What better way is there to welcome Fall then cooking up a hearty meal with pork chops and apples! It's a winning combination and with premium quality meat it just gets loads of extra points for flavor and tenderness of the meat!
I've recently got my first Butcher Box and I'm totally devoted to telling all about it to my friends and followers. Having a busy life is no longer an excuse for not getting high quality meat! With the Butcher Box subscription service you can get a box of 100% grass-fed, grass finished beef, heritage breed pork and free range organic chicken delivered to your doorstep every month or every other month, whatever option fits your family the best.
You can personalize your box and mix your favorite cuts of meat in order to fit it to your household and you can always choose some add on's like no-sugar bacon, which has been a staple at our house since I've done my first whole 30 program. I truly recommend this because with our busy schedule it can be hard to have the time to go to the butcher and buy great quality cuts of meat - with this service you are sure to get what you order and, if you're a meal planner like me, it just makes our life so much easier!
You know what cuts of meat you're getting so you can plan ahead and write down your meals for the week; apart from that you'll just need to make your produce list and make a run to the farmers market or your local supermarket to get the rest of your ingredients for the week's menu.
It'll come out at approximately $6/serving which is a great value for such high quality meat and, as you can see in my video that I'm sharing in the link below, the steaks are huge as are the pork chops, so you'll get a few meals out of those cuts! Also, the chicken breast comes in 3 pre-portioned packs so you can use them independently and cook them on your meal prep in different ways so you can have different options to choose from during the week. You can cook up some chicken soup with one of the packages and grill some strips for the week's lunches and lunchboxes and still be left with a package left!
On my first order, that I shared in this video, I got:
If you're interested in giving it a try and signing up to get to know a bit more about Butcher Box, just click here and, if you subscribe the service until the end of September, through my link, you'll get FREE ground beef for life!
How cool is that?
With this offer you'll get, with each box that gets delivered at your house, 2 lbs of 100% grass-fed and grass-finished ground beef for free! Just imagine the variety of meals you can cook up with ground beef, specially in the colder months: soups, chili, meatloaf, lasagna...so many options! So, don't waste a minute and click on the link above to get your offer but don't forget that you only have until September 30th to do it!
As soon as you get your first box you can try this recipe for yourself! Grab your Butcher Box now and start meal planning for the next month!
4 boneless pork chops (I used the "Butcher Box" heritage breed pork chops)
4 big white potatoes
1 small butternut squash (about 1+1/2 cup)
1 lbs Brussels sprouts
3 large Gala apples
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
a few sage leaves for the pork
1 - Preheat the oven at 400 F.
2 - Prepare the vegetables to use them cover the baking sheet. Wash the potatoes and cut them in chunks, peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cute it in small pieces. Wash the Brussels sprouts , remove any damaged leaves and cut them in half or in quarters if they're too large. Try to have all the vegetables in same size pieces so they'll cook evenly.
3 - Place all the vegetables in a big mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and fresh thyme. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and mix everything in order to get a bit of it in all the vegetables; if necessary add some more. Add half of the paprika and give everything a last toss before transferring the vegetables to the baking sheet, previously brushed with olive oil.
4 - Wash the apples and cut them in fourths. Take out the core and seeds and slice them, keeping them in a bowl of water with lemon juice until placing them on the baking sheet, so they won't oxidize and turn brown. When the vegetables are on the baking sheet place the apple slices around the tray and between the vegetables, after removing them from the lemon water.
5 - Place the pork chops in a glass container or bowl and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and thyme leaves. Add a bit of olive oil and the juice of 2 clementines and 1/2 lemon.
6 - Place the meat over the vegetables and cover it with any remaining juice. This will help the pork chops to cook without making them dry and keeping them juicy and with a lemon/orange hint flavor. Place some sage leaves on top of the pork chops and place the baking sheet in the oven. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the meat is cooked.
7 - For plating just take a bit of everything and slice the pork chops in medium slices. the ones I used were big, so 1 was enough for 2 people. Get the vegetables on the bottom of the plate, cover with the pork chop and sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro for a hint of green. Use any remaining juices to drizzle over the meat.
This was the perfect recipe to welcome Fall of 2018! The roasted veggies, the flavorful and tender meat, the apples and the sage were a superb combination of warm and cozy flavors.
There's so much simplicity in sheet-pan meals that they really are one of my go-to's for busy schooldays - getting all the ingredients together and popping everything in the oven while everyone gets settled from school and sports activities is perfect!
No weeknight dinner stress and mommy gets a load of compliments on the healthy and hearty meals cooked for the whole family.
Just to give you a notion of the number of meals I got from this sheet pan dinner, it was enough for one meal for all of us, another for my lunch the next day and I still got three more individual servings out of it. All in all, 7 servings which was pretty good for the price that I payed for all the ingredients. That is one of the other reasons why I love sheet-pan dinners so much, they really stretch the food out!
Give it a try and let me know what you think of this recipe!
Happy Fall everybody!
I've been wanting to try the Virgin Bay Seafood Co. salmon burger since the moment I got it! With the gum surgeries recovery time it got hard to try new recipes with the products I had but now that I can eat everything again I'm getting to try some new and delicious recipes and sharing them with all of you once more!
I had two 1 lb packages of salmon meat to use and I decided to make salmon cakes.
A very simple and easy recipe that you can whip up with wholesome ingredients that only bring out the natural flavor of the salmon, which is the star of the dish. It was done as a Whole30 meal because I've become accustomed to using only natural foods and condiments - it really makes cooking such an easy and fun activity!
