’t technically Paleo, but I tend to make things that are easy (because by the time I make dinner, I’m usually already hungry). I also baked the spaghetti squash the night before so that I only had to wait for the meatballs to cook. I’m too busy to sit around and make fancy dishes, but this one certainly tasted like I had slaved over it. Enjoy!

IMG_3970[1]

IMG_3965[1]

IMG_3968[1]

IMG_3969[1]

Paleo Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Servings: 5-6 (makes about 2 dozen meatballs)
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 spaghetti squash (I baked one new squash and had spaghetti from half of one frozen)
  • 2 lbs. ground meat (I used 1 lb. lean ground turkey and 1 lb. ground Italian sausage)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. almond meal/flour
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (about 24 oz.)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • Paprika (to taste)
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • Italian seasoning (to taste)
  • Cumin (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1.) Bake spaghetti squash (see step by step instructions here) and scrape “spaghetti” out of shells. Place onto paper towels on a colander/bowl and set aside.

2.) Combine ground meat, eggs, almond meal, and spices in a large bowl and mix by hand. Then roll into balls.

3.) Over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Then add the diced tomatoes and let simmer for a few minutes. My sauce came out a little watery (but thickened after standing), so maybe drain some of the tomato juices before cooking.

4.) Transfer the tomatoes to a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat, leaving some of the olive oil/juices in the skillet. Add the jar of sauce to the pan/dutch oven and cover.

5.) Start adding the meatballs to the skillet to brown them. Flip them over when they start to get brown. You don’t want to cook them all the way through, just enough so that they keep their shape. You may have to do this in batches! Once browned, add them to the sauce pan/dutch oven.

6.) Let meatballs simmer in sauce for about 20 minutes, or until fully cooked. Ladle sauce and meatballs over spaghetti squash and enjoy! If I wasn’t eating Paleo I would top with Parmesan or mozzarella ūüôā

Quick and Easy Paleo Crock Pot Chili!

Once again, my crock pot saves the day! I decided to paleo-fy my favorite chili recipe¬†and it was allllmost as good. The key ingredient in my chili is beer, which I couldn’t add, and I also love beans, which aren’t paleo. But this one came out pretty darn good! And I just threw it all in the crockpot, stirred, and let sit on low for about 8 hours. Can’t get much easier than that. You can also tweak this to add any meat/veggies/spices you’d like!

IMG_3940[1]

IMG_3938[1]

IMG_3939[1]

Paleo Crock Pot Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey/beef
  • 1/2 lb. stew beef
  • Chopped peppers (approx. 2 peppers)
  • Chopped onion (approx. 1 onion)
  • Diced zucchini (approx. 1 zucchini)
  • Diced tomato (approx. 2 large tomatoes)
  • 1 packet chili seasoning (I found McCormick’s Tex Mex to be the only paleo blend at Walmart!)
  • 1 can¬†tomato paste (12 oz.)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (14.5 oz)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup water/broth (I think I added too much water because mine came out a bit thin, so¬†add water carefully!)
  • Cumin (to taste)

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to a crock pot, stir, and cook on high for about 4 hours or low for about 8 hours. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

New Obsession: Wrenn Jewelry Rings

I stumbled upon this jewelry brand while ogling over The Northeast Girl’s perfect fall style. (Seriously, go check out her blog. You’ll be obsessed.) I decided to check out the rings and I was instantly adding like 3 of them to my cart. I ended up having to narrow it down to one (#poorgirlproblems) but I wanted to buy just about every color. They are called¬†“druzy” rings; they all have stones that are¬†so glittery and fun! I ended up choosing this one since it’s my birthstone color:

Emerald Green Druzy Statement Ring

 

But I also had my eye on this one (next time…):

PRE-SALE Ivory Opal Druzy Statement Ring - Limited Quantities!

I guess her supply constantly changes, and you can even have one custom made. I can’t wait to see how the emerald one looks and fits, and then I am sure I’ll be back for another…and they are all $30 and under! I also got¬†a coupon code from her site by following her Instagram and liking her Facebook page. She also has bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and more…endless options!

PS Is anyone else like me and has no idea what ring size they are? I found this handy ring sizer from Zales which I printed out to see what size my finger was before buying.

Paleo Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I didn’t want to eat eggs every morning¬†for my 30 days of paleo, so I was excited when I found this recipe for paleo muffins! It requires almond and coconut flour, so it’s a good gluten-free¬†recipe as well. I was able to find these flours at Trader Joe’s. The muffins came out awesome and I don’t think anyone would be able to tell that they aren’t made with regular flour (although I haven’t shared any of them yet…) This recipe¬†made 7 muffins and they came right out of the pan with just coconut oil spray!¬†Can’t wait to try some of the other paleo muffins I have been pinning (pumpkin, gingerbread…) ūüôā

IMG_3933[1]

IMG_3927[1]

IMG_3929[1]

IMG_3930[1]

IMG_3931[1]

IMG_3932[1]

Paleo Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Adapted from: Ultimate Paleo Guide

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour/almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 apple, diced (with skin)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup¬†honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon (depending on how much you like cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

1.) Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) In a large mixing bowl add flours, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix.

