Paleo Country Fried Chicken with Mashed Cauliflower and Gravy

This chicken is ridiculous.  Why ridiculous, you ask?  Well for starters, it’s freaking delicious.  Satisfying?  Of course.  Comforting?  In every sense of the word.  But here’s the real kicker.  It’s healthy!  Yayyyyyyyy.  I want to eat it every day of my life forever and ever amen!

 

You know what this chicken reminded me of?  Country fried steak.  That crunchy, warm, tender chunk of meat smothered in a creamy gravy.  It is the epitome of comfort food.  And that is what this resembles.  It causes me to have memories of sitting around the table with my whole family, filling our tummies till they feel like they might burst, quoting movies that only we know, laughing late into the night!  I’d give just about anything for a moment like that right now!  But instead, I will tell you of this meal…this meal that conjures up the best of memories and brings people together!!  I hope you love it!  🙂

 

Oh oh oh oh one more thing!!  I do not know why I have never thought of this before!!  The BEST part of this dish is that it is super creamy!  But getting a good, healthy, tasty creamy sauce is almost impossible with paleo standards!!  But I had a genius idea!!  Cauliflower!!  Now I know it sounds crazy but don’t you doubt me!!  Cauliflower seems to fix everything else…mashed potatoes, rice, pizza crust…why not to thicken sauces too?  I was already planning to make mashed cauli for the side…so check out how I used it in the sauce as well!

 

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, fat removed
  • 1/2 C Almond or Coconut Flour (You may need a little extra of the almond if you go that route since it is not quite as fine)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 C Chicken Broth
  • 1 C Unsweetened Original Almond Milk (Make sure it’s original!!)
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Medium Onion, Sliced
  • 1 Package Mushrooms, Sliced
  • Mashed Cauliflower (1 Head Cauliflower cut into florets and boiled, processed in a food processor with salt, pepper, grassfed butter, and a clove of garlic

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. In a big Ziploc baggie, combine the flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary.
  2. Add the chicken (in batches if necessary) and toss to coat well.  Melt the butter in a deep cast iron skillet and add in the chicken.  Brown well on both sides.
  3. When both sides are browned, pour in the broth , lemon, and almond milk.  Whisk it a bit.  Then add in the onions and mushrooms, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is a bit reduced.
  4. While you wait for the chicken, start your mashed cauliflower.
  5. When the 30 minutes is up, remove the chicken and most of the veggies and set aside.  Take about 3-4 Tbsp of the mashed cauliflower and whisk in to the sauce until it is thickened like a gravy.  Simmer for a few minutes until warm and thick, then remove from the heat.  Put your mashed cauliflower and chicken on a plate and drizzle with the gravy.  Eat.  Be comforted.  And enjoy!

 

Peectures!

Creamy Chicken 1

Prep your veggies!

Creamy Chicken 2

Coat the chicken with your flour mixture.  Melt the butter in a deep skillet and brown chicken well on both sides.

Creamy CHicken 3

Stir in the liquids.

Creamy Chicken 4

Add in the onions and mushrooms.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Creamy Chicken 6

While chicken is cooking, prepare your mashed cauliflower.  When the 30 minutes are up, remove the chicken and most of the veggies and set aside.

Creamy Chicken 5

Doesn’t it look deeeeeelicious already?!

Creamy Chicken 8

Whisk in a heap of mashed cauliflower into the sauce until it is thickened like a gravy.  Simmer for a couple of minutes until heated through and combined well.

Creamy Chicken 10

Heap your mashed cauliflower onto the plate, add a piece of chicken, and drizzle with your gravy sauce.  Yummyyyyyyyy.  Have I mentioned that I love this meal?!

 

Creamy Chicken 11

 

Creamy Chicken 12

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Garlicky Mashed Cauliflower

Yes.  I know.  I got accused of being weird again with this one.  Sometimes it gets interesting being a 24 year old that eats healthy food substitutions.  We’ll get teased now and then as our friends wonder why in the world we would eat mashed cauliflower when we could have mashed potatoes, or why we drink those bright green smoothies when we could get free fruit smoothies any time from my job.  But my husband…is amazing.  For one, he has turned a corner.  Mr. Rodgers has put his foot down and decided to change his life so that he can live long and live well.  Sure, we still have one “indulgence” day a week, but his passion fuels me.  And his love to research helps too so we know the affects of potatoes and such things on your body!!

And so…we eat mashed cauliflower.  Garlicky mashed cauliflower in fact.  And I must tell you, I barely miss the potatoes.  I have simply fallen in love with cauliflower.  You can do so much with it.  The flavor is fantastic in so many different ways and styles.  And it’s one “white” thing that is actually good for you!  I have multiple plans for it this week that I can’t wait to share with you!!!!

But back to this super easy, super comforting, super yummy creamy garlicky deliciousness.

 

Garlicky Mashed Cauliflower.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Lg Head Cauliflower
  • 3-5 Tablespoons Grass Fed Butter (Healthy Fat!  And creamy deliciousness!)
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 C Almond Milk (Or so!)
  • Salt and Pepper (Be generous!)

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Rinse cauliflower and cut into florets.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add cauliflower, boiling for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain cauliflower and dump into a food processor.
  4. Add butter first so that it melts.  Add garlic, salt, and pepper and pulse a few times until combined.
  5. Slowly add almond milk a little at a time, pulsing, until you get just the right creamy consistency that makes you happy!  Taste and adjust as needed, I always play with a little more of this, a little more of that.  Just like Amelia Badelia!  Any one?  Eh?
  6. Serve along side your favorite meat dish…for example, a tasty pot roast!

