Savory Brussels Sprouts

Ok, so this was stupid easy.  Again we were working to clean out the contents of our freezer, and I have been working hard to convince Heather that Brussels sprouts are actually delicious.  Mom’s cooking turned the corner for her, but unfortunately we don’t have bacon and butter on our side to coat them with their fatty goodness.  
I wanted to do something to them other than halve them and roast them slightly, so I started digging through the cabinets… Nothing really seemed to work until, bam, it hit me.
Gram masala.  
1/8 tsp sprinkled over the whole thing, and mixed through with about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, and these things are delicious.  Next time I want to try coconut oil.  Ridiculously easy, but wow, will I be doing this again–probably with sliced carrots or beets as well.  

Spicy Scallops on Spinach

Tonight we decided to start to work toward emptying all of the frozen foods out of our freezer; it’s really out of control.  We picked up a large bag of frozen scallops at Costco last week, so tonight was a great night to experiment.  I looked around at new and old scallop recipes, but I really wanted to go in a different direction.  Here is how it went down.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 lb scallops (10-12 large)

I heated the garlic and red pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium-high heat in my cast iron skillet.  While I typically enjoy using the skillet, next time I’ll stick with a more traditional pan (the clean up was not a good time).

Once cooked down a bit, I added in the scallops.  Two minutes per side, and then took off to rest.

The smell was pretty great.  I was worried the garlic and spice from the pepper flakes would be too overwhelming, but fortunately it was just right for me.  A lingering heat in the mouth that slowly settled with water and time.  If you’re not a big fan of spice, I would recommend limiting it to 1/2 tsp.  I placed these over a bed of spinach, and dinner was served.  I’ll happily do this again with the rest of the scallops…just in a non-stick pan.

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Slow Cooker Chili

I’ll admit, I wasn’t very disciplined about taking pictures, so please forgive the lack of step-by-step photos. We used to always start our chili with our favorite chipotle salsa and a can of diced tomatoes (sometimes with green chilies, something “zesty” style, sometimes “fire roasted” style). We normally just emptied them into the crockpot, and then got to work on the rest of the ingredients. 
Unfortunately, our favorite salsa and the diced tomatoes are not Whole30-friendly. 

So, instead, I chose to roast my own chopped tomatoes (…perhaps I should have diced them) and I made fresh salsa. Here’s more or less what I started with:

First, I roasted approximately 2 and 1/2 large tomatoes (they were actually left over from another recipe)…

While those were roasting, I turned on the crockpot to low and I worked on making a fresh salsa: 2-3 (small to medium sized) Roma tomatoes, some cilantro, fresh lime juice from half a lime, and 1 little red chili. It wasn’t my best salsa (in fact, my best and favorite to make is a pineapple-mango salsa, but that’s for another day). I had forgotten I’d need to make salsa from scratch and wasn’t prepared to do it; so that concoction was the best I could come up with given what I had in the house. I diced/blended it all really well in the Ninja.

Next, I sautéed 1 green bell pepper, 1 jalapeño and 1 onion (both of which received a quick pulse in our Ninja) with a splash of olive oil…

I put the homemade salsa and the onion-pepper mix into the crockpot. I didn’t put the roasted tomatoes in right away because I know they could overpower the overall dish, so I waited until the end to see how things turned out.

Then, I lightly browned about 2 lbs of ground beef with four good-sized cloves of garlic. We like are garlic, so the bigger the cloves the better. 😉 When that was ready, I strained out the excess grease and scooped the ground beef-garlic mix into the crockpot.

(It’s at this point that I would usually cook up 4 slices of bacon and 6 smallish sausages. But we haven’t found bacon or sausage that’s Whole30 friendly, so those didn’t go in this time.)

Brent then came over to help evaluate the situation. We agreed to add about half of the roasted tomatoes to the crock pot.

Next, he put in the spices. I almost always make the chili, but he always puts in the spices for me 🙂 Here’s what we used:

  • 1 tbsp chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder.

We gave it a good stir and then let the crockpot sit overnight on low.

Curry Dill Tilapia Filets

Tonight’s dinner was a really quick and easy preparation of tilapia and asparagus.  It was a long day and we just wanted something thrown together that would be as hands-off as possible.  This is what we came up with:

  • 4 tilapia filets 
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp fresh torn dill
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
How to:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350ºF
  • Melt ghee in a small bowl and add in curry, dill, and garlic powder.
  • Place tilapia on stick-free baking sheet.
  • Paint tilapia with ghee mixture.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until it easily flakes with a fork.
All you need for the asparagus is to blanch it in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to cold water.  We had dinner made in about 30 minutes total and might even have some leftovers for tomorrow.  Just watch out for bones; we only found a few, but it could have been bad if we weren’t expecting it.

Naturally Fermented Spicy Dill Pickles

Taking a point from Mark over at Mark’s Daily Apple, I decided to try my hand at making my own naturally fermented pickles.  I tried the recipe he mentioned but then also tried to take my own spin on it.  Here’s my recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 halved jalapeño stuffed olives (Santa Barbara Olive Company)
  • 5 small cucumbers (ends cut)
  • 5 sprigs of dill
I added in the garlic, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, jalapeño stuffed olives, and dill into the jar.  Then I added in the pickles and salt water.  Definitely put at least halved pieces of the cucumber above the whole cucumbers you put in, as it keeps them all submerged in the brine.
After 5 days, the brine got quite cloudy, so I decided to finally give them a shot.  The standard recipe actually seemed to spoil or something–they were violently salty and not so exciting.  My spin was nice and spicy without being too extreme.  Also, it still had a great crunch.  They’ll only keep for a week at most, so I look forward to eating them pretty constantly for the next few days.  
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