Just choose some tasty seasonings, add some fresh herbs and I assure you you'll have a pretty tasty and nutritious meal for yourself and for your family!
I cooked the cakes in some avocado oil on a ceramic pan and I got them with a nice golden crunchy crust! I first cooked the plain salmon cakes which I did for the kids, since they don't fancy peppers, and then I cooked the pepper salmon cakes which got so yummy with that brown and tasty outside coating!
This is the perfect recipe for a relaxed weekday dinner - you can prep everything ahead of time and then freeze the cakes/patties to have them on hand and cook them whenever you need to!
I used my Tupperware accessory that I bought when I was still living in Portugal. It's funny because I bought it to make homemade hamburgers but just used them once for that specific purpose!
Now that I remembered to pick it up for this salmon recipe I'll use it again for sure.
It is super practical and it allows me to freeze up to 5 individual portions; I can then take and cook portions as I go and leave the others in the freezer.
Convenience at its best!
As I've mentioned before, I did two variations of the salmon cakes: one plain (just with the salmon meat, almond flour and seasonings such as salt, pepper and garlic powder) and the other with peppers which turned out really flavorful and aromatic.
It's a very costumizable recipe too because you can really add any ingredient, seasoning or fresh herb you prefer!
In cooking these kind of dishes there are no rights or wrongs!
Just pick your flavors and start making your own salmon cakes recipe!
Also, I used a package of frozen rainbow peppers because I had it in the freezer but it's perfectly fine to use fresh peppers, just use whatever you've got available.
I always try to make sure that I have, at least, four different varieties of frozen vegetables in the freezer to make sure that I don't run out of veggie options. Some Whole30 habits remain forever and I consider them a plus!
2 lbs salmon meat (I used the Virgin Bay Seafood Co. which you can findhere)
juice of 1 lime
fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
6 Tbsp almond flour
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 small package of rainbow peppers
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp olive oil
Avocado oil to cook the salmon cakes (about 1 Tbsp should be enough)
1 - Start by defrosting the salmon meat and the pepper mix overnight in the fridge.
2 - Prepare the pepper mix for the pepper salmon cakes. Cook the sliced onion in a pan with olive oil and when it gets softened add the strained rainbow peppers trying to remove as much of the water as possible to prevent the mix to become soggy in the pan. I did this by pressing the peppers though a mesh sieve and pressing a bit to remove all the excess liquid. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and let the vegetables cook for about 10-15 minutes or until they start to get a brownish color which means that their flavor is really coming out and they're ready.
3 - Reserve the pepper mix on a plate and let it cool to start making the salmon cakes.
4 - Place the salmon meat on a bowl and season with salt, garlic powder and the freshly chopped herbs. Separate into two smaller bowls, one for the plain cakes and one for the pepper ones.
5 - Add 3 Tbsp of almond flour to the salmon meat and form balls using your hands. If you see that the mix is too wet add a bit more of almond flour until you can form the balls and they retain the shape. Place them on a plate and flatten them a bit. Reserve.
6 - Place the pepper mix on a chopping board and using a sharp knife cut them pretty finely or at your desired size. Don't over chop to prevent excess liquid. Add the peppers and the lime juice to the salmon meat and add 3 Tbsp of almond flour adjusting this amount, if needed. I also added some extra red pepper flakes to this ones because I just love a bit of heat on my salmon!
7 - First I filled my Tupperware containers with these salmon mix and pressed down on each compartment to make sure that I would have well defined patties. I used a small spoon to make sure that I was able to press down every single bit of salmon mix. With the rest of the salmon mix I formed small balls and did exactly like I had done with the plain salmon patties.
After having these perfectly shaped and pressed down I pilled them up on top of each other and finished with the plastic lid to seal them up. Ready for the freezer!
8 - To cook the salmon cakes heat up some olive oil in a non-stick pan and place them on medium heat until they're cooked on one side which takes about 3 minutes and flip them over to finish cooking on the other side. The cooking time will also depend on the thickness of the patties, the thinner they are the faster they'll cook up. Don't overfill the pan to make sure that the temperature stays pretty constant.
9 - Remove the cooked salmon cakes from the pan, add some more olive oil, if needed, and continue cooking all your salmon cakes.
10 - Serve the salmon cakes with grilled veggies or a fresh and colorful salad and enjoy! A bit of lime juice on top is also perfect for a final touch of freshness.
This delicious meal pictured below was amazingly refreshing on a warm spring day! Coleslaw with roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, roasted garlic sauerkraut and an amazing and quite spicy pepper salmon cake!
And you know what the best part of all this is?
I have four more delicious salmon cakes in the freezer for a lazy day when I don't feel like cooking but still want to have a healthy and satisfying meal.
What about you? Do you like salmon?
What are your favorite ways to cook it up and serve it at your house?
At our house we love fish and seafood and try to have it, at least, 2 times a week. When we were living back in Portugal we had a much more fish based diet - fish is very abundant and cheaper also, which allows people to have a higher access to fish. We used to have mainly cold water fish, from the Atlantic because that's what we get over there. A lot of grilled salmon, steamed whitening, grilled sword fish and sardines, in the summer time!
When we moved to the US I really got hit with the reality that we had to cut down, maybe by half, the weekly fish based meals due to the higher buying price. There are cheaper varieties and I used to buy them once in a while but now that my perception of food has changed I really try to make good food choices, like buying wild-caught fish instead of farmed varieties. The quality of the food we eat really impacts our health and well being and, if making better choices gets us having a couple of great quality fish meals a week that's perfectly fine by me.
