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My thoughts about...Life, Humor, Paleo/Primal/Ancestral Cooking

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I needed a quick and easy dinner last night and I had chicken and Brussels sprouts in the fridge.
Those go together, right?
Keeping it simple was key.
This is a filling meal, and it has a little zing from the lemon.
Because you brown the chicken and deglaze the skillet, it makes a grave.
You can even add a little arrowroot to thicken it up and serve it on cauli-rice.

Here is what I did:


Baked Lemony Garlic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts w Roasted Red Peppers

  • 1 - 1.5 lb. chicken breasts (I cut in half)
  • 1/2 yellow/white onion
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1-cup chicken stock (additional 3 tbsp. of stock)
  • 1 lemon - juiced
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts - halved
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (I use red Palm oil as well)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp. arrowroot (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  1. In large cast iron skillet, on medium-high, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and add to the skillet.  
  3. Once you add them, don't touch them.  Let them brown 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Then flip once and let them brown the same amount of time on the other side.
  5. Then remove from skillet.  You will continue cooking them in the oven. 
  6. Turn the heat down to medium, and add chopped onions to the skillet.  Let sauté a few minutes then add the garlic.  
  7. Add Brussels sprouts (I like to chop them in half) and let sauté and begin to get nice color on them.
  8. Add thyme, oregano, basil. Stir to mix and sauté for a minute or two.
  9. Add 1-cup chicken stock and zest and juice of one lemon.
  10. Stir to combine.
  11. Add chicken breast back to the pan.
  12. Place entire skillet into the oven and bake 12-15 minutes depending on how large are your chicken breasts.  Once the juices run clear the chicken is done.  
Optional: make a slurry of 1/2 tbsp. arrowroot and 3 tbsp. cool stock or water. Mix into the cooked gravy and stir till thickened.  Can be served over Cauli-rice. 


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Smothered Pork Chops in Ole Thyme Gravy

It has really been raining for the last week.  
The streets are flooded and so are many homes of friends and family.
The deluge of water has been overwhelming and, to be honest. depressing.
I've been in the mood for some serious comfort food.
I'm craving "stick-to-ya-ribs" kind of food.
Old School Pork Chops in Cream of Soup Gravy is what comes to mind.

My mom's version, using the canned soup, is so filled with sodium and other unwanted ingredients.

Here is a cleaner, paleo version of it...and in my opinion....MUCH better.

Smothered Pork Chops in Ole Thyme Gravy
3 Tbsp oil, divided                              (I use Red Palm Oil)

4 or 5 Pork Chops (Bone-in or Out)

1 tsp Black Pepper

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 med Onion, sliced

8-10 oz Mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup Almond Flour

1 Tbsp Tapioca Flour

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 cups Chicken Broth

1 tsp Fresh Thyme - minced             (or 1/4 tsp dried)

1-2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp Parsley - minced

Use a skillet that is large enough to fit all of the pork chops in a single layer. 

Heat the skillet over medium high heat, then add 2-3 Tbsp oil to coat the bottom of hot skillet.

Pat the pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper.   Then arrange them in the hot skillet, in single layer. 

Cook until brown on first side, flip and brown on second side. 

Remove the pork chops to a plate.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet and  sauté the onions and mushrooms. 

Stir occasionally until onions & mushrooms are soft. Sprinkle almond flour, garlic, and oregano over onion/mushroom mixture and stir and continue to cook for 1 minute. It will thicken.

Stir in chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaves. 
Return the browned pork chops. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer 30-45 mins. 

Remove pork chops to plate and cover with foil. 

Make a "slurry" with 1 Tbsp Tapioca Flour and a little water or chicken broth. Stir into the gravy and let it thicken.

If sauce is too thick, stir in additional chicken broth or water. 

Remove bay leaf and stir in parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

Spoon gravy over pork chops. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Twisted Spicy Grilled Chicken and Grape Salad

I’m quickly becoming The King of Leftovers.

I mean, I am getting pretty creative, right?.  
Of course, in the past, I’ve been accused many times 
of having an overactive imagination.  
But, I doubt that’s what they meant.

As much as I may love eating certain dishes, 
eating them over and over, 
night after night 
can be...,well, boring.  

I decided, not long ago, that I needed to start doing a better job and turning my leftovers into new dishes.  
(Is “upcycling” a word I can use to describe 
what I’m doing with my leftover foods?)  
Hmmmmmm…food for thought.

The other night I was on my way home, 
trying to figure out what we were going to eat.  
I had cooked up a big ole batch of grilled chicken 
the night before and had a couple breasts left over.  
I knew that I wanted to do something with that…
I had, at the very least, a protein…
a base for my meal.

