Flavorful Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Meatloaf

Those of you who follow me regularly know that it has been just a few weeks since my first chorizo experience.  In summary?  Lifechanging.  Because I have now vowed to eat chorizo all the time.  It has a beautiful flavor, it can be used so many ways…and I looked it up…no sugar added!!  Wooohoooo!!  Can’t get much better than that!

 

So here is chorizo cooking, round two!!  This was awesome.  You may remember my fear of meatloaf, because of growing up watching shows where the wife thinks her husband loves it…but he secretly pays the kids to eat it and they all shovel it into the dogs mouth when mom isn’t looking.  I don’t know why that is so etched into my mind, but alas.  I have meatloaf phobia.  But this…oh this meatloaf!  Talk about flavor, and my husband really did love it!!  I would know because I don’t have any kids for him to pay, and there was no meatloaf remains on my dog’s fur or breath.  😉  So I will confidently declare this recipe Mr. Rodgers approved!  Though it is wrapped in bacon, so that’s kind of a no brainer.   Speaking of bacon, I ate bacon for lunch.  That’s healthy, right?  :/

Anyways, back to meatloaf!

 

This recipe is inspired by the great paleomg.com!  I had originally intended on making it almost exact to the recipe…but some of the ingredients I had bought for this recipe I some how had a brain fart and used up in other meals.  So when I got to this meatloaf I realized I didn’t have a bunch of things, so I got to be spontaneous…dig through my fridge and use whatever veggies and things I could find!  Which is fun.  Feel free to adapt it to what you have available too!  So….

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 8 oz Chorizo (that is about the size of one large “link” in the set of two I get at my store)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 C Flax Meal
  • 2 Carrots, Chopped
  • 1/4 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Celery Heart, Chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 4 Slices Bacon, Cut in half
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Optional: Chipotle Mayo to Garnish (I would have done this if I had time to make an approved mayo that Mr. Rodgers can eat, but I was in a hurry!)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350*
  2. Take all of your meatloaf ingredients (except the bacon and the mayo if you are using it!) and combine in a bowl.
  3. Dump this mixture into a loaf pan and form evenly.
  4. Lay the halved bacon across the entire top of the meatloaf, tucking it in as well as possible.
  5. Cook for about an hour and 15 minutes, then broil JUST long enough to get some crispiness to your bacon.  Broilers burn things FAST so watch it the whole time!

And bam!  You are ready to go with a meatloaf that husbands around the world will adore!! 😀

Let’s see some pictures!

Chorizo Loaf 1

Get your beef and chorizo!

Chorizo Loaf 2

Add the rest of your meatloaf ingredients (minus the bacon!).  Combine well!

Chorizo Loaf 3

Form it into a loaf pan.  Look at how it is marbled with the different meat colors, I love it!

Chorizo Loaf 5

Lay the halved bacon over the whole top surface of the meatloaf, tucking the edges in as well as you can.

Chorizo Loaf 6

Cook for an hour and 15 minutes or so, then broil just a few minutes to get crisp bacon!

Chorizo Loaf 7

Ahhhhhhh isn’t that just the best?!  I could go for some of that right now!!

 

Okay, so here are a few photos from the lovely Mr. Rodgers.  He was SO excited about this meatloaf that as I grabbed dishes and things to set the table, I turned around to him snapping pictures on his phone saying things like “Look at this steam!  You have to capture this before it goes away!!  LOOK at this!”  🙂  His enthusiasm made me so happy I just had to share some of his steam pictures…please forgive the slight clutter in the back ground!

image (3) image (7) image

Do you see the steam?!  🙂  Isn’t he just the cutest?!  And of course he WOULD take a picture with a guitar in the background.  😉

 

So there you go.  Yummy, healthy, paleo, Mr. Rodgers approved meatloaf with butt kickin flavor!  😀 😀 😀 😀

 

Jalapeno Brussels Sprouts

Sounds a little crazy, right?  But these actually had just the right amount of heat, and a TON of great flavor!  Believe it or not Brussels Sprouts are probably the favorite vegetable around here!  They have this great texture when roasted right…crunch on the outside, but dense enough on the inside to make your teeth happy.  There is just something so satisfying and comforting about a good, hearty, healthy vegetable that also tastes AMAZING!  And I am so excited about this fun new flavor combo!!  Who would have thought jalapenos and Brussels would be so beautiful together?!

