Hosting a Perfectly Paleo Dinner Party!

As part of my commitment to clean eating this month, I decided to challenge myself to put together an entire party full of paleo eats that were fit for sharing with friends.  So … we offered up invites to a few close friends and hosted our first-ever “Perfectly Paleo Dinner Party”.   Since everyone attending was at some stage of a “WHOLE 30“, we started with “mocktails” (okay, okay, it was Perrier garnished with some colorful fruit)!

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Perfectly Paleo Dinner Party

Appetizers were antipasti skewers with a dipping oil seasoned with some good italian herbs.  So far, so good.  Followed by Fruity Kale Salad, Zucchini Fritters, Spaghetti Squash (seasoned with lemon juice and fresh basil, salt and pepper, and Balsamic Chicken Breasts.  The chicken is a recipe I found in “It Starts with Food“.  Great book!

I normally don’t do desserts – ESPECIALLY when I am in the midst of a “whole30”, but this being a very special occasion, I did make a batch of Paleo Zucchini Bread and a Paleo Apple-Berry Pie to share with guests.

I intended to take more pictures, but was enjoying myself so much that I forgot.  And actually, some of the food was just gone!  Vanished!   Adios!  But by all measures this was a success.  By the end of the evening we were nourished by time spent with great friends, sharing and laughter …  and “oh, yes” very satisfying and nutritious foods, too!  HOORAY for Perfectly Paleo dinner parties!!!

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Day One of a 30 Day Challenge …

My 4th “WHOLE 30”

On Friday of last week I began what I think is my 4th “WHOLE 30”.  If you are not familiar with it, I highly recommend it.  You will get any question answered that you can imagine on the new website, whole30.com.  This time around is a bit different for me because I have several friends and family joining in the challenge.  I will post some updates in another week or two – right now we are all in a sort of sugar detox phase, so I’ll be brief.  Here is what the squeaky-clean food of a day in the life of my 30 Day Challenge looks like:

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A Day of Clean Eating!

Breakfast:  Two Natural Pork Sausage Patties (no sugar/no nitrites), Two Cage free Organic Extra Large Brown Eggs (scrambled in my favorite iron skillet) with a side of organic broccoli-slaw that I pan fried along with the eggs.

Lunch: A steamy bowl of Hearty-Tasty-Paleo Chicken SOUP that I recently blogged about and some crunchy organic carrot sticks, dipped in organic guacamole that I found at Costco on my last trip.  YUM!

Dinner:  Citrus Chicken (the recipe is on page 266 of “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig) served with some organic bell pepper strips and organic broccoli-slaw that I dressed with olive oil and vinegar.  Delish … and very satisfying 🙂

Day one was easy!  Hope the next 29 are as well!!!

Let’s talk about a hearty-tasty-paleo SOUP!

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Hearty-Tasty-Paleo Chicken SOUP!

Would you believe me if I told you this soup was gluten free, dairy free, paleo AND Whole30 compliant?  I could add satisfying, delicious AND family-friendly.  Then, I would also tell you that it is pretty easy to make in the crock pot.  Okay, now I have your attention, right?

Here’s how easy it is.  Gather up the following ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (<$1 at Herb Thyme)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced ($1 at Herb Thyme)
  • 4 cloves of Organic Garlic – minced (<$1 at Produce Depot)
  • 2 Organic Carrots – shredded (<$1 at Costco)
  • 3 stalks Organic Celery – chopped ($1 at Produce Depot)
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Organic Crushed Red Pepper flakes to taste
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
  • 1 lb.  Organic Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – cut into 1/2 inch strips ($8 at Strack and Van Til)
  • 28 oz  jar Organic Tomatoes ($3 at Herb Thyme)
  • 10 oz can Ro*Tel Original Tomatoes ($1 at Strack and Van Til)
  • 32 ounces Organic Chicken Broth ($3 at Herb Thyme)

Heat your crockpot/slow cooker to high with olive oil and onions  place a dash of olive oil and cook until  translucent.  Add garlic, sea salt and pepper and pepper flakes.  Cook until soft, then add all of your remaining ingredients. Cover and let cook on low for 2-3 hrs.

Once the chicken is fully cooked remove the chicken to a cutting board and use 2 forks to pull chicken into shreds.  Place chicken back in pot and you are ready to serve.

Garnish

  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped fine (<$1 at Produce Depot)
  • 1 Organic Avocado – peeled, pitted and chopped ($2 at Strack and Van Til)

Top with avocado slices and fresh cilantro.  For extra flavor, squeeze some lime juice or melt ghee on top if you like 🙂  Serve hot and steamy and ENJOY!

Serve 8 people at under $3 per serving.

 

Oh – here is what the ingredients look like:

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Nourished in Friendship … and Paleo Dilled Chicken Soup!

