Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paleo Beef and Lamb Meatballs with goat cheese

My hubby is Italian, meaning that before we went paleo, he LOVED eating a big bowl of pasta with meat sauce, lasagna, ravioli, or any other form of pasta.  I loved it too, but we made a choice to change our eating habits.  One of the good things, though, is that meatballs are still a delicious paleo treat!  I just decided to get a bit creative.  Instead of serving the meatballs over spaghetti squash (which is definitely a yummy alternative), I served these over a bed of sauteed spinach.  I also made a cream sauce rather than a marinara sauce.  My little baby is still growing and needs the grass fed, full fat dairy, so I added a bit with the goat cheese and the cream sauce.  To make these "true paleo," just make a different sauce and don't add in the goat cheese.

Paleo Beef and Lamb Meatballs
 with Goat Cheese

* 1 lb ground beef
* 1 lb ground lamb
* 1 cup minced onions
* 2 egg whites
* 3 tbs minced garlic
* 1 tbs parsley flakes
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp pepper
* 1 tbs garlic powder
* 1 tbs onion powder
* 8 oz goat cheese (optional)

For the sauce
* 1 pint heavy cream
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp pepper
* 1 tbs garlic powder
* 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

First, I mixed pretty much everything up in a big glass bowl.  I mixed the ground beef, lamb (I like the taste of both mixed together, but you can certainly change it up with pork or just using all lamb or all beef... whatever you like). I also added in the onions, garlic, spices, and egg whites.  You could also use a whole egg, but I had egg whites that I needed to use. I just used my hands and mixed everything up.  Make sure not to work the mixture too much because the last thing you want is the meat turning rubbery and tough.

Most people add some sort of breadcrumb, white bread soaked in milk, or some other jazz... I've made several batches of meatballs without them and really haven't missed them.  These are moist enough without having to add bread to make them soft.

Once everything was thoroughly mixed, I took the goat cheese and put it into a small dish, getting it ready to stuff these bad little meatballs!  Like I said before, if you don't do well with dairy or don't like it, then just leave this part out.  The meatballs will still be delicious without the goat cheese.  You could probably use a different type of cheese here too.  Those little buccatini (mozzarella balls) would be perfect for this! I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but now I want to try it... I'll save that for another post, though!

Next, I took a small bit of goat cheese and rolled it into a little ball. 

Then, I took a pretty good amount of the meat mixture, rolled it into a ball, then flattened it so the goat cheese ball would fit in the middle.  

 Next, I put the goat cheese ball in the middle of the meat mixture.  I then wrapped the meat mixture around the goat cheese.  You have to make sure that there is enough meat to cover the whole thing because you don't want the goat cheese to melt and leak out of the meatball when you cook it.

I just repeated this process until I was out of goat cheese and meat mixture.  I lined them all up on a foil lined cookie sheet to get all situated.   

These meatballs turned out to be HUGE, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

You can bake these in the oven, but I like mine browned on the stove.  I didn't even need to add any butter or oil to the pan because the meat had enough.  I just turned the stove to Medium High and threw in a few meatballs at a time.  I let them brown and kept moving them so they would cook evenly and not burn.

 So here are the yummy little meatballs, just waiting to be eaten.

As I mentioned before, I served these over a bed of sauteed spinach.  I just threw the fresh spinach in the same pan that I cooked the meatballs.  That way, it didn't need any oil or butter.  It just cooked in the leftover juices from the meatballs.... talk about delicious flavor!

Here's what they look like with the cream sauce.  If you want to make the sauce, it's super easy.  Basically, you put the heavy cream, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan and heat everything on Medium heat.  Keep stirring it all so that the sauce won't burn on the bottom (which can happen quickly if you aren't careful).  Eventually, the cheese melts and you have a yummy alfredo sauce that is amazing with the spinach and the meatballs.

I loved this dish.  It was delicious and it was relatively simple.  The best thing about this is that you can double or triple the batch of meatballs and freeze them before you cook them.  Our little Peanut is due to arrive in two weeks (so any time now).  I'm planning to make a batch of these suckers and freeze them so we'll have some food during those first few hectic weeks. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paleo Mexican Chicken Soup

It's always important to eat healthy and to nourish your body. Being preggers, I'm even more conscious of what I eat.  I definitely want our little Peanut to grow healthy and strong.  One of the best things to eat is bone broth.  Rather than buying canned chicken broth, it's super easy and super cheap to make it yourself. 

With it being summer, I'm not too terribly in the mood for super thick stews, but more brothy soups.  I've always loved Chicken Tortilla Soup, however, the way I always used to make it was filled with corn, beans, tortilla chips, and cheese.  Being pretty much paleo now, I can't really eat the corn, beans, or tortilla chips.  So.... I decided to create this recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup!

Paleo Mexican Chicken Soup

My baby bump is so big that I can't hide it from the camera anymore...
 you can see the black bump at the bottom of the picture! sorry :)

* 1 whole free range chicken
* 1 tbs fat (bacon fat, butter, olive oil) - I used bacon fat
* 1 red onion, minced
* 2 cans of diced tomatoes
* 1 zucchini
* 4 tbs minced garlic
* 1 jalapeno
* 1 poblano pepper
* 1 red pepper, diced
*1/2 cup of chpped mushrooms
* 1 small can of diced green chiles
* 2 tbs ground cumin
* 1 tbs paprika
*1 tbs chili powder
* 1 tbs. garlic powder
* * 1 tbs dried oregano

The first thing I did was chop up all the veggies and garlic. I wanted to cut all of my veggies up pretty small.  You can definitely leave some of the veggies in bigger chunks, but when I eat soup, I like having a little bit of a bunch of different veggies on my spoon.  But, if you're one of those people who likes big chunks, go ahead and leave big pieces of them in the soup!   

Once all of the veggies were cut, I but the bacon fat into a big soup pot and turned the heat to medium.  Once the fat was melted, I threw the veggies into the pot and let everything start to soften. 

Notice that I left the jalapeno in big chunks.  I wasn't sure how spicy everything would be, so I left them big enough to pull out just in case!

Next, I put the whole chicken into the same pot as the veggies.  Make sure you take all of the organs and stuff like that out of the chicken!  I did season it a little bit withsome salt and pepper, but that's it! After I put the chicken in, I filled the pot with regular old water.  You are essentially making your own chicken stock.

I then stirred up the veggies a tiny bit so that they weren't squished under the chicken.  Then, I covereed it all up with the lid and turned the heat to medium high.  Once the soup came to a boil, I turned the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for a few hours.  If you want, I'm sure that you could throw the whole thing into a crock pot and leave it for a few hours. 

After the soup simmerred for a few hours, the whole chicken should be thoroughly cooked.  I took the chicken out of the pot (very carefully!!!) Then, I let the chicken cool because it was super hot after being in soup for hours!  

Once the chicken was cooled, I shredded all of the whole thing.  This was the part where the dog sat drooling and staring at me for a while.  :)  Once it was all shredded, I threw it back into the pot with the diced tomatoes.  At this point, I had a pretty nice chicken and vegetable soup, but I wanted the yummy Mexican flavors... so I added in the spices - cumin, chili powders, oregano, paprika, and garlic.   I let everything simmer for a little bit longer so the flavors would have a chance to meld together.

So here's the soup!  The whole thing was sooo flavorful!  I garnished the whole thing with some chopped up avocado. It wsa delicious.   I thought it was great and will definitely be making it again.  It was full of vegetables, chicken, and all of the great nutrients of the bone broth.  I loved it and hope you do too!