I'm still looking for a local fish market to buy sustainable and wild-caught fish so if anyone from around Scotch Plains has a regular place where they use to go and recommend, please send me a message or write down a comment on this blog post so I can check the place out and maybe even feature it on the blog, on the "local businesses" section.
For this recipe I used the Virgin Bay Sea Food Co. wild-caught rock fish and it worked out perfectly!
A firm white fish, sturdy enough to incorporate in a stew without loosing shape or flavor. This kind of dish really is a hearty and healthy meal - incorporating potatoes and peppers allows for you to have the vegetables along with the meal and cooking everything in just one pot makes it a winner for any home cook, right?
Keeping things simple during the week is my most precious motto for weekday meals.
Don't complicate and use simple but great quality ingredients and you'll do just fine and won't have to stress about cooking that much. I cooked the stew in a big pot and used 4 big portions of rock-fish which was enough for 8 individual servings.
1 big sweet onion, diced
3 grated garlic cloves
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
2 carrots, peeled finely chopped
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 small orange bell pepper, washed and diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste *
2 Tbsp parsley
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder *
1/2 fennel bulb, washed and thinly sliced
juice of half a lemon
4 large rock fish fillets
1 lb frozen wild-caught mussels *
2 large white potatoes, washed and diced in big chunks
2 sweet potatoes, peeled, washed and diced in big chunks
bone broth * to cover the vegetables (I used about 4 cups)
Dill to season at your discretion
* To make this dish Whole30 complain just make sure that this ingredients are compliant by reading the ingredient list on the package/can.
1 - In a big pot add the olive oil and when it gets to a good temperature add the onion and the garlic to cook them lightly. Add the bell pepper, the carrots and the celery and give it a good mix to combine all the vegetables. Let this cook in medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables get soft.
2 - Add the washed and diced tomatoes, the tomato paste, the bone broth and the thinly sliced fennel. Give this a stir and add the seasonings and the herbs - salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes (I used 1 tsp), the bay leaves and the freshly chopped parsley. Let this cook in slow heat and with a lid on, for about 25 minutes.
3 - Add the chopped potatoes and cook for an additional 8 minutes and after that add the fish cut up in big chunks and the mussels. Season the fish with some salt and lemon juice.
4 - Cook with a tightly closed lid to get the fish cooked, around 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chopped dill on top of the stew.
5 - Let the stew cool down a bit for a couple of minutes without the lid (so it doesn't overcook!) and serve it in individual soup plates with some of the broth.
If you you're not doing a Whole30 round feel free to have a sliced baguette to go with the soup, it'll go amazingly with the broth!
This is the absolute warm weather comfort food for me! I love salads and cold food too but a fish stew will always get to me! The combination of flavors is just mouth watering and, honestly, I can not wait to cook a batch of this scrumptious stew again!
As a plus, my kids loved it which makes it even better since cooking two different meals, one for us and one for the kids, was never an option around here!
Give this amazing meal a try and let me know how it went and if the whole family enjoyed it as much as I did!
Since wrapping up my first Whole30 I found out several things about the effect that different foods have on me. I found out, among other things, that gluten IS the trigger to my migraines: I used to have 2-3 each week and I'm down to one a month which is amazing! This discovery allowed me to change the way I eat in order to control something that was really disturbing and disruptive to my daily life.
Coincidentally, I was contacted by Cappello's brand to whip up some recipes with their gluten-free products! They offer a great range of product, from pizza to pasta and cookie dough. Guess I won't be missing anything on my gluten-free diet! I decided to start with the gluten-free gnocchi because I've always wanted to try them but ended up never doing it. I can only say one thing: PERFECT!
This little golden clouds of puffiness were an absolute delightful meal, paired with roasted veggies that have now a precious place in my daily food routine. Getting them cooked and then crispy by sauteing them in garlic ghee was the perfect choice and resulted in a crunchy outside and a soft and creamy inside - I'm serious, you must try these gnocchi!
Ingredients (3 servings):
1 package of Capello’s gluten-free gnocchi
1 acorn squash
½ butternut squash
4 leaves of Lacinato kale
15 fresh wild-caught shrimp
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp new bae seasoning (I used the Primal Palate one)
1 tbsp garlic ghee (I used the 4th and Heart one)
1 – The first thing to do is to start on roasting the veggies. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2 - Wash the acorn squash and cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut thin slices. Peel the butternut squash and dice it finely.
3 – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray some olive oil on it and place the veggies on top. Season with a bit more olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and the fresh thyme leaves. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the veggies are cooked (time may vary according to the oven). Midway through the cooking time toss the veggies around so they get evenly cooked on both sides.
4 – Now, start working on those beautiful gnocchi. Get a big pan, fill it with filtered water and take it to a boil. When the water is boiling add the gnocchi and keep moving them around every 30 seconds or so, just like recommended in the package. When the gnocchi float that’s when you know they’re cooked through!
5 – Melt the garlic ghee on a pan and add the strained gnocchi. Let them brown and get the taste from the garlic ghee which is amazing! This process takes about 6-8 minutes but make sure to keep shaking the gnocchi around the pan, so they get brown all over – this step will give a wonderful crispiness that goes amazingly well with the creaminess of the inside of the gnocchi!
6 – When the gnocchi are golden remove them from the pan and cook the shredded kale for about 4 minutes, just enough time to get it flavored but not soggy. Add the gnocchi back to the pan. Turn the heat off.
7 – The last thing to do is to cook the shrimp. Season them with new bae seasoning and just grilled them on a bit of olive oil for just a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and reserve to drain any liquid that may come off.