I just love how my food inspiration can explode because of others’ ideas!  This one was adapted from paleofondue.com!  It was originally made with red jalapenos, which I was very excited to try…but then none of my stores had them.  Laaaaaame!  But it was still SOOO delicious.

 

Okay, seriously….bunny trail…I am having an incredibly difficult time writing this blog.  Want to know why?  This is why:

Because this is happening right now:

Frizz 2

If you cannot tell…that is my lap that she is laying in.  And that is my laptop, which is supposed to be in my lap.

 

Frizz 1

Ugh!!  But she’s just so cute!!!  How can I possibly make her move?!  If I try, she will whimper and turn on those puppy eyes that would break Chuck Norris’ heart.  So here I am…stretching over her, trying not to wake her and somehow type at the same time. And my foot is starting to cramp! Haha.  The things we do for love…and I don’t even have kids yet!!  I’m doomed!! 😉

 

Okay….back to those amazing Brussels Sprouts that are a lot easier than typing with a sleepy cute puppy in your lap…ready, set, go!

 

Here is what you need:

  • 2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, Halved
  • 3 Jalapenos, thinly sliced (crossways so you have rounds)
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Grassfed Butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Honey, Melted
  • 1/4 C Walnuts, Finely Chopped

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400*.
  2. Chop your Brussels in half and slice your jalapenos.
  3. Toss the Brussels and jalapenos with the coconut oil or butter and spread out on a foil lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring once.
  4. Thinly slice the garlic and let it soak in the vinegar while your Brussels cook.
  5. When the 25 minutes is up, add in the garlic, vinegar, and walnuts and stir around again.  Cook another 5 minutes or so.  Drizzle on the melted honey, stir around, and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Brussels should be browned well on the outside.  You are ready to serve!

 

 

Jalapeno 1

Slice your chiles and sprouts

Jalapeno 2

Pour on your melted butter or coconut oil…

Jalapeno 3

Spread out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper…

Jalapeno 4

Roast for 25 minutes, stirring them around once.  Add sliced garlic to vinegar to soak while you wait.  After 25 minutes, add garlic, vinegar, and nuts to Brussels and stir around again.  Cook for another 5 minutes, add honey, and cook for 5 minutes or so again.

Jalapeno 5

Brussels should be nice and browned and crispy on the outside!

Jalapeno 6

YUM-O!!

 

What is your favorite way to cook Brussels Sprouts?

 

 

Chorizo Butternut Black Bean Soup

How’s that for a title, eh?!  And that isn’t even mentioning the leek, or cabbage, or garlic…this soup is just CRAMMED with good stuff.

 

This soup also makes me laugh.  You want to know why?  Well…it came out of this beautiful book (I don’t think I’ve showed you this one yet, also from my favorite store 5 Below…which means I probably paid $4 for the thing!)

 

100 Best Fresh Soups

(If you are interested in it and don’t have a 5 Below, it’s on Amazon, I just checked!)

Anyways, back to my laughing…you see, I SAY this recipe came out of that book…but it was originally Sausage and Red Cabbage Soup…with potatoes and black eyed peas and cream…

Then one thing led to another…and now it is nothing like the original!  But I must still give credit, because this beautiful soup never would have happened without the inspiration of this lovely little book!

It started with the potatoes… Mr. Rodgers can’t have potatoes!  My first thought was “Well, I can just use sweet potatoes…wait!  Mr. Rodgers can’t have sweet potatoes either…what is kind of like a sweet potato???  Butternut squash!  We’ll try that.”  Step one in the transformation.

Then came the black eyed peas.  They are probably fine…but the husband has a specific list of what beans/legumes he can and cannot have…some are “eat every chance you get,” like black beans.  Some are “in moderation,” like chick peas.  So I just wasn’t sure about the black eyed peas, I’d hate to make something he couldn’t eat, or would be a bit of a compromise.  So I decided what the heck, I have a pantry full of black beans, we’ll use those instead.