3.) Once mixed, add apples, eggs, honey, and coconut oil to mixture and mix well again.

4.) Prepare muffin tin with liners or coconut oil spray and add batter.

5.) Bake for 30 minutes or until done.

Nutrition Info (Per muffin, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 281
Fat 17 g (9 g saturated)
Fiber 5 g
Carbs 21 g
Sugars 14 g
Protein 8 g

Paleo Chocolate and Coconut Bites

So normally I don’t have a huge sweet tooth (unless a DQ Blizzard is within 100 feet of me). However, I think since I’ve been eating a lot of savory items this week (eggs, sausage, nuts, etc.) I suddenly developed a craving for something sweet besides¬†fruit. Since I can’t have a granola bar or flavored almonds, my usual sweet craving go-tos, I found a recipe for little paleo “brownie” bites that looked really good. Last night I had some free time (a rare occurrence¬†in my busy life) so I went to Trader Joe’s, got the food processor out, and made these bites. They were SO GOOD. To the point where I made my roommates try them and they wouldn’t have guessed that they were paleo, let alone that the key ingredient was dates. Something I had honestly never eaten before in my life, but it made them perfectly gooey and delicious. An¬†important note: don’t forget to pit the dates! I almost did…but maybe they would have just been chopped up? Luckily, I didn’t have to find out. It¬†made about 13 balls, so depending how big you roll them, you will probably have around the same. I rolled a few in coconut, put them in the fridge in a closed container, waited about 20 minutes, and they were perfect!¬†Try not to eat them all at once ūüôā

IMG_3911[1]

IMG_3915[1]

Paleo Chocolate and Coconut Bites

 Adapted from: Our Paleo Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup Slivered Almonds
  • 11 pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1/4 cup¬†Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup¬†Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Water

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients (except water), in the order listed, in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse gravel.

2.) While the processor is running, add a thin stream of water, about ¬Ĺ tsp.¬†Stop the processor and check the mixture inside. If it sticks together when you smush it, then you’ve got the right consistency. If it’s still crumbly, add more water. You don’t want to add too much water because the bites will be too sticky!

3.)When you’ve got the right consistency, roll mixture into tablespoon-size balls. Roll in coconut, if desired.¬†Store in¬†the refrigerator.

Nutrition Info (Per bite, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 157
Fat 8 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 2 g
Carbs 18 g
Sugars 14 g
Protein 2 g

Sausage and Sweet Potato with Peppers and Onions

I will start off by saying this is the first time I’ve cooked sweet potato. Which is probably surprising, because everyone loves it and it’s good for you and as a future dietitian I should certainly be eating some sweet potato. However, I’ve always hated things that are sweet but should be salty, i.e. sweet potato fries, kettle corn. Therefore I tried hating sweet potato for awhile, but recently became more open to sweet potato fries (with salt and ketchup, of course). Since fries are not remotely healthy, and regular potatoes are not paleo, I decided I needed to try sweet potatoes in another dish. I found this recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit; the result was DELICIOUS. I am now on the sweet potato train. It was awesome with the sausage, peppers, and onions, since it added some sweetness. I used mild Italian sausage, but my boyfriend said the sweet potato would have paired better with spicy sausage…I’m also not super adventurous with spice, but I made a bold move with the sweet potato and it worked, so who knows! Maybe I’ll start eating everything with ghost peppers someday (probably not). Anyways, enjoy this easy and yummy recipe!

IMG_3892[1]

Sausage and Sweet Potato with Peppers and Onions

Adapted from: Infertility Thou Art A Heartless B!&@#

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs. Italian sausage, ground (or take links out of the casing and crumble)
  • 3 sweet potatoes (I got 2 large ones and a small one)
  • Chopped peppers and onions (I use frozen, so however much you would like)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

1.) Brown the sausage on a skillet with a little olive oil; set aside in a bowl.

2.) Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potatoes.

3.) Using same skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and cook peppers and onions until slightly soft. Then add sweet potato, stir everything together, and cover skillet with foil. Lower heat to medium low (about 4) and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are soft.

4.) Mix sausage in, add salt and pepper (to taste) and crushed red pepper (optional). Let cook for about 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy! (I garnished with parsley from our garden, but you don’t need that).