Well, I have been somewhat distracted from my blog recently with several gatherings involving old friends.  First a road trip to visit a dear friend from college that I had not visited with for close to 2 years … and most recently a weekend gathering with a number of friends from my early high school years.  Being with these dear friends took me to a place where I felt quite nourished in their love and friendship.  Of course, we ate lots of nourishing food, too!  I was reminded of times when life was … shall we say … simpler?  easier?  more carefree?  just not so complicated?  Yes.  All of those things!

Well, now I am back.  Seeking more nourishment from good food.  And, I am back at the computer 🙂

This week’s recipes are pretty simple.  And reminiscent of the comfort foods that were not so complicated!

My first entry was inspired by a recipe that was found at primalplate.com

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Dilled Chicken Soup

  • 2 Organic boneless chicken breast halves (@$4 from Costco – Coleman brand)
  • 4 Cups Organic Chicken Stock (@ $5 from Costco)
  • 1/2 Large Organic onion – Diced (@$1 from Meijer)
  • 1 Cup Organic Celery – Sliced (@ $1 from Meijer)
  • 1 Cup Organic Carrots – Sliced  (@ $1 from Costco)
  • 3 Tablespoons Organic Dill Weed
  • 2 teaspoons Organic Garlic Granules
  • Black Pepper to taste

Rinse chicken breast, dice into bite size pieces and place in a large soup pot with chicken stock, onion and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Add celery and carrots to the soup * and more stock if needed *, cover and continue cooking for one hour.

It’s the ultimate comfort on a chilly evening –  Enjoy!

Serve 4 people at approx $3 per serving.

Organic and Paleo Dinners for the week

This week I began preparing several dishes to share with family and friends.  

Hope you’ll find the photos, notes, recipes and links helpful:

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Cinnamon Pork Chops, Acorn Squash and Green Beans

Organic Cinnamon Pork Chops – with Apples and Onions 

Inspired by PALEOMG.com

  • 2 Organic Boneless Pork Chops (@ $4 from Strack & Van ‘Til – fresh meat department)
  • 1 Organic Apple, sliced (@$1 from Produce Depot)
  • 1/2 Organic Yellow Onion, sliced (@$1 from Produce Depot)
  • 2 T Organic Coconut Oil (<$1 from Costco)
  • 1 T Pure Raw Honey
  • 1 t Organic Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Dry Mustard Powder

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Using a medium sized skillet on medium heat, saute apples and onions in coconut oil until just soft.  Toss with honey and 1/2 t. cinnamon and continue to cook until the mixture begins to caramelize.  Remove the apples and onions to a small casserole dish or 9″ pie pan.  Season the pork chops with salt, pepper, remaining cinnamon and mustard powder.  Using the same skillet, sear pork chops on both sides (3 minutes per side) and place on top of the onions and apples in your casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 20 minutes until internal temp reaches 145 degrees.

Serves 2 at under $4 per serving

Baked Acorn Squash and Green Beans with Shallots

Inspired by Practical Paleo

  • 1/2 Organic Acorn Squash (@ $1 from Produce Depot)
  • 1 t Coconut Mana (<$1 from Herb Thyme)
  • 1 t Ghee (<$1 from Amazon)
  • 1 T Organic Raisins (<$1 from Meijer)
  • 1 T Slivered Almonds (<$1 from Produce Depot)
  • Pinch Organic Cinnamon
  • Pinch Sea Salt

Preheat your oven to 375 F.  Slice Squash down the middle lengthwise, remove seeds, clean and place it face down in an oven-safe baking dish.  Bake approx. 30 minutes until it is fork-tender.  Turn it cut-side-up and fill the cavity with coconut mana, ghee, raisins, almonds and seasoning.  Cook an additional 15 minutes

Serves 2 at under $1 per serving

Fresh Green beans and organic leeks (sliced) were sauteed over medium heat with ghee, shallots and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Serves 2 at under $1 per serving
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Caprese Chicken with Bacon and Asparagus

Paleo Caprese Chicken with Bacon – Side of Grilled Asparagus

Inspired by foodonthetable.com

  •  4 slices Coleman Natural – Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon  (@$2 from Costco)
  • 2 Organic boneless chicken breast halves (@$4 from Costco – Coleman brand)
  • 2 Campari Tomatoes, sliced (@$3 from Produce Depot)
  • 6 Organic Basil Leaves  (@$1 from Produce Depot)
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste;

Preheat your oven to 400 F.  Place the bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven to cook for about 10 minutes so they are still soft.  Remove from the oven and pat the slices dry with paper towels.  Rub the chicken breast halves in the rendered bacon fat, season them with salt and pepper to taste and place them in a baking dish.  Place the basil leaves and tomato slices on top of the breast halves and place the partially cooked bacon slices over.  Place in the oven to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked.

Serves 2 at approx. $5 per serving

Fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed was grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper – an a touch of organic brown mustard.

Serves 2 at under $2 per serving