Then I went to 3 or 4 stores looking for sausages without sugar or corn syrup or dextrose…NOTHING!  So annoying!!  But I grabbed some chorizo for a meatloaf recipe I will make later…NO SUGAR!  Hmmmm…I’ll use that for my soup too!

Then I went to add my almond milk instead of cream…and it was expired.  I guess this will be a brothy soup.

And there you have it.  Soup transformation.  I was so nervous because of all the changes…but this soup was BEAUTIFUL!  I can’t even describe how great the flavors worked together, and how comforting it was!  And I have to tell you…the day I made this was just the best day ever!!  I will tell you more about it in my pictures!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Grassfed Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Leek, Sliced (I had never used a leek before!  Life changing!  YouTube will show you how to cut them if its your first time!)
  • 6 C Chicken Stock
  • 1 Small Butternut Squash, Cubed (About 1 lb)
  • 1/2 lb Chorizo (or more…it was enough, but I might add more if I make it again to be more “paleo”)
  • 1/4 Large Red Cabbage, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it!

Note:  I used the chorizo in a way I am sure it was not intended, but I loved the outcome!  If you prefer to use it as a ground meat, feel free to brown it up before hand and add it back in right before the broth!  I wanted larger bites of meat, so I cooked it like you would a dumpling….and it worked!  I was so excited!!

  1. Prep all your veggies!  It’s easiest to have them all ready in bowls so you can dump as you go…but if you prefer to chop as you go that’s up to you!
  2. Melt your oil/butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes, until starting to get tender
  3. Add the leek and cook another 3 minutes or so.  Doesn’t it smell good?!
  4. Stir in the broth, add the butternut squash.  Now comes my crazy chorizo cooking method.  Since it came in a tubular shape, I cut it into small bite sized pieces and dropped it into the soup like dumplings and let it boil!  And it worked!  I was left with little chorizo bites throughout the soup!  Yay!!  Some oil from the chorizo will rise to the top of the soup…if this bothers you, use a spoon to remove it!  I left it though and it was perfectly fine.
  5. Add salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Stir in your red cabbage and black beans and cook 5-10 more minutes until the cabbage is starting to get tender.  Check your squash and make sure it is tender (but preferably not falling apart).  Spoon into bowls and top with some fresh cracked pepper!!

 

 

Peectures!

 

Chorizo Soup 1

The great gathering of the ingredients!

Chorizo Soup 2

Prepped and ready!

Chorizo Soup 3

Sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes, add leeks and repeat!

Chorizo Soup 4

Add broth…

Chorizo Soup 5

If you’re curious, this is how I cut my chorizo…just little bite size pieces…

Chorizo Soup 6

Add squash and chorizo and simmer for 20-25 minutes…

Chorizo Soup 7

Look at that beautiful color that comes from the chorizo!  Since I had never used it I did a little research, and that red color is from the peppers they use!

Chorizo Soup 8

Add cabbage and black beans, gently stir in, and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender but the squash is not falling apart.

Chorizo Soup 9

Bam!  Scoop into bowls and serve!

Chorizo Soup 10

See my little chorizo meat balls?  Delicious!!

Chorizo Soup 11

I was so pleased with how the flavors played off each other…not to mention all the great textures!

Chorizo Soup 12

Yummy.  I’m sad it’s gone now.  Didn’t last long.

 

 

And now you get to see why I had the best day ever.  You know the first part…I adapted a recipe, took lots of risks, and it was successful!!  Great feeling already!!  Not only that, but I had been instructed to sleep in by my fabulous husband so I felt rested (it’s amazing you should try it!).  Then the sun came out and I got to lay in the grass near my flower bed, eat yummy soup, and spend time with my sweet Jesus.  Lately I have really been trying to cut back on the movies and tv shows, and spend more time just “be-ing.”  Having real moments, be they productive moments, thoughtful moments, “connected with others” moments (I’m bad at that one, Lord help me!),  prayerful moments…let me tell you, it’s only been a few days, and already I notice a difference.  My home is full of peace when I focus on abstaining from distractions and instead just “being.”  You guys should try it.  Aim for moments like these:

 

Chorizo Soup 13

I don’t know why I ever forget how good life can be when you stop to enjoy the weather (all kinds,) to enjoy a good hearty meal, and to talk to my Creator!!  Speaking of…wanna see some of the lovely flowers I got to enjoy on this “best day ever”?

