Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Hello everyone!!  Guess what guess what guess what?!  Mr. Rodgers and I…live in a new house!!  His mother has been living with us in our small 2 bedroom apartment for almost 3 years now!  But we finally found a place for super cheap, and it’s all ours!!  And guess what else?!?!?!  My kitchen is BEAUTIFUL!  Minus a little old lady wall paper and needing an updated stove…it is just gorgeous and I love it I love it I love it!!  I don’t have any pictures on me at the moment, but I can’t wait to share them with you!!

Anyways!!  Back to cooking…I just had to shout that from the rooftops first because I figured if anyone understood my “new kitchen glee,” it would be a bunch of food nerds like you!!

I’m pulling this from a little while back, because my life has been consumed with packing and unpacking and cleaning then starting the cycle over.   😉   Pumpkin Chicken Chili!  Yummm!  I’ve been noticing there are still lots of squash around in the stores…and you can get canned pumpkin pretty much any time!  So this recipe is pretty timeless!  This was so thick and warm and comforting!  And let’s just be honest, with the weather we have been having around here lately, we all need a little comfort.  I don’t know what it is like where you are, but we are in the glorious span of time when you check the weather on your phone and see the “feels like” section and think “Yaaaaay it feels like -22*.  Fuuuuuun.”  You know something is weird when you wake up one morning, see that it is 16* outside and think to yourself “oh wow that’s not bad!”  :I  I am a pretty positive person, so I will just keep fighting to have a good attitude about the cold.  It’s hard.  But recipes like this help.  Because they warm the insides, excite the taste buds, and make you forget your issues at least until you step outside your house again, hahah!

Ever so slightly adapted from the wonderful Caveman Feast, aka Abel James.

So here’s what you need:

  • 3 lb Chicken Breast, Cubed
  • 2 C Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 C Bell Peppers, I used red and yellow, Diced
  • 3 Jalapeños, Diced Small
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 C Chicken Stock (or more if you like it thinner)
  • 1 C White Wine
  • Lg Can Diced Tomatoes with Juice (28 oz)
  • 6 oz Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 C Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (Optional…I am trying to remember if I used it…I don’t think I did…but I’m sure it’s tasty!)
  • Coconut Oil or Grass Fed Butter for Cooking

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Prep all your veggies and cut your chicken!
  2. Cook your chicken and set aside.
  3. Heat your coconut oil or butter in a large soup pot.  Salute your onions until translucent.  Add bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add in chicken and stir together.
  5. Add stock, wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, and all spices (excluding cocoa) and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in pumpkin and cocoa powder and cook for about 5 more minutes, until everything is heated through.  Enjoy!

Peectures!!

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For ease while cooking, gather all your ingredients and prep your veggies first 🙂

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Cut your chicken breasts into bite size pieces

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Brown on al sides with grass fed butter or coconut oil.  Should mostly be cooked through.

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Melt coconut oil or butter in a large soup pot and saute your onions until translucent. Photo-5

Add bell peppers, jalapeños, and garlic…

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Stir together and cook an additional 5 minutes!

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Toss in your chicken and stir it all up…

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Add stock, wine, tomatoes, paste, and spices and simmer for about 20 minutes…

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Add pumpkin and cocoa if you are using it.

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Stir together, heat through, and wabam!  You have a beautiful, hearty, flavorful, unique, thick and comforting meal for yourself and the fam…or if its just yourself, you have food for a week!! 😀

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Isn’t it purty?!  I wish I had some right now.  I haven’t eaten today other than a really naughty treat I snuck…

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This would have been much more satisfying that a hot dog :/

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Hallelujah!!  I hope you love it!  What is your favorite dish with pumpkin?

Balsamic Pot Roast

Yummy.  I love me a good pot roast!  This one…this is the best roast I have had in a while!!  It had a sweet tanginess to it that was truly delightful!!  Mixed with the classic warm, falling-apart nature of a roast…it was just the best!!  And since I adapted it from my Abel James app, I know that it is clean eating, which just adds another level of satisfaction to the whole deal.  It makes me happy, happy, happy!!  I hope you love it too.  Here’s the lo down:

 

What you need:

  • 2+ lb Beef Roast
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Grassfed Butter
  • 1 White Onion, Sliced
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled and Sliced
  • 1/2 C Balsamic Vinegar
  • 8 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine

 

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Coat both sides of your roast with all the spices.
  2. Heat your oil or butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Once it is hot (but not smoking hot ;)) place your roast in there and sear for about 4 minutes per side.
  3. In the mean time, combine the vinegar and tomato sauce in a bowl.
  4. Place the onions and carrots in the bottom of a crock pot (you don’t want it to be a huge crock or else your roast wont be cooking in the juices!) and place the roast on top of them.
  5. Dump the tomato/vinegar mixture over the meat.
  6. Add the water and white wine to the pan you seared your meat in to deglaze the pan.  Scrape up any leftover goodies, then dump this sauce over the meat as well.
  7. Turn the crockpot on low and cook for 6-8 hours.