I couldn’t remember what else we had in the fridge.  
I couldn’t think of anything that I might be able to throw together to make an entrée much less a whole meal.  
I was drawing a blank.
So, I called home and had my daughter call out 
items we had in the fridge.   
Anyone who knows my kids, 
knows that getting them to do anything 
with gusto is a task in itself…
not super enthusiastic about things outside of their own interests.   

Anyway, she started listing things in the fridge…
things that do not make a meal.   
“Half a jar of your weird mayo.  A lemon.  
A bag of grapes. 
I love grapes dad, do something with that. 
Chicken, but you knew that, right? 
Uhm…oh, there is also some weird herb…
you know the one…
you said that they make pickles with it…
Dill.  There’s dill in here.”   

To be honest, she listed a number of other things.  
Onions, celery, bell peppers, leftover steak, etc.  
But those first ingredients stuck in my mind.  

So, I did a quick InterGoogleNetWeb-type search just listing the chicken and grapes and dill.  
To my shock and amazement 
there was a chicken salad recipe that had those ingredients.  
What? Are you kidding?  
Apparently it’s a thing.  
Enough for me to run with.
When I got home, I started pulling things from the fridge, 
with no specific recipe in mind.  
I just knew I wanted to recreate my own version 
of the salad I read about.  

 Here is what I came up with.

Remember that you can tweak this and make it your own.  The options are endless.  This one worked and will be one that I make again.

Get creative.

Kraig’s Twisted Spicy Grilled Chicken and Grape Salad
½ lb. Grilled Chicken Breast -   Chopped
    1.      When you chop the Chicken, Pecans, Celery and Grapes, try to keep the chop of each roughly the same size.
    2.      In a large bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients.
    3.      In a separate smaller bowl, mix/whisk together the Mayo, Lemon Juice, Dill, and a healthy dash of Cayenne (according to how spicy you like it.)
    4.      Pour the mayo mix into the larger bowl and fold in to fully incorporate it with the chicken and grape mix.
    5.      Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. (Careful with the salt.  The dill can give it a “salty” flavor.)
    6.      Serve in Lettuce leaves of your choice.  Or on paleo crackers, or bread.
    7.      Enjoy!
1-2 Stalks of Celery – Chopped Smallish
½ Cup Fresh Dill – Finely Chopped
(If using dry, only use about 2 Tbsps.)
3/4 Cup Pecans – Roughly Chopped
½ lb. Red Grapes – Roughly Quartered or Halved
1 Cup Paleo Mayo
Juice of ½ a Lemon - Fresh
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Cayenne – To Taste
Lettuce (bib, romaine, etc.) – For Wrapping

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Smokey Chipotle Blueberry Ketchup - Paleo

I recently learned that ketchup...original ketchup, was NOT made with tomatoes.  It is only in recent history that we started using tomatoes, originally making ketchup was a way to preserve certain fruits...mostly berries, like blueberries.

I found an old recipe for a spicy blueberry ketchup and immediately thought about using chipotle as the spice.  This pairs REALLY well with sweet potato fries, and pork sliders/burgers.

Try it! You might like it!

Here is what to do:

Smokey Chipotle Blueberry Ketchup
  • 1 lb fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey (can also use maple)
  • 1/8 onion - minced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo (use the actual peppers and not the powder)
  • 1 tsp ginger (fresh grated is best)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lime - zest and juice
  1. Dump all of the ingredients into a sauce pan.
  2. Mix and stir until all are combined well.
  3. Turn stove to high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium to medium-high and simmer the berries for about 30-40 minutes. (It will thicken).
  4. Remove from heat and LET COOL before pouring into a blender. (Alternately, you could use a stick blender (immersion blender).)
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  6. Will keep in the fridge 1-2 weeks.

Cajun Mostly Basil Paleo Pesto

We love pesto at our house.
No, seriously, we LOVE pesto...
like put-it-on-anything-and-everything 
kind of love.

I collected fresh greens from my garden, and realized that I didn't have quite enough for the pesto that I wanted to make.  
So, I added a little spinach and lettuce and even a few mustard greens and carrot tops.
To give it more  of a "Cajun" twist, instead of olive oil, I use a local PECAN OIL.
And as an alternative to the pine nuts, I used pecans (and sometimes I use pumpkin seeds, or pistachios, or....well, you get the idea.)
To complete the "cajun" theme, I added a dash of cayenne.  We like the kick.
Easy peasy!

Oh! And, if you make up a me, I'll be right over....
Did I tell you how much we LOVE this stuff?

Here is how I did it:



  • 3 cups packed basil (I only had 2 from my garden, so I filled w lettuce, mustard, carrot tops)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pecans (or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Pecan oil (add more as needed)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan (this makes it PRIMAL)
  • a dash of cayenne 

  1. Use processor to chopify everything except the oil (Remember that if you add Parmesan cheese it makes the Pesto PRIMAL). 
  2. Once chopified, trickle in the oil while pulsing the processor till all is blended. 
  3. Taste for seasoning.