8 – Assemble your dish: add the butternut squash to the pan where you have the gnocchi with the kale and plate each serving on a single serve dish. Add the acorn squash and the shrimp and that’s it! A feast for the yes and for the taste buds!
I can't wait to try the other products by this brand! As I'm writing this blog post I'm having another 6 weeks of soft food diet due to a second gum surgery that I had done. It's always boring to be limited to soups, smoothies, scrambled eggs, mashed banana, apple sauce and steamed fish but...it's necessary! Can't wait too get back to solid food and start creating delicious meals again!
In the meantime I have some tasty suggestions that I've cooked these past few weeks and that I want to share with all of you. Stay tuned for another great recipe on Thursday!
Wow! A lot has been happening around here and, unfortunately, I haven't had the time to update the blog as I had liked to but...that's life. Sometimes we get everything under control and sometimes we just have to roll with what we've got! I've been cooking up some delicious recipes which have made up for the endless weeks of soft food diet that I had to go through, after my gum surgery!
How I've missed REAL food!
To be able to chew and to savor, really savor, every bite of a perfectly balanced dish is amazing! I've finished my Whole30 experience and I've got a lot of conclusions to draw from it. I'll be writing down all my findings on a future blog post which, I hope, will be helpful to anyone interested in getting to know a little bit more about their body and its reaction to the different kids of foods. I will say this: I expect to keep my way of eating very similar to what I did for these past couple of months because it just showed me that it is exactly what I need to do to feel good about myself and about my body. Everything tastes grate, I feel amazing and, honestly, I don't miss much. The only thing I do miss, and I'll have it occasional, is a cup of oatmeal with fresh fruit, nuts and honey or a dairy-free yogurt (yes, I figured out that dairy is a major source of inflammation!) . As for the rest, when I feel like having it I will but, right now I'm feeling great and ready to enjoy food freedom!
1 large sweet onion
3 garlic cloves
5 slices of no-sugar bacon (I used the Applegate brand)
2 celery stems
1 bunch of spinach (about 100g)
1 lbs ground meat (I used "Verde Farms" 100% grass-fed beef)
3 plum tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup homemade chicken broth (it's perfectly fine to use store bought, as long as you pay attention to the ingredients, stray away from artificial ingredients, if possible)
1 Tbsp red pepper chilli flakes
Basil and parsley (I always love fresh herbs and I can keep track of the amounts! I took a picture in the "preparation"section so you can have an idea of how much I used)
3 large sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp full fat coconut cream
1 tsp ghee
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 - Prep your veggies so that when you start cooking everything is ready and set to go into the pot. Peel the onion, garlic cloves, celery stems and carrots. Dice the onion and the carrots and mince the garlic.
2 - Wash the spinach thoroughly, to make sure that they get a proper rinse.
3 - Peel the tomatoes and dice them, reserving any and all juice that may come out. That's all needed to flavor up the meat sauce!
4 - Get the sweet potato mash going: peel and cut the sweet potatoes and steam them on the Instant Pot for about 10 minutes. While that is going start making the meat sauce.
5 - I love to cook on my Dutch oven because, in dishes like this, it deepens the flavors and keeps the temperature of the food up for a longer period of time which always adds up on the flavor scale! Dice the bacon slices and cook them in the pan with no other grease except its own! This is a great way to get a more flavorful dish - bacon!!!
6 - After the bacon is cooked, add the ground meat and let it cook until it changes color, maybe about 6-8 minutes. After that time, remove the meat and bacon mixture from the pan and reserve them. Saute the onion and the minced garlic in some olive oil. Let that cook up for a couple of minutes and add the carrots, the celery and the chopped up tomatoes. Give the sauce a big stir and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
7 - Add the tomato paste, the chicken broth and the freshly chopped herbs - parsley and basil. Let the meat sauce simmer for about 40 minutes on low. On the last 5 minutes add the spinach and let them cook on those last minutes.
8 - By then, the sweet potatoes have steamed and it's time to move on to the mash. Remove the sweet potatoes from the Instant Pot and transfer them to a pan. Add the ghee, the coconut milk and mash, very carefully, with a potato masher. Take enough time to make it smooth because the texture will be crucial for the final texture of the dish. When everything is well incorporated and smooth, turn off the heat and reserve.
9 - Assembly time! When you have your meat sauce and sweet potato mash ready it's time to get this dish ready! I used big souffle dishes which worked out perfectly for this kind of pie! The size is perfect and the shape is also great for this kind of dish with sauce. First, place the meat sauce in the bottom of the souffle dishes.
10 - Cover the meat with a thick layer of sweet potato mash and, if you feel like it, decorate it! I just did a simple pattern with a fork, to make a texture like effect.
11- Add some coconut flakes on top of the mashed potatoes and heat each serving in the oven, at 450 F for about 15 minutes, just enough time to get some crunchiness on the coconut flakes and some browning on the mash.
This is a great tasting dish and, if you want to make the most of your time, you can make a double batch and freeze individual size portions to save for those hectic days when dinner time suddenly shows up unannounced!
I hope you f=give this recipe a try because it really is a delicious meal with wholesome ingredients that will please the whole family. If you do try it let me know how it turned out!
If you follow my Instagram account you know that a lot has happened between my last blog post and now!
I had laser gum surgery done on my left side gums (upper and lower) which has limited my meal options a lot in these last 4 weeks. I was on a restricted soft food diet until last week, when I got the OK from my periodontist to get on with "regular" food, but only chewing on the right side of my mouth. Well, I'll take an upgrade from a bad situation any chance I get and this was the perfect opportunity to start trying out new recipes at home and share them on the blog, again!