 

And you’re done and ready for yummy yummy deliciousness!

 

See the pictures!  Unfortunately, pot roast is very difficult to make pretty for pictures.  But here’s my attempt: 🙂

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Getting that bad boy nice and flavorful!

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Sear both sides

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Aint it pretty? Few things make me happier than a beautiful seared piece of meat!

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Place the veggies in the bottom of the crock pot

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Place the roast on top

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Stir together the vinegar and tomato sauce and pour it on top

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Pour the water and wine into the hot pan to deglaze.  Pour the liquid on top of the roast as well.

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Cook on low for 6-8 hours, then enjoy your tasty treat!!

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The veggies were delicious as well as the roast…the flavors all through were just amazing.  🙂  Let me know what you think!!  How do you like making your roast?

 

 

Avocado Stuffed Burgers

These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings!!  Avocadoes…stuffed inside a big beefy burger?!  How is this madness even possible?!  And yet…I have tasted it…and it is good!  SO GOOD!

Now…I know it is fall.  (I can no longer deny it!).  But there are still beautiful avocadoes in the stores, at least where I am!  And in my opinion…burgers are NOT just a summer food, especially for paleo eaters!  They are simple, they are satisfying…and they can be made just as easily inside.  So don’t you give up on burgers just because of the chill in the air!

 

Now if I am being honest, I was a little apprehensive when I made these.  It is just such a different idea.  Then to top it off, I was making them while my “little” brother was here.  (I say “little” because he has been bigger than me since I was in like…5th grade).  That being said…I was even more nervous because I wasn’t just trying this out on Mr. Rodgers!  A funny thing about growing up is that when your family visits…you want them to see how good you are at being domestic.  😉  However, as Jesse and I both took our first bite…we looked at each other with glee and dove in to the rest!  It was creamy, tangy, and had that great satisfying burger essence that everyone loves.

 

This recipe is every so slightly adapted from the wonderful Caveman Feast app, thanks to Abel James!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 lb Ground Beef (Preferably grass-fed)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pinch of Mrs. Dash (I am kinda addicted to this stuff)
  • 1 lemon (or lime!) with zest
  • 1 C Sundried Tomatoes, chopped (removed from oil)
  • Bacon fat (optional to drizzle over the top at the end)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Put your beef in a bowl, and season with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and Mrs. Dash.  Combine.
  2. Form beef mixture into an even number of very thin patties…you will be using two per burger!
  3. Mash your avocadoes in a bowl with the sundried tomatoes, juice of 1/2 the lemon, and salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Spoon avocado mixture onto half of the burger patties so that you still have an edge that you can seal.  Top with another patty, and seal the edges together with your fingers all the way around.
  5. Grill burgers about 6 minutes per side.  I did this inside with a grill pan and it worked great!!  This is where you have the option to drizzle bacon fat over them…which I totally would have done if I had any bacon fat on me!

 

 

Doesn’t that sounds soooooo good?!

 

Peectures:

Avocado Burger 1

Season your beef…

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And form into an even number of very thin patties!!

Avocado Burger 2

Mix together avocado filling ingredients to make yourself a nice tangy guac!

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Mix mix mix!

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Place avocado mixture in middle of half your burgers, leaving edges to seal…

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And drape the other patties on top, sealing the edges well with your fingers.

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Then grill about 6 minutes per side!  Obviously, I made these super easily inside on a grill pan!

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And they turned out beautifully!

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See that avocado trying to ooze out there?!  Sooo delicious!

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Serve how you desire!  We had it on a nice big romaine leaf with the extra filling on the side.

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Deeeeeeeeeeelicious.

 

I hope you enjoy!  What do you like stuffing in burgers?

