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!