At the same time, I'm still on my Whole30 journey and I'm now on the reintroduction phase. I've tried dairy, legumes and non-gluten grains and, as soon as I finish that phase, I'll write everything down on a detailed blog post with all my conclusions including if I got to find out about the foods that trigger my migraines which was, after all, the reason to start the whole process!
The recipe I'm sharing today was the last one I got to cook before I got my surgery. As some of you know I got some amazing wild caught Alaskan fish from Virgin Bay Seafood Co. and I've been thinking about it all through this period when I couldn't eat proper food, as I call it! I chose some amazing halibut portions and I cooked them in the oven with some rainbow carrots and broccoli...what can I say? When you have prime ingredients the best thing to do is keep it simple and let the fish shine on its own...and did it shine!
The texture of the halibut was firm and the taste was surprisingly fresh and delicate. I didn't want to overpower it with other flavors and it turned out perfect. If you get a chance, take a look at the company's website and check out the offers in terms of package so you can get your hands on some marvelous wild caught fish from Alaska. I can't wait to try their salmon!
One thing is certain: there really is a huge difference in taste and texture between farmed fish and wild caught fish. Of course the price you pay to get it is higher, as it should, because the superior quality has costs and they are really well known by all of us. The real question is: would you rather pay more for healthier and tastier fish or for healthcare and medicines when the quality of what you eat shows up in some sick and unpleasant way? I choose healthy for me and for my family and I've been trying to improve our food choices in order to improve our health and general well being as well as paying attention to sustainable options that lower the impact that we have on our planet. It is ours to keep safe and protected.
1 - Preheat the oven on 400 F. Peel the onion and slice it in thick slices. Saute them in olive oil and add the garlic and the bay leaf. Season with the jerk seasoning and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to get brownish. Arrange the onion on the bottom of the baking sheet, in the center so it can be shielded from the heat of the oven, by the fish.
2 - Place the halibut portions in the center of the baking sheet and arrange the carrots around it. Wash the broccoli crown and cut off the florets to distribute them alongside the carrots. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on the vegetables and arrange the lemon slices by the fish. Sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley and bake it in the oven for about 25 minutes, keeping an eye on it.
3 - When the fish is ready turn off the oven and take the baking sheet out, not to overcook the fish. Boil the eggs and peel them to serve alongside with the fish and the vegetables.
This was a perfectly healthy and delicious dinner for the whole family!
The kids love fish and if you add eggs to it it's like "the best meal ever"! Isn't it rewarding to hear something like that from them when they're 7 and 9 years old? Teaching them how and what to eat has become another task as a mom and I'm taking it very personally; getting children on the path of healthy food it's an investment in their future health and teaching them things like reading ingredient labels and identifying unhealthy options really is looking out for them.
I'm proud to be an interested mind and I hope to influence my kids' decisions in terms of foods, for as long as they let me! I hope that by the time they start making their own decisions, eating outside, they'll have the tools and information to make the right choices and to practice a balanced diet with real food!
As I've previously mentioned on another blog post I got some amazing meat from Verde Farms and I got to try this delicious recipe with the Ribye steak, which was perfect for two people. It's my personal opinion that meat doesn't need too much side dishes, it just needs the perfect ones! I added spinach for the green effect and vitamins boost and paired some parboiled potatoes that I, subsequently, crisped up in a pan with olive oil and, garlic powder and fresh herbs.
I'm loving the flavor of the meat and I understand why some people find it different the first time they try it. Well...it is different! This meat comes from grass-fed animals that are 100% free range. These animals diet's are truly natural and there are no added hormones or antibiotics, EVER. That will, obviously, give the meat a totally different flavor and a whole lot more nutritional value and wholesomeness!
The Ribeye steak is perfect to grill, saute or broil. It is a flavorful and tender steak that comes from the cattle's lightly worked upper rib area. This meat is lower in fat than the grain-fed Ribeye and has the right amount of marbling to preserve juiciness.
As some of you may already know, I'm on a restricted soft food diet after having laser gum surgery on my left side of the mouth...that will be the case for the next 6 weeks or so and I can't tell you enough how I'm missing some really good beef! I have some marvelous steaks waiting for me int he freezer as soon as I get of the diet! Really can't wait!
I hope you try this recipe with a good quality steak because it really is the start of the dish!
1 - The first thing to do is get your roasted red pepper sauce cooking! Preheat the oven at 400 F.
2 - Wash the peppers and cut them in large chunks. Put them on a sheet-pan and add the roughly sliced onion, seasoning with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Drizzle about 1 Tbsp of olive oil over the vegetables and toss them around to make sure that everything is evenly coated.
3 - Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the onions start to turn brown. Turn off the oven and remove the baking tray from the heat. Let it rest until the peppers and onions have cooled down a bit.
4 - On a deep container dump the onions and peppers and add the bone broth. With an immersion blender work your way down to the bottom of the vegetables until everything is well blended and you have a creamy consistent sauce. If needed add a bit of water to help this process.
5 - Reserve the sauce in an air tight container and use with your protein of choice to get a flavorful meal - chicken, beef or fish, anyone of these will work perfectly! Broiled fish fillets with red pepper sauce are amazing! If you decide to freeze some of the sauce reserve in smaller containers that you can use along the way.
This is a very versatile and robust sauce that I like to keep around. If I have something for dinner or lunch that's just needing some little push I'll add a dollop of roasted red pepper sauce and, instantly, it chances the whole meal!
When I cooked my roasted red pepper sauce I decided to keep it all in the fridge because I wanted to use it in different meals. I used it with spaghetti squash and chicken, as you can see in the meal pictured bellow. It really made that squash flavor pop out!
