Stewed Beef and Homemade Broth

This was an experiment of mine, which was a little terrifying at first but turned out well in the end.  My attempts at saving money this month have been pretty great (a more flushed out post is to come once we’ve completed this Whole30), and I tried to go a step further by using beef neck bones.  

Here’s what I had to work with:
  • 6 beef neck bones (approx. 3 lbs)
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1/3 large red onion
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4 cups water
I added the celery, onion, and garlic to the slow cooker first, placed in the neck bones seasoned with the herbs above, and then filled the crock with water.  I then covered and turned the slow cooker to low.  At first, the smell was very sweet, and I was terrified I had just wasted all these ingredients, so I left it to cook overnight.
I planned on turning it off at 2:30 today (started at 6:00 the night before, for a total of 21 and one half hours) but we took longer running errands than expected.  It finally got turned off at 4:00, and thank goodness I waited as long as I did.  For a total of 22 hours, the meat is tender and juicy, and the broth is quite flavorful.  Heather and I agree that it will probably need some salt once we use it for cooking, but for now we have most of it in the freezer.
The meat will serve over lettuce or as a snack with scrambled eggs.  When all is said and done, this was not a bad way to spend a day and 8 dollars.  

Salmon Loaf

A few weeks ago we made these awesome Basil Salmon Burgers from Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet Cookbook, but we had so much basil-salmon mix that we chose to freeze some of it for a later date.

 
This weekend, I was feeling a bit creative and realized we could use the mix to make a salmon loaf. Why not, right? Toss in a little almond flour, some egg… shouldn’t be too hard.
I was so proud of myself–I thought I was being really quite clever and unique. Only later I called my mom to tell her about it, and she said “Oh! I have a great salmon loaf recipe from Grandma.” It deflated my spirits a tiny bit, but no matter. I was still excited to try it.
 
It really was quite easy!
 
I mixed together approx. 3 cups of the basil-salmon mixture, 1 egg and 1/4 cup of almond flour.
 

Then Brent suggested topping it with some of the shredded white sweet potato we had left over from other recipes, for the sake of texture.

 

I baked it at 350 for about 40 minutes.

 

It came out beautifully. It was not quite as salty as the basil-salmon burgers, and the crunch from the shredded sweet potato was really a nice touch.
 

Oh, and I forgot to mention: we didn’t bother greesing the pan. Salmon is such a fatty fish; if you’re starting with a salmon filet like we did (instead of from the can like my grandmother used to do), there should be plenty of natural oils to keep it from sticking.

Happy cooking!

Mardi Gras Cabbage Slaw

In order to celebrate the holiday (without the beer, beads, and other indulgences) I decided to bring some color and flare to an old faithful of mine.  I added a bit more than what is shown, and I’ll explain below:

  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage
  • 1/3 medium red onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

 Using our wonderful mandolin (that cut the living *#&$ out of my finger this weekend… which was totally my fault, but damn, it is sharp) I was able to quickly slice these down, and then add a 3-count of olive oil and rice vinegar.

To my chagrin, this actually turned out super colorful.  All the purple, red, and yellow reminded me of the Mardi Gras celebrations my coworkers were having all day.  So there you have it–Mardi Gras Cabbage Slaw.

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A new take on an old favorite: Lasagna

White Sweet Potato & Ground Beef Lasagna

Last week, Brent and I tried two recipes that tingled our tastebuds and left us eager to experiment.

First, Health-Bent’s Paleo Butternut Squash Lasagna. We used our homemade sausage and it was OMG delicious. And it was beautiful too. 🙂 We  gobbled it up in just a few meals, and it left us craving more. Thank you Health-Bent.com!!!

Second, we tried to follow a new spaghetti recipe, one that broke the typical Paleo mold of using spaghetti squash. Enter, PaSketti: Sweet Potato Spaghetti. Brent recently found the Paleo Parents’ website and I’ve been a little obsessed lately. 🙂 They are an inspiration. Seriously, a family with three growing boys successfully living a Paleo lifestyle?! I had wondered if it were possible, and it seems it is. I think I might actually be coming over the side of full-time Paleo for the rest of my life… maybe… almost. Brent is probably there; but I’m not totally sold on giving up cake forever just yet.

