Fall Stir Fry with Spaghetti Squash

Don’t you love those “DUH!” moments??  Those times when you have an idea and feel like a genius for having said idea…but also feel like an idiot for not having that idea earlier?  That is what happened with this recipe!!  For quite a while now I have been taking favorite noodle recipes and substituting in spaghetti squash!  Now as I have mentioned before, I do not think of or present the dish as a noodle dish when I do this…or the people consuming will expect it to taste exactly like noodles.  But if you present it as a great spaghetti squash recipe, they will be overjoyed with the flavor, and they will be expecting it to be so different from noodles that they will be pleasantly surprised!

Well.  We love stir fry in this house.  But I had pretty much given up on noodle stir fry, even though it is my favorite version.  Why had I never considered spaghetti squash stir fry?!  But I was looking through this wonderful book you will remember:

 

DHV

…and I stumbled upon a recipe called “Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables.”  Aka…chicken stir fry with noodles.  I thought “oh man that looks tasty…” then suddenly….palm meet face!!  SPAGHETTI SQUASH!

The great thing about this is that it is more of an idea than a recipe.  Stir fry is such an open ended thing.  It is so great because as long as you keep veggies in your fridge and some for of soy sauce and sesame oil…you don’t even have to plan ahead.  You just chop chop, toss it in a wok and BAM!  Nutritional dinner!!  🙂  Most of you probably already know how to do that!  I just wanted to open your eyes to the new possibilities with spaghetti squash!  But nevertheless,  here is the general idea of what I did!

 

The ingredients:

  • 1 Small Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Head Broccoli or Cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2-3 Large Chicken Breasts, Cut into bite sized pieces
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 or 2 Bell Peppers, Julienned
  • 1 or 2 Large Carrots, sliced
  • About 1/4 Lg Head Red Cabbage, Sliced
  • 1 Small Onion, Chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Honey (Optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch Red Pepper Flakes

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Cook your spaghetti squash in advance, however you prefer to do this.  I stab mine a bunch then roast at about 400* for an hour or so, turning once.  It is done when the skin is very tender and easily pierced.  Remove seeds and remove the flesh in strands with a fork.  Set aside.
  2. Salt and Pepper your chunks of chicken.  Heat the coconut oil in a wok and add chicken.  Stir and cook until chicken is browned and cooked through…about 5-8 minutes.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Add your onions into the wok and cook for about 2 minutes, until starting to get tender.  Add garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds or so, then add in the rest of the veggies (minus the squash).  I did not pre-cook my cauliflower but if you don’t want a crunch in the middle of your cauliflower or broccoli, feel free to steam or boil for a few minutes before hand. 🙂  Cook all the veggies, stirring, until everything is getting tender-crisp.
  4. Add the chicken back in and stir.
  5. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients.  Dump over stir fry.  Stir in.
  6. Add in the spaghetti squash strands and toss it all together.  Heat it through, then remove and serve!  Garnish with sesame seeds if desired!!  ENJOY!!!

Peectures:

SS Stir Fry 1

Cook your spaghetti squash first! In the meantime, cook your chicken.  Set aside.

SS Stir Fry 2

Add your onions and cook for a few minutes.  Add in garlic and stir, cooking about 30 seconds.  Then dump in the rest of your veggies, minus the spaghetti squash.  Cook until everything is tender crisp.

SS Stir Fry 3

Add in the chicken and cook and stir..

SS Stir Fry 4

Then add in the sauce…and last but not least the spaghetti squash!  Toss everything to coat, heat through, then remove and serve!!

 

 

Fall Lentil Carrot Soup

As much as I HATE to admit that summer is coming to a close (no no no no no no nooo!), the first day of fall has been announced, and so I am determined to look at the bright side!  I will refuse to think about the impending 7 months of subzero temperatures and snow measured of feet.  Instead I will dwell on this positive point: DELICIOUS, COMFORTING FALL FOOD!  First up?  Lentil Carrot Soup!

I actually made this months ago, but have been waiting for just the right moment to post it!  The moment is now, yay!   The funny thing is, since I made this in the heat of summer, I had intended it as I side dish to accompany our main dishes for a few days.  However…it was SO delicious that both Mr. Rodgers and I gobbled it up as is, unaccompanied.  That’s gotta tell you something!

 

Side note, remember this book?

Meditteranean Frittata 1

This $4 treasure I found at an Ollie’s Outlet?  That’s where this recipe originated (with some Rodgers family tweaks of course!).  You really should go online and snag one for yourself!

 

So, enough talking!!  Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, or Grass Fed Butter
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 3 Carrots, Shredded
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
  • 2 C Lentils, rinsed
  • 8 C Chicken Broth (Or water)
  • 8 Green Onions, sliced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Prep all your veggies!
  2. Heat your oil in a large pot and dump in your veggies.  Cook and stir until they are tender.
  3. Add lentils, water (or broth), salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, probably about 10 minutes.  Add the green onion and cook for another minute or so.  And you’re done!  Just adjust as needed, and enjoy!!

 

 

Peectures!

Lentil Soup 1

Prep your veggies and start them cooking!

Lentil Soup 2

Look!  It must have been a “comfort” day for all…because these little ladies would not get more than a foot away from me!  Look how frumpy they are!  They’ve both had hair cuts since then.