 

Chorizo SOup 14

Pink!

Chorizo Soup 15

Stripey!  I love how full the stripey ones get!

Chorizo SOup 16

And my beautiful sunflower, the only one that has bloomed so far…she’s a survivor…broken nearly in half and still grew up from the ground and bloomed!  There’s gotta be a lesson in that!!

 

Okay, forgive me, this blog is getting way too long.  I will bid you goodnight…I hope you love my soup, and feel inspired to enjoy it in quiet, undistracted peace!!

Breakfast Egg “Muffins”

Good morning!!

Okay, okay, you got me, it’s not morning!  But I tell you what…it WILL be a good morning when you make these!!

See what I did there?  😀

 

Anywho…these little fellows are super fun and cute!  And can even be made the night before to help your family get tasty protein on busy mornings!  That’s how I did it!  I came home from work at like midnight one Saturday night, and was amped up on the caffeine I had downed to get me through a 15 hour shift.  My husband had to be at the church before 7, and I know how stressful Sunday mornings can be for him.  On top of that, he has to resist the free pizza provided for the worship teams.  So I wanted to make sure he had a chance to get a good healthy breakfast in him to hold him over.  Cause let’s just be honest…who wants to wake up at 5 just to cook yourself breakfast?

I, for one, do not!

And so I decided to use my late night energy to make these for him.  They are my own version of Abel James’ “Pizza Muffins.”  I added some greens and beans because Mr. Rodgers is determined to get those with every meal.  And I also added a sauce for a “frosting” of sorts, and changed up the meat because I prefer sausage to pepperoni!  Are you ready for this recipe?!  Let’s do it!

 

Here’s what you need:

MUFFINS:

  • 6 Eggs
  • 4 tsp Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 2 Tbsp Grassfed Butter, Melted
  • 4 Tbsp Coconut Milk (Or Almond)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2/3 C Almond Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Basil
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 C Uncooked Italian Sausage (I used two home made meatballs from my freezer!)
  • 1/4-1/2 C Sundried Tomatoes (Depending on your tastes.  I don’t like them to be too overpowering!)
  • 1/4 C Onion, Diced
  • 1/3 Can Black Beans

PIZZA SAUCE “FROSTING” (Adapted from Budget Savvy Diva)

  • 1 (7 1/2 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 whole bay leaf

 

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400*
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add in your sausage and cook until starting to brown.  I used two home made Italian meatballs I had frozen!  It worked so well!
  3. Add in onion and cook until translucent, stirring often.
  4. Add in beans, sundried tomatoes, and kale.  Cook and stir until kale is wilted and everything is warmed through.  Set aside to cool.
  5. Mix together eggs, coconut oil, butter, coconut milk, and salt.
  6. In a different bowl, mix together flour, spices, and baking powder.
  7. Combine your egg and flour mixture and mix until all is combined smoothly.
  8. Add your cooled meat mixture and fold in.
  9. Pour into a lined muffin pan and cook until done, about 15 minutes.
  10. While muffins are cooking, add all sauce ingredients into a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, letting the flavors infuse until ready to “frost” on top of your eggy meat muffins!  ENJOY!

 

Egg Muffins 1

Egg Muffins 2

Egg Muffins 4

Egg Muffins 5

Egg Muffins 3

Egg Muffins 6]

Egg Muffins 8

Egg Muffins 9

Egg Muffins 10

Egg Muffins 11

Egg Muffins 12

Egg Muffins 13

 

Deliciously Crispy Wings, Guilt-Free

Wings. The best comfort food known to man.  But usually something we can only eat on “indulgence days.”  Well.  Thanks to the inspiration of justapinch.com…that is no longer the case!  These crazy delicious, crispy, garlicky wings are paleo approved…and most DEFINITELY man-approved.  Mr. Rodgers has been asking for them since I made them…he acted almost surprised and horrified when he found out they weren’t on the plan the next week.  So, to make him happy, I planned them this week haha!