After finishing my Whole30 journey I'll definitely use this sauce on some hearty pasta dish or just a simple one with the roasted red pepper sauce and cheese - a good quality cheese! But now...back to the Whole30!
As, I've mentioned, I had gotten some amazing steaks and I decided to have the rest of the pepper sauce with one of them! Delicious and crispy potatoes and some sauteed spinach did the rest of the work! So, for the rest of the recipe:
6 - Wash the potatoes, cut them in half and boil them in water with salt just until they're firm enough to feel like cooked through but not completely. Take them out of the water and saute them in a pan with some olive oil. Add some fresh thyme leaves and season with some more salt, pepper and garlic powder. Always taste before adding some more seasoning. Cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes, turning them once in a while, to make sure that they get a pretty brown color on both sides. Crispy and golden is the goal!
7 - In another pan heat up some olive oil and saute the spinach for about 5 minutes, very quickly, seasoning them with salt. I didn't add anything more because I do love to taste the real flavor of the spinach!
8 - After having all of the other ingredients ready is time to cook the steak! Heat up the grill on the stove top and brush the steak with avocado oil, salt and pepper. Put the steak on the hot grill and let it cook, approximately, 6 minutes on one side and 3 minutes on the other. This will depend on how you like your steak, I like mine rare and this was perfect! My husband likes it medium so I had to cook his share of the steak a bit longer!
9 - Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for about 8 minutes or so. Slice it thin and now it's time to assemble your platter: Arrange the potatoes on one side of a big platter and on the other side smear some roasted red pepper sauce (heated just before assembling the platter). Add the spinach and the sliced steak, as seen in the picture.
Some beautiful and delicious meat with the perfect pairings for an amazing meal! This really gives a whole different meaning to the "meat and potatoes"everyday meal, doesn't it? This is an amazing Whole30 meal that will be a part of our menu a couple of more times until the end of the program and even after that - it's super flavorful, healthy and a hearty option that comes without all the guilty of a heavy plate of food!
I ended up having my share of the steak in a salad, with romaine lettuce, Green goddess dressing and some kalamata olives for the healthy plated fat. Finished it up with some sweet seedless green grapes.
I hope some of you will give this recipe a try because it really is a must! Also, don't forget to check out the Verde Farms website and look up all the other products that the brand has available.
Today is day 37 of my first Whole30 round and it just isn't as amazing as usual because I'm on the soft food diet. I'll be posting about that subject until the end of the week and I'll put up a list of some simple options that can be helpful to anyone in the same situation. It's not really exciting but it is doable! I'm really missing my hearty and wholesome solid breakfasts!
Last week was Valentine's Day and my husband was away, all week, travelling for work. I don't mind him traveling but the fact is that I usually try to cook a special, and somewhat different meal, on this day. Even though I was alone this year I decided to go ahead and get creative, maintaining the Whole30 approach. I'm on day 24, today, and I feel great - excited, energized and calm!
Salads are always a great option for lunch ad I decided to play a bit with a very common theme - surf and turf! I had this amazing beef strip steak, from Verde Farms that I wanted to use and some leftover frozen shrimp, from my fish and seafood soup with coconut cream, which you can find here. Every time I think of that soup I make a personal note to cook it again...it's just so good!
So, I'll leave you a very colorful and scrumptious recipe for a romantic lunch or dinner, any day of the year. I really feel like you don't have to label things or foods - eat food that makes you happy and celebrate each day with a positive attitude and mindset!
The set of spices I use from Primal Palate is the one on the link below and I've been using them almost everyday in meat and fish dishes and to give my roasted veggies a different and exciting flavor! Try them yourself and let me know what dishes you cooked with them!
1 - Start by getting your shrimp defrosted by running them under cold water or, even better, get them on the fridge to defrost overnight.
2 - Get your veggies ready - wash and cut the romaine lettuce in big boat shaped leaves, wash the radish, cut out the ends and cut it in very thin slices.
3 - Wash the cherry tomatoes and reserve.
4 - Peel the mango and cut each half in very thin slices but not all the way through, so you can open them up like in the pictures!
5 - Heat some avocado oil in a pan to cook the plantain. Peel the plantain an cut in slices. Cook each slice about 2 minutes on each side. Reserve on a plate until the time to assemble the salad.
6 - Heat the grill on the stove top and spray with avocado oil. When the grill is hot put the steak on the grill and season the upper side with the Primal Palate New Bae Seasoning. When you see that the steak is halfway cooked turn it and cook the other side for about 3 minutes, seasoning the side that is already cooked with the New Bae Seasoning. Remove the steak from the grill onto a plate for the meat to rest.
7 - Peel the shrimps and cover then with the New Bae Seasoning. Cook them on the same grill where you cooked the steak, until pink just about 2 minutes on each side. Reserve and turn off the heat.
8 - Assemble your salad: lay the romaine lettuce leaf boats on a serving dish and add all the elements besides the steak. Try to make your plate beautiful because colorful and beautiful food makes everyone happy, you know that, right??
9 - Cut the steak in strips and lay them all over your salad.
10 - To make the orange dressing use a glass jar and fill it with all the ingredients: juice of a small orange, the olive oil and the apple cider vinegar. Season with a bit of the New Bae Seasonig to keep everything in the same flavor level. About a tsp is enough.
11 - Drizzle half the sauce over the salad and reserve the rest on the jar, closed and in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The orange vinaigrette was very light, just like I like it! I'm used to having simple and clean flavors on the plate and I usually don't use many sauces or dressings, mayo or ranch. I think that when you have such great quality food you must be able to enjoy its natural flavor and this, sure was, a super tasty and delicious meal. I'll be cooking it again when the weather starts to heat up and we can fire up the barbecue outside!