 

Paleo Almond Pistachio Breakfast “Granola”

I must apologize for a short stretch of silence there!  You see, my little brother….(I call him my little brother, but let’s be honest here, he’s been bigger than me since oh, fifth grade? ;))…is moving to Virginia!  And he stopped here on his way through!!  He is still here, actually.  I just decided I could take a moment to blog, because he and Mr. Rodgers are very much engrossed in a game of NFL Blitz on Nintendo 64 right now.  Yeah.  Be jealous!!  Anywho, I haven’t abandoned you my friends, I have just been spending time with the fam.  It is the most important thing in the world to me, and I haven’t seen my side for a year!!  So I’m soaking up every minute!

But here I am!  I promise I’m still cooking!!  And here is a little treat for you!  I call it breakfast, but in all honesty….the few days after I made this, it was more like breakfast granola…then mid morning snack granola…then lunch granola…then mid afternoon granola…you get the picture.  😉  I.  LOVE.  GRANOLA!  But my options are limited since most granolas have sugar…or even if they are a healthy organic brand, they are mostly oatmeal.  Which I LOVE, but definitely react to.  Sad day!  Needless to say, I was stoked when I found this Abel Jame’s recipe for “Caveman Crunch.”  I tweaked it a bit, and whabam!!  Granola is back in my life!  I want it to be in your life too, so here you go:

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 C Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/2 C Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 C Almond Flour
  • 1 C Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1 C Almonds
  • 1 C Pistachios (Shelled)
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 C Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1/3-1/2 C Raw Honey (melted)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 C Raisins (THIS IS MY ADDITION!  I am okay with raisins, but some paleo people are not!  If you don’t want the added fruit sugar, then you can leave it out.)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325*
  2. If your almonds and pistachios are not slivered or chopped, then place them in  a food processor and pulse until a good, granola-like consistency.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients (minus the raisins) in a large bowl.
  4. In another bowl, combine the oil, honey, and vanilla.
  5. Line a large cookie sheet with foil.  Dump the wet ingredients over the dry and mix together till it is evenly coated.  Spread it out on your cookie sheet.  It should be in a nice thin layer.
  6. Bake in the oven until just starting to brown.  The original says 25 minutes, but mine never lasted that long.  You are cooking with honey, which burns VERY QUICKLY.  So check it often, and stir it at least once while cooking.  About 5-10 minutes before its done, sprinkle your raisins in.  Remove, let it cool, and serve however makes you happy!  I eat it in a bowl with unsweetened almond milk!  Would also be good on top of some Greek yogurt…whatever you can think up!

 

Peectures:

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Measure out your nuts!

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Put them in a food processor if they didn’t come slivered or chopped…

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And whiz until you get a good “granola” texture.

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Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl minus the raisins.

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Stir together all your wet ingredients.

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Pour the wet stuff over the dry stuff and stir to coat.  Spread thinly over a foil line cookie sheet.

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Bake at 325* until just starting to brown, stirring at least once and keeping a sharp eye out for burning!  Add raisins a few minutes before it is done.

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Enjoy however you desire!!!

 

Smokey Bacon Asparagus Wraps

Yeah. Isn’t that title enough to make you drool already?! I’m drooling. Really. Two of my favorite things in the world? Asparagus. And bacon. Hallelujah!

This is a little gem from Abel James! The spice rub gives it a “barbecue” feel, the bacon adds that smokey flavor, and of course the asparagus gives you your greens! Not to mention it is probably the best vegetable. Ever. Can I get an amen?!

Whoo. Calm down Rodgers. Apparently this recipe makes me go gospel. PRAISE THE LORD! For bacon is delicious and His love never fails!! 😀

ANYWAYS! Back to the recipe! I used turkey bacon, because I am still up in arms about pork. I love pork. But does it love me? I just don’t know.

So, here’s what you need:

 

  • 1 lb Asparagus, tough ends popped off
  • 8 to 10 Slices Turkey Bacon
  • 1/2 tsp each of: sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika (optional, add a dash of chipotle chile powder for a kick!)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and cover a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Combine spice mixture in a small bowl.
  3. After your asparagus is trimmed, separate it into 8 to 10 even piles, with 4-5 pieces each.  Obviously this will depend on the size of your spears ;).
  4. Wrap the bacon around each bundle, taking care to not overlap too much, as you don’t want the bacon to be too thick or the bottom layer will not cook all the way.
  5. Lay your bundles on the baking sheet, with seam down.  Sprinkle each bundle generously with your spice rub.
  6. Slide into your preheated oven and cook for 20 or more minutes, until asparagus is tender crisp and the bacon is cooked through.
  7. Serve along side a protein and be happy!  This is most definitely a man pleaser!  Even for a man that loves vegetables like my Mr. Rodgers…they always look more alluring when wrapped in bacon, haha!!  Let me know how you like it!