Anyways, back to the PaSketti: The white shredded sweet potato–the Giant was oddly out of regular sweet potatoes–looked a lot more like Spaetzle and got me really craving a good, ol’ fashioned Schnitzel with Spaetzle (yep, my family is German). So sometime this week or next, I might toy around with that idea.

Meanwhile, I made my own tomato sauce for the PaSketti, but I misjudged how much I needed and ultimately the entire dish turned out to be more like a brown-greyish mush. BUT IT WAS DELICIOUS. I mean, wow!  Salty, savory, beefy… and there was a slight gravy-like quality to it. Brent and I couldn’t get enough, and it was gone way faster than we expected… portion control? Sometimes we’re not so good at that, haha.

Fast forward to this past Saturday when we were making our weekly grocery list. The amazing flavors of the Health-Bent lasagna and Paleo Parents PaSketti still lingering in our memories. Brent had an idea: why not add shredded sweet potato to the lasagna? Then, we thought, why not just use the sweet potato instead of the butternut squash? Also, we were all out of our homemade sausage; but, lasagna often uses ground beef. We had plenty of that in the freezer. So, out it came.

Sunday, after completing our shopping on Saturday and having defrosted the ground beef (and some other things I’ll mention in another post) overnight, we dove into cooking.

To make the lasagna, we started with shredding the sweet potato with our crazy food processor. 
I also roasted a lot of tomatoes (12 to be exact–I had to do it in two batches) at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Borrowing from the PaSketti recipe, we sautéed our 2 pounds of ground beef with 1 medium onion, 3 celery stalks and four or five cloves of garlic. (Note: Looking back, we wish we’d added more; perhaps a little kick from red pepper flakes, extra garlic and onion, or even just some salt and pepper to this mix.)

After the tomatoes were roasted, I simmered them on medium-low to cook them down a little further. Brent added a healthy dose of “pizza seasoning” (a mix of oregano, garlic, crushed red pepper, etc.).

Meanwhile, we preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.

Once all the parts were ready, we began the layering process. Sauce, ground beef mix, shredded white sweet potato, repeat.

We finished it off with sauce on top. (We actually used all the ground beef mix and most of the sauce, but because we shredded three large sweet potatoes, we still have a lot of that left over.) We covered it with the corning wear’s glass top and placed it in the oven for 35 minutes.

Our first plates didn’t look to pretty, so I took a picture of the dish instead with our first pieces cut out. It’s not the most stable of layered lasagnas; and, again, it could have used some more spices. We like our food to bite back a little 😉 But for an experiment, I think it turned out rather well.

And if my word isn’t good enough for you, just know that we have plowed through almost this entire corning wear dish in less than 24 hours. There’s honestly only one large piece (or two small pieces… ha, right) left of this goodness.

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Spicy Sausage and Bell Pepper Egg Muffins

What can you do with a bunch of leftover homemade spicy sausage? Well, lots of things actually… and we’re still experimenting (more to come soon!). But the first thing that came to my mind was egg muffins…

I usually make 12-18 egg muffins at a time. Here are the ingredients for this batch:

10 – 12 large eggs
1/2 – 1 bell pepper, diced (I used red this time, but feel free to use green or yellow or any combination thereof that you like)
1/2 small yellow onion, diced (or two to three shallots–they’ll give out slightly different flavors, so choose whichever you like best)
1/2 – 1 cup of homemade spicy sausage
a pinch of salt
a dash of pepper
2 – 3 Tablespoons of olive oil (or enough to coat the muffin tin)
Oven pre-heated to 350 F

First, I fully cooked the sausage in a pan on the stove. Then, I mixed the cooked sausage and all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Next, I brushed each cup of the muffin tin (sides and bottom) with olive oil. Then, I used a ladle to fill the muffin tin with the egg mixture (I like to fill each cup in the tin 1/2- to 3/4-full). I baked them for approximately 20 minutes.

Ta-da!

Disclaimer: The egg muffins may shrink down a little bit once you remove them from the heat of the over. Don’t worry; this is normal. 😉

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