Lentil Soup 3

And lentils, your liquid, salt and pepper.  Simmer until lentils are tender.

Lentil Soup 4

Add green onions…

Lentil Soup 5

Stir it all together and cook for another minute or so.

Lentil Soup 6

Lentil Soup 7

Lentil Soup 8

 

 

 

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:

Granola 1

Measure out your nuts!

Granola 2

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

Granola 3

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

Granola 5

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

Granola 6

Stir together all your wet ingredients.

Granola 7]

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

Granola 8

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.

Granola 9

Enjoy however you desire!!!

 

Chilled Curry Chickpea Salad

This was so fun!  I rarely do cold side dishes, but now I am thinking I should do them more often!  Not to mention…I am in LOVE with chickpeas!  And there are tons of benefits in lentils!  And Mr. Rodgers loves curry!  Basically I am saying…this is a win win win WINNNN!  Such an explosion of flavors and textures!  Great!

 

So here’s what you need:

  • 1 Can Chick Peas (Garbanzos), or about 2 C boiled dried
  • 1 Can Lentils, or about 2 C boiled dried
  • 1/2 C Red Onion, Minced
  • 3/4 C Celery, Diced
  • 3/4 C Colored Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 2-3 tsp Red Curry Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

And here’s how you do it!  (It’s REALLLY hard <–sarcasm!)

  1. In a bowl, combine chick peas, lentils, and veggies.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Drizzle the “dressing” over the bean/veggie mix, and stir to coat.  Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.  Eat and enjoy!

 

 

 

Photo (6)

Stir together beans and veggies.

Photo (7)

Mix together your “dressing” ingredients.

Photo (8)

Drizzle dressing over veggie mixture and stir to coat.

Photo (10)

Put in something pretty!

Photo (9)

And eat!

Photo (11)

Serve along side some yummy protein!  This is beside some amazing ribs…that I am crying inside because I didn’t write down my recipe for and can’t remember 😥  Woe is me!  But!  That’s okay because at least we got this fantastic side dish!!

Italian Meatballs Over Spaghetti Squash

Ohhhh yum!  I made this a few weeks ago, and put it on the menu for this week as well.  However, I am saving it for one of the last meals because it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients that can go bad, unlike the other meals I have planned.  Well, Mr. Rodgers saw it on the menu and has been asking every couple days “WHEN CAN WE HAVE MEATBALLS?!”

That’s a good sign that this is a winner.  And you know what’s so great about it?  It’s super easy.  Aside from cooking the spaghetti squash, I had done the prep with other meals.  Allow me to explain.

Remember that amazingly yummy Saucy Paleo Pot Roast I posted about earlier?  And I told you to throw that extra sauce in a tupperware and freeze it?  Yeah.  Meatball sauce.  Check.  It worked PERFECTLY!

And remember that home made sausage recipe I rave about?  Yeah.  Double batch.  Make half into patties, half into balls.  Cook the sausage for your breakfast and toss the balls into a ziploc raw and put in your freezer.  Meatballs.  BAM!

 

Easy peasy, and delicious.  And healthy!  And apparently…it makes husbands really happy.  Can’t get better than that!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • Leftover sauce from Saucy Paleo Pot Roast (Or create your own, but seriously….its so easy this way!)
  • Home made sausage, formed into balls instead of patties  (Probably about half a recipe, unless you want lots of meatballs!)
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Put a soup pot on your stove, and dump your left over roast sauce into it.  Mine was frozen, so I just plopped my block of sauce in there, turned it on medium, put the lid on, and let it do its thing.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375*.  Pierce your spaghetti squash all over, place on a pan, and cook for about an hour, until it is tender to the touch.  I find it helps to roll it at least once through the cooking process.
  3. Meanwhile, when sauce has melted and is bubbly, dump in your meatballs.  My meatballs were also frozen!  Cover and let simmer at least 30 minutes, or until your squash is done.  Make sure it isn’t up too high so you don’t burn the sauce.
  4. Remove squash from oven, cut in half, and scoop out seeds.  Use a fork to remove flesh in strands.
  5. Put squash on a plate and smother with your meatballs and sauce!!  And devour!!  So flavorful and satisfying, hallelujah!

 

Peectures!

Photo-17

Place sauce into pot over medium heat and begin melting.  Get your squash cooking at the same time!

Photo-18

Yay bubbling sauce!  Reduce to a simmer and add meatballs, letting cook at least half an hour, or until squash is ready!

Photo-19

When squash is tender, remove from oven.  Carefully cut in half and remove seeds.

Photo-20

Scrape flesh out in strands and place in a bowl.

Photo-21

Smother in sauce and meatballs, and DEVOUR!  Doesn’t that look amazing?!  It was just so tasty!!  I hope you enjoy this easy idea on how to prep for multiple meals at once and feed your family a super nutritious meal!

 

 

 

 

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!

Photo-7

 

Preheat oven to 400*!  Mince everything up small…

Photo-8

 

And put it all together in a large bowl!

Photo-9

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

Photo-10

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

Photo-11

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.)

Photo-14

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

Photo-15

Here it is beside the best brussels sprouts ever!!

Photo-16

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