 

Peectures:

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Here’s my little bundles, all wrapped up and ready to go!

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Then they got their spices!

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And cooked…oh yummy!

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Is your mouth watering yet?

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It surprised me how much the spice rub acgtually did taste like barbecue!

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And serve with your protein!  This was with a lovely roasted chicken!  And we actually got to sit down at the dinner table together and eat!  It was amazing!!  And then Mr. Rodgers did the cutest thing!  His computer was sitting on the table, and he pulled up a video of a crackling fire place while we finished our dinner…it was so romantic!!  I hope you guys have a memory just as sweet to go with this asparagus, hehe!

Husband Approved Meatloaf!!

So I have a confession. It’s kind of a silly confession. I have been married 3 years, and have been cooking a ton since the beginning. This whole time, I have been TERRIFIED to make a meatloaf. I never have, up until this past month. Why? I’ll tell you why.

Naturally, I am a writer. So I have that slightly dramatic, sometimes forgetting what is real life and what is story sort of mind. Growing up, I read lots of books, and now that I am married to Mr. Rodgers, I watch quite a few movies. And you know what one constant thread seems to be in lots of those stories?! A couple has been married for years, they get into a horrible fight and in a fit of anger the husband yells, “I never liked your meatloaf!” And then the wife breaks down crying because she thought it was his favorite. Or the father pays the kids to eat the meatloaf. Or everyone slips it under the table to the dog. So many versions all communicating one thing to my food-passionate brain: Your husband will secretly hate meatloaf, even if you think it’s good. Meatloaf is gross. Don’t even try.

And so I didn’t. But since we switched to a more paleo-based diet, Mr. Rodgers has been in need of very protein heavy meals. Meatloaf just seemed like an easy option. Then, I downloaded Abel James’ recipe app. Lo and behold, there were meatloaf recipes!! So I decided to be brave and try one because, after all, if the husband hated it, I could always blame it on Abel James. (Sorry to throw you under the bus dude!!) HOWEVER, there was no need to cast blame, because my husband LOVED IT! (As you probably guessed from the title of this post ;)) And he wasn’t just saying that either, he asked for seconds 😉 So…for any of you nervous wives out there, here it is. A husband approved meatloaf!! Adapted ever so slightly from Abel James:

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb Ground Beef, Preferably Grass Fed
  • 1 lb Turkey Bacon (Or pork if you are into pork!  We try to steer clear of it except for on special occasions)
  • 1o oz Jar Sun Dried Tomatoes, minced (Original called for Fire-Roasted but I got sun dried by mistake…but the twangy flavor they added was what Mr. Rodgers loved the best!)
  • 1 Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Minced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Almond Flour
  • 1/2 C Flax Meal
  • 2 Tbsp Oregano (Or if you have some leftover homemade Italian seasoning like we use in the sausage…that’s good too!)
  • Sea salt and pepper

 

And here’s how you do it, easy  peasy

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep veggies.  Mince bacon as small as possible, unless you have a meat grinder.
  3. Combine everything in a large bowl.  Grease a loaf pan with a small amount of grass fed butter, then form your meat mixture into a loaf in the pan.
  4. Bake for an hour or so, until top is browned and middle is cooked.  Preferrably, use a meat thermometer to make sure the temp gets to 165*.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting into it.  We were starving and cut into it right away so it fell apart a little.  But when you are that hungry, you just don’t care haha!!

 

Peectures!

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Preheat oven to 400*!  Mince everything up small…

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And put it all together in a large bowl!

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And use your hands to mix it all up until combined well, hahaha!!  I had a helper!  Doesn’t he  look excited?! 😀

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Look at all those delicious ingredients all mixed up and ready to be yummy!

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Form into a loaf in a lightly greased loaf pan.  (Why yes, yes we were watching Parks and Rec while we made this meatloaf.  Don’t be jealous.)

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And cook for about an hour until the top is browned and the middle is done, to at least 165*  🙂

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Here it is beside the best brussels sprouts ever!!

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Hallelujah, holy yum, there is hope for meatloaf after all!!  😀  What is your favorite meatloaf recipe?!