Isn't that a gorgeous and romantic dish?!
I wish my Valentine had been able to enjoy this amazing meal with me but he wasn't around and I had to eat it all by myself - lunch for two days is always good and, after all, someone has to make sacrifices, am I right??!!
I've been thinking about making a big batch of chili since I started the Whole30. No beans, of course! But, really, who needs beans when you can have a super amazing chili with veggies and great quality meat?? I got some Verde Farms meat products to try and I decided to test this chili recipe as the first experiment!
I used the 93% lean ground beef which comes in a 1 lbs vacuum sealed package. The Verde Farms products are all from grass-fed animals and 100% free range. There are no antibiotics used and no grow hormones either - just good natural food for the animals which results in superior quality beef. Verde Farms provides a complete line of grass-fed beef products to meet a range price-points and consumer preferences. Their grass-fed beef includes ready-to-cook grinds, patties, steaks, roasts, and marinades, and ready-to-eat options, including beef hot dogs and roast beef.
The company makes sure that the animals are raised as nature intended and seeks to democratize the consumption of high-quality, grass-fed beef worldwide. As the brand states in their own website: Verde Farms beef is better for you, the animal, the family farmer, and the planet.
The day I decided to cook this chili I, literally, opened the fridge and took out almost anything I though would go well with this beautiful ground meat. I think I overdid it a bit because I ended up not needing the eggplant which I'll use in another recipe further down the line! I used peppers, sweet potato (and the rest of one spiralized sweet potato, no waste allowed!), celery, onion, spices, bone broth and canned diced tomatoes.
The amount of chili I got from this recipe was enough to freeze two meals and for 3 additional meals, which was great for only a pound of meat! I always like to take advantage and make extra food whenever my husband has a travel week. I end up cooking the same quantity of food as if he was home but I'm able to freeze single portions to make up for those days when time is of essence! This is a very important thing to consider when I'm planning my meals for the week and my Sunday meal prep - in order to get the right quantity of each ingredient I have to figure out how much food or how much quantity of each meal I'm going to cook.
The bone broth I used, this time, was the Broth Masters beef and chicken bone broth and I'm really liking this one, both for cooking and for sipping. It's delicious on its own, really hot, straight from the stove top! The seasoning is perfect and I've been making an effort to save some because my son also loves it! It's amazing to see how, sometimes, kids love something that is naturally healthy like bone broth. I'm loving that he shares my passion for healthy food and I think we've come a long way since a time where he had too much sugar in his diet! Enough of that!
This chili recipe is super simple and the only advice I can give you to make it the most tasty chili ever is to use great quality meat, like the one I've used by Verde Farms. Use great quality protein in your meals to make them even more whole!
1 - I cooked my chili on the Instant Pot but it's perfectly fine if you cook it in a pan on the stove. Just adjust the cooking time. I turned the Instant Pot on the "Saute" mode and during the time it took to get at the right temperature I peeled and diced the onion. Add the olive oil and the onion to the pot and stir it for a bit. Cook the onion for about 3-4 minutes.
2 - Wash the peppers and the celery and peel the sweet potato. Dice the vegetables trying to have them all with the same size so they can cook evenly.
3 - Add the ground beef to the pot and cook it until it changes color and starts to get brownish. At this time season with salt, pepper and add the minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.
4 - Add all the vegetables and the canned diced tomatoes. Season, once more, with garlic powder, the New Bae Seasoning and the red chili flakes. Add the bone broth and the olives, stir the mix for a while and add about 2 Tbsp of freshly chopped parsley.
5 - Add the mustard greens and, if necessary, add some water just to cover all the ingredients.
6 - Cook the chili on the chili/stew mode and use the natural release method to let the pressure out. This will allow to deepen the flavor of the chili!
I loved the final result - a comforting meal loaded with veggies and a great tasting meat! Not only that but you have the protein, the potatoes, the veggies, the greens and also some plated fat (olives), all the components you need for a balanced Whole30 meal. It can't get easier than that!
I had this delicious chili twice and I also froze a couple of individual size containers for next week. I had the chili with a spoonful of guacamole and some more fresh herbs which is an addition that I make to almost all of my meals! I think herbs bring any dish to life and make any ingredient shine a bit brighter, don't you?
I guess I'll be having a couple of delicious dinners next week, without having the trouble of cooking anything at all! That's a perfect treat for me and I find myself thinking about how my eating habits will be after this Whole30...I'm loving every meal, every bite and, although I miss some things, I will sure use them with caution in the future because I'm seeing such great results with this program that I don't want to let go!
For now, I'll keep sharing delicious options that can help anyone looking for easy and simple meals for a healthy lifestyle!
Being Portuguese I was always used to eating a lot of fish! We have fish markets all over the place and the fish really is amazing and so much cheaper than here in the US - it just is! We have a fishing and canning tradition where sardines take a special place: I like them canned but not so much grilled...too much bones - however if you put them on a piece of bread after grilling them, the sauce that you get on that bread is so yummy and totally worth it! Sardines are usually eaten all through the summer months but we continue to eat other varieties of fish throughout the whole year.
Cod is another fish that Portuguese consume the most. In average, in 2007, each Portuguese consumed around 55 Kg of fish and they were also responsible for eating 20% of all the cod fished worldwide. So, we do love fish and we know how to cook it! There are hundreds of recipes for cod and, usually, the most humble and simple are the most tasty. When I was still in Portugal I had the honor to be invited to the Riberalves facility - it is the largest facility of cod processing in the world, handling over 30 thousand tons/year. I had a tour to the inside of the facility and saw all the steps through which the fish goes until it is frozen, packed and shipped. What an amazing experience! I also left with several pounds of cod for myself which was amazing!
