Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rice Shells & Cheese

Comfort foods are meant to be enjoyed with relish. And they can be a good thing on almost any diet provided that 1) they don't entirely deviate from your diet and 2) that they aren't one of your gateway foods. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones where you can't stop at one bite? If you can control yourself, then comfort food can be a great thing! Enter macaroni and cheese. It's one of the ultimate comfort foods, and for good reason. The starch, the fat, the creamy delicious texture. Yep, this might be one of those gateway foods for some. In which case, halve the recipe and pop it in a 9 in pie dish. And then eat a serving and pass it along! Quick!

Rice Shells & Cheese
1 lb white rice pasta shells
¼ cup butter
1 cup shredded cheddar, divided
½ cup shredded Italian cheese mixture
⅓ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup full fat yogurt
½ tsp ground dry mustard
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease an 8x11" glass casserole dish with butter. Boil the rice pasta in a pot of salted water according to the directions on the package. Drain and return pasta to pot. Add butter, two-thirds of the cheddar cheese, and the Italian cheese and mix well. Add the ricotta and yogurt and mix well again. Add the remaining seasonings and mix thoroughly. Spread in the casserole dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven 15-20 minutes until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Buffalo Wings

Party food is NEVER paleo/primal approved. Am I right???! WRONG! Sure, if all your other friends who think you're crazy for eating the way you do are throwing a party, then ok, the dishes probably aren't going to be the best choices for sticking to a good food regimen. But if you throw your own party, then there's no reason why you can't have all the good stuff and make it without all the bad stuff. And there's no reason why you can't make it taste GREAT while you're at it! Looks like you can have your cake and eat it too... Ok, so maybe not cake.

Buffalo Wings
2 lbs chicken wings and/or drummettes*
Salt, pepper, ground coriander, garlic powder and paprika (to taste)
Coconut oil
¼ cup butter
Preferred hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking pan with foil. Rinse chicken in a colander and shake dry (just remove as much excess water as possible). Place chicken in baking pan. Season as desired with salt, pepper, ground coriander, garlic powder, and paprika. Generally, just a light sprinkle on each wing or leg. Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes until temp placed in thickest piece of chicken (not touching the bone) reads 160°F.

Heat a 1-1.5 inch layer of coconut oil in a deep skillet or wok on medium to medium high heat (I prefer the wok because you can get a deeper layer of oil without using as much). When hot but not smoking, place a single layer of chicken in the oil. BE CAREFUL: liquids from the chicken may cause the oil to splatter. Use a splatter guard or lid to avoid hot oil! The chicken should be a third to halfway submerged. Cook each side 3-5 minutes until crispy. Remove to plate and repeat with any additional chicken.

Melt butter in a medium dish with a tight lid. Add desired amount of hot sauce. Less for mild, more for hot, tons for super spicy (or even add in some sriracha or other spicier pepper or hot sauce!). Stir. Add in crispy chicken. Secure lid and toss thoroughly to coat. Open up and dig in!

*This is easily multiplied to serve as many people as you need. Just double, triple, quadruple, and so on!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jicama Paleo Custard Cups

I've always wanted to try jicama. So I picked some up at the store the other week and brought it home and it sat on the counter for a few days before I realized that I had no idea how to prep or cook it. I looked up some different recipes and found one for a jicama pie. It was custard-based so I figured it would be easily adaptable. And so here we go: skip the crust, substitute a paleo-based dairy-free custard with jicama incorporated. Luckily, it turned out delicious. Yes, it's got a little bit of sugar in it (in this case, I used coconut sugar). But with all the protein from the eggs and the good healthy fat from the coconut, I figured a little bit of sugar wouldn't hurt for a nice little dessert or a splurge.

Jicama Paleo Custard Cups
1 medium-large jicama
½ cup sherry
½ cup water
2 cups canned coconut milk (full fat is a must!)
¼ cup coconut sugar or honey (or less depending on sweetness preference)
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and shred the jicama (a food processor is perfect for shredding). In a medium saucepan, combine the jicama, sherry, and water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 40-45 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. Stir and drain, then set aside.

In a small saucepan, warm the coconut milk gently. Do not boil or scald or allow to get overly hot. While coconut milk is heating, scramble eggs in a medium bowl. Add coconut sugar (or desired sweetener), eggs, and vanilla extract. When thoroughly mixed, slowly add a little bit of the coconut milk (about 1-2 tbsp) while stirring constantly. Continue adding small amounts of coconut milk to the dish while stirring continuously until all the milk is incorporated. It's important to take your time and do this slowly, allowing the egg mixture to heat gently so that the egg mixture doesn't curdle. When thoroughly combined, add in the slightly cooled jicama shreds.

Assemble custard cups into a large baking dish. Pour the custard mixture into the custard cups. Add hot water into the baking dish around the custard cups (avoid getting water in the custard!) until the cups are about halfway submerged. Place in the oven and cook for 50-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy warm or refrigerate and allow to cool for a cold custard. I prefer it cold, but both ways are equally good.