Super Easy Paleo Frittatas

I normally live on a breakfast of toast with banana and peanut butter, or cereal, or a breakfast sandwich. None of which are Paleo! So I needed to find a new breakfast idea that I could also eat on the go, because I always eat in my car on the way to work (oops #imalwaysonthego). Frittatas seemed perfect, and I knew if I made them in my Pampered Chef brownie pan they would be small enough to be portable. These can easily be made with non-Paleo ingredients (cheese‚Ķ) but there are also tons of Paleo veggie and meat options too. Let me know what ingredients you use!

IMG_3884[1]

Super Easy Frittatas

  • Servings: 12 mini frittatas
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond for Paleo)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Spinach and tomatoes (or any ingredients you like!)

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Whip up eggs in a bowl with milk.

2.) Heat olive oil over medium heat and add any ingredients you would like until cooked. I wilted a small bag of spinach and added sliced Roma tomatoes and Italian seasoning. I want to try broccoli and sausage, or bacon, peppers and onions, or‚Ķso many options!

3.) Add cooked ingredients to the bowl of eggs. Mix together and pour into oiled (I used olive oil on a paper towel) muffin/brownie tin or baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until egg is firm.

**When they first came out of the oven, they were all puffed up over the top of the brownie wells (you can see it in the top picture). But by the time they cooled they had sunk back down. I bagged 6 servings of 2 frittatas and have been grabbing a bag each morning for breakfast; I heat them for 1 minute and they‚Äôre delicious!

Georgia Roadtrip, Grad School, and Eating Like a Caveman

Hey everyone! So it’s hump day and I have a had a busy weekend and week so far, from my roadtrip to Georgia to adapting to Paleo (two days in and going strong). Here are a few pictures from my weekend; my friend Nykita was a beautiful bride and we had a great time seeing her and visiting Atlanta. It was short lived (and a longggg ride) but a fun roadtrip!

IMG_3871[1]

Such a beautiful bride!

IMG_3870[1]

Pre-wedding selfie!

IMG_3838[1]

The trip would not have been complete without some Southern ribs and a Fat Tire…

…or possibly the largest peach in the world?

My sister is a manager at Dillards in SC…had to take a pic!

I also started grad school yesterday! I am only taking 2 classes since I work full-time, but I am still excited to get started. I am taking Experimental Study of Foods and Management of Food and Nutrition Services, both of which will come in handy as a dietitian (and just in the kitchen)!

Yesterday also marked day 1 of Paleo, which has been going quite well. I made frittatas for breakfast (recipe in the next post), Paleo-ized my salad for lunch, and had chicken skewers with broccoli for dinner at the bar. Tonight I am making sausage and sweet potatoes with peppers and onions!

Made my usual salad of spring mix, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and avocado while swapping walnuts and bacon for my usual feta and croutons. Was delicious with balsamic and olive oil!

Thanks for reading ūüôā

Lightened-up Chicken Divan!

This is yet another recipe that I’m shocked I haven’t posted, since it’s easy and delicious and a favorite of mine. It’s actually the first recipe my friend Laura taught me to make when I moved out on my own (and now I live with her!) She taught me to make it, from start to finish, and it was awesome. Over time I have tweaked it a bit to make it healthier and even easier; I love a meal that I can make quickly when I get home and am starving and in need of something in my belly RIGHT NOW. I also love a good combo of chicken, cheese, and broccoli (better get it out of my system before I start eating Paleo…) I make this whole thing in my Dutch oven so I can go right ¬†from stove top¬†to oven¬†with¬†much less clean up!

IMG_3826[1]

Lightened-up Chicken Divan

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1 bag frozen, steamable broccoli (about 12 oz.)
  • 4¬†cups brown rice
  • about 2 cups shredded cheese (any kind! I used Mozzarella and Pepper Jack)
  • about 1 cup milk (I use almond)
  • about 2 tbsp. organic butter
  • about 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat on the stove top, then start adding flour until it gets to a cookie dough-like consistency.

2.) Add¬†a little of the milk and cheese, stirring. Keep adding milk and cheese until you have your desired amount of sauce, making sure to crush up the “clumps” of flour/butter from the roux. The sauce should be sort of thick, because it will thin a bit when you bake. Make as much sauce as you’d like by adding more milk and cheese (I always say you can’t have too much sauce!) Take off heat.

2.) While¬†you’re making the cheese sauce, put the bag of broccoli in the microwave and steam per package instructions. If you are using fresh broccoli, steam until soft.

3.) Add the broccoli and raw chicken to the cheese sauce and stir together. Add salt and pepper to season. Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is done and sauce is bubbly.

4.) While the dish is baking, cook four cups of brown rice according to package directions. Serve the cheesy chicken and broccoli mixture over the rice and enjoy!

**Note: I realize that this is still a very cheesy dish, so it may not be the most lightened-up, healthiest recipe that I’ve ever made. However, it’s a good “indulgence” meal that I have lightened-up significantly from the original version. I’m sure it can be toned down even more, but this version I have found to taste great while still being somewhat good for your waistline. But tips for making it even better are welcome!