I also had a truly rewarding experience! I already had a cooking blog when I was in Portugal and I won, not only the day visit to the facility but also a cooking workshop with the world renowned Portuguese chef José Avillez! I had the pleasure of cooking beside him and other bloggers who also won that opportunity and we had lunch over several amazing dishes cooked by us with the help of chef Avillez. It was a day to remember and I'll always cherish that memory. I've learned so much about cod, cooking skills and also had the privilege to have lunch and to get to know a bit of someone I never thought I'd come to meet.
Here I was, all happy and proud, in the company of the Michelin star chef!
This year, just last month chef Avillez was awarded the "Grand Prix de lÁrt de la Cuisine", in Paris. One of his restaurants, Belcanto in Lisbon was awarded two Michelin stars and it's worth of any food lovers visit. I could go on and on about the amazing Portuguese chefs but I'll get back to my recipe. After all, it was cooked by me and inspired by the traditional flavors of the Portuguese cuisine which inspire us all to keep looking for original and creative recipes with simple ingredients.
The tomato sauce used for this recipe was made ahead and it's a great staple to have in the fridge. It freezes very well so you can make a big batch of it and freeze it in mason jars to have at hand anytime you need them. You can use it to make pasta dishes (if you're not doing a Whole30 and, if you are, this sauce is amazing with zoodles!), vegetarian lasagna, seafood dishes or any recipe that would pair well with tomato, for sure! Making it ahead and letting it rest in the fridge for a couple of days gives it a deeper flavor that will enhance the natural flavor of any protein you use. It worked perfectly with the Northwest Pacific Cod I used, from Sea to Table.
Homemade tomato sauce -
This was the sauce after getting cooked but before being blended. My kitchen smelled amazing! This will be an essential I'll be prepping for the next Sunday meal preps, for sure!
Sorry about the messy stove top but it's what you get when you start cooking and meal prepping during half a Sunday. I'd rather have a messy stove top than a messy diet, I can tell you that! Cooking makes me happy, not so much the cleaning part...but you got to do what you got to do, right?!
After cooling down I poured it into a mason glass jar and kept it in the fridge alongside my other prepped meals and veggies for the week.
Now, on to the cod in homemade tomato sauce recipe!
1 - Start by peeling and slicing your onion. Cook it in live oil until translucent. Season with salt, pepper and bay leaf and then, when you feel the onion starts to caramelize and change color, turn the heat to low and keep cooking it until you see the perfect golden color. At that stage your onion is cooked. Add the olives to the onion and reserve.
2 - The second step is getting your homemade tomato sauce on a sauce pan and turn on the heat, on low, to start getting it warm. Microwaving it really isn't an option because you need to get the sauce warm enough to get all the flavors going! While this gets going you'll go on with the rest of the dish.
3 - Cook your cod portion in a pan. I used a non-stick pan and just brushed the cod itself with the olive oil, not the pan. To do this you must be sure that you have a pretty good pan. If in doubt add also a bit of olive oil to the pan so the fish won't stick. Let the cod cook for about 5 minutes on one side or until you can see it's halfway cooked. Turn the fish over and cook for another 4 minutes or until you can see that is perfectly cooked. When you have a pretty good quality cod I feel you don't need to season it - it's naturally salty and this way you can taste it perfectly for what it is. A perfectly cooked piece of amazing cod!
4 - Cook the baby broccoli in a bit of olive oil, just enough for it to wilt a bit. About 5 minutes is enough!
5 - Time to assemble your plate: start by placing the tomato sauce, that was heated in a pan, on the bottom on a deep dish. Add your cod portion and add the baby broccoli on the sides of the plate. Place the caramelized onion and olives on top of the cod or just place the olives like I did in the picture. Turned our pretty and super tasty!
I always like to have some finishing touches with fresh herbs and fresh dill was perfect to go with the cod and the tomato sauce. I think dill is an underrated herb and people usually associate it with salmon but it goes so well with other fish and also in salads! Give it a try and you'll be amazed at the freshness and fragrance of this beautiful herb!
If these pictures don't make you feel like running out the door to get some amazing cod I don't know what will! I'm an absolute fan of fish but having wild caught, sustainable fish is totally different from having farmed fish...most of the times there are very unpleasant additives to the fish food and there are also added colors! In a time when we're so concerned about buying organic when it comes to produce we should also be very concerned about the quality of the protein we use in our diet. It can certainly be cheaper but I consider it an investment in my family's future health, not a waste of money. Wast is when you feel like your money went with the wind and you didn't get anything back - with wild caught and sustainable options, like this one, you can have great quality protein and delicious meals with all the nutritional and health advantages.
For more information on the fish from Sea2Table head over to their website, here, and take a look at what they have to offer. At the moment they have several promotional offers going on, including the "Fish Lover's Box" with 14 full size servings of all seven of their seafood varieties, all for under $80! It's a great opportunity to try their fish and seafood and the prize is absolutely amazing!
With this box you'll get two servings of the following varieties:
There are also two other great options: the starter pack and the discovery pack with a smaller amount of fish to let you know some specific varieties. From there you can make the decision to try the other varieties or not, it's totally up to you!
As for me, it seems like I'll have to get one of those Fish Lover's Box...after all it's Valentine's Day!
Celebrate it with great food and healthy habits!