 

So here ya go, guilt-free chicken wings!!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 4-6 lbs Chicken Wings
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • Few shakes of Mrs. Dash (Optional…that was my addition because I can’t seem to make anything without it!)
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 Sticks Grassfed Butter (That’s 12 Tbsp if you’re using Kerrygold that isn’t in traditional “sticks”)
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Minced (Confession, I used 3 tsp of the minced garlic from a jar!!  Don’t judge me!)
  • Tsp Parsley Paste (or your favorite herb)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Lemon Juice

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Make a dry rub with all of the dry spices, and sprinkle the wings so they are all coated.  (Note- the original says to toss the wings with olive oil first!  If you are okay with heating olive oil, then go for it!  It will add to the crispiness!  I just know there is some controversy on the issue of heating olive oil)  Place in your fridge and let set for a few hours, so the flavors will infuse and the skin will crisp up.
  2. Heat your oven to 450*.  Place the wings on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Cook for 30-45 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until the wings are cooked through and getting crisp.
  3. Melt your butter in a small pan, add garlic and stir about a minute.  Whisk in lemon juice and parsley.
  4. Baste wings generously on both sides and return to the oven until the wings are crisped to your tastes, ensuring that the garlic does not burn.   We like ours very crispy!!

Eat and enjoy!!  Yayyyyy for wings!!  Let me know what you think!

 

Peectures!

Photo (19)

Make your spice rub!

Photo (20)

Lay out your wings (make sure they are nice and dry!)

Photo (21)

Sprinkle them generously with your rub…get both sides!  Let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Photo (22)

Cook for 30-45 minutes and flip, cooking an additional 10-15 (until they are starting to get browned and crispy.)  Start your sauce by melting the butter…

Photo (23)

Add the garlic and cook a minute or so, then whisk in lemon and parsley.

Photo (25)

Generously baste the wings and replace in oven until browned to your tastes…we like ours really brown!  Just watch that the garlic doesn’t burn!

Photo (24)

Oh yeah baby!  Perfection!

Photo (26)

These didn’t last long in our house!

Photo (28)

Isn’t that the most beautiful plate of joy you’ve ever seen?

 

Try them out and let me know what you think!

Dijon Cauli With Chickpeas

My new favorite side dish! Yay!! I have loved roasted cauliflower for some time now. But to add chickpeas…and then smother it in a tangy (but not too spicy) Dijon sauce…perfection! I didn’t know I could love a side dish this much, ahhhh! It’s taking all my self control not to make it over and over again! That’s the hard thing about being a blogger. There aren’t enough days in a week to discover new recipes for your followers and still repeat all your favorites.

But anyways. Back to my love for this dish. The wonderful thing is, it’s got a version of my home made salad dressing in it!!So I get the flavors I love, but in a different way. A warm, comforting way!  Thank you for the idea, thewheatlesskitchen.com!

 

Enough talk! Here’s what you need!

  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 1 Can Chickpeas (15 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Melted Grass Fed Butter
  • 1.5 Tbsp Vinegar (Husband loves Red Wine, I love Apple Cider!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Your favorite fresh herb for garnish

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400*
  2. Prep your ingredients…rinse your cauli and cut it into florets, drain and rinse your chickpeas, etc.
  3. Coat your cauli and chickpeas with 1 Tbsp of your oil or butter substance of choice.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and cook for about 45 minutes, turning a few times to get everything nice and evenly browned.  (Brown is good!)
  4. While you wait, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
  5. When cauliflower and chickpeas are tender inside and have a nice crisp brown on the outside, take them out and toss with the sauce.  Serve hot along side a protein and listen to all the happy tummies at your table!  Yay!!

 

I wish the pictures did this justice!

Photo (13)

 

Chopped Cauliflower and chickpeas getting ready to roast in a 400* oven!

 

Photo (14)

When cooked, return to a bowl…

Photo (16)

Dump on the sauce…

Photo (15)

And stir till it’s all coated!

Photo (17)

This went perfectly with the flavor of this Spicy Almond Burger!

Photo (18)