 

Peectures of the simple process 🙂

Photo-18

Butter, salt, pepper, garlic, cauliflower…heaven?

Photo-19

Creaaaaaaaamy!  See how I tasted it to make sure it was perfect?  Haha.

Photo-20

Make this.  Do it.  I want some right now!!

Spiced Rack of Lamb With Pomegranate and Honey over Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Sounds super fanc, right?  Well.  It is, haha.  And yes, I said “fanc” on purpose.  Apparently shortening your words when you speak is really cool, so I’m totes trying it out.

Wow.  I don’t know what just happened.  Let’s move on.

On to lamb.  I LOVE lamb. I had barely had it until this past year.  I can honestly say I only remember having it in one dish: gyros.  And even then it was not often, and usually mixed half and half with beef.  But then I made it for the first time with our Rack of Lamb with Garlicy Pesto…and my life was forever changed.  We were HOOKED.  However, because of the price tag, we don’t get to enjoy it often.  Well.  I had a little extra in the grocery budget this month.  So I bought a rack of lamb.  And did a little happy dance.  And discovered this little beauty from myfoodbook.com.  And did another happy dance.  🙂

Because of my crazy schedule, I had to wait a few days to cook this, and I almost went mad with anticipation knowing this beautiful piece of meat was waiting for me in the fridge!  But I tell you what, it didn’t disappoint!  I don’t know how I have gone without lamb for these past few months!  Yummy.

So let’s get down to it!  Just a little note….the original is served with a garlic yogurt sauce.  Mr. Rodgers and I aren’t huge fans of plain Greek yogurt.  But I mixed up the sauce in an effort to be brave and try it anyways…and then decided I didn’t want to be brave anymore haha!  Then I had an idea…which I am very thankful for.  I was already planning on serving this dish with mashed cauliflower…which I usually make creamy with sour cream.  So instead of sour cream, I just used my garlic yogurt sauce and BAM!  Garlic yogurt mashed cauliflower.  EAT IT!  No, really.  Eat it.  Do it.  You won’t regret it.

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Rack of Lamb
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Coriander
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 1 C Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 – 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Roasted Almond Flakes

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Mix together all you seasonings in a small bowl and rub all over your rack of lamb.  Set in the fridge until you are ready to cook, preferably about half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400*
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, with the coconut oil in the bottom.  We are going for a nice char, so I would make it closer to high heat than medium.  HOWEVER, if you don’t like the crispy dark crust on meat…go for more like medium.  🙂
  4. Toss in your lamb and cook about 2 minutes per side, just till you get your desired amount of char…or “brown.”
  5. Slide the skillet into your oven and cook about 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, chop your cauliflower into florets and toss into a pot of boiling water until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Mince garlic and stir into Greek yogurt.
  8. Drain cauliflower and dump into a blender, in shifts if needed.  Add half a stick of butter or so, your yogurt mixture, salt and pepper, and blend till creamy perfection.  Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and butter.
  9. Put a pile of mashed cauliflower on each plate, top with a piece of lamb or two, then sprinkle with pomegranate, almonds, and honey!!  DIG IN!  Bam!

Peectures:

Photo (9)Gather your spices and combine in a small bowl.

Photo (10)Cover that rack of lamb with that rub!!  Set in fridge until ready to cook!

Photo (11)Preheat oven to 400*.  Melt 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Photo (12)Toss in your lamb and cook about 2 minutes per side until you have your desired amount of char/brownness.  We like ours crispyyyy!

Photo (13)See?  Yes, it looks pretty dark, but it turned out perfect!  Slide into your oven and cook about 20 minutes.

Chop your cauliflower into florets and toss in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until tender.  Meanwhile mince garlic and stir into yogurt.  Drain cauliflower and toss in a blender with yogurt mixture and about 1/2 cube butter, and salt and pepper.  Blend until creamy.

Photo (14)Creamyyyyy.  Picture doesn’t do it justice unfortunately.  Now plop a big spoonful on your plate…

Photo (15)Slice lamb between bones, and place one or two on top of the mashed cauliflower…

Photo (16)Sprinkle with pomegranate “seeds,” almonds, and a drizzle of honey.  Perfection!

Photo (17)I was so worried I had over cooked it, but it turned out just how we liked it!!  This was definitely a man pleaser!

Photo (18)What do you think?

Photo (19)This not only renewed my love for lamb, it also renewed my love for pomegranate.  I had given up on pomegranate because I kept trying to drink pomegranate flavored things and never liked it.  But I gave it a try for this recipe, and realized just how wonderful and not at all like the “pomegranate flavoring” it was.  I had forgotten!

Photo (20)Yums!  Enjoy!

Creamy Caulifower Soup

Looks yummy, right?!  Today is the PERFECT day for a steamy pot of creamy soup!  However…though creamy soups are my favorite, they are usually on the bottom of the list as far as health goes.  But the rain and wind and bite in the air absolutely called for a creamy soup.  So I can not tell you how thankful I am that last night I made this Cauliflower Soup!!!  My tummy is happy…and warm!  And come to find out…it is even more tasty the next day!

I feel like the title “Creamy Cauliflower Soup” doesn’t do this recipe justice.  I think it should rather be called “Really Healthy Potato Free Low Carb Low Dairy Baked Potato Soup.”  But somehow that just didn’t flow as well.  I wonder why, hahahaha.  It does capture everything that this soup is.  My friend Sarah sent me a really great recipe from skinnytaste.com (great blog!) that was a creamy baked potato soup that is part potato part cauliflower.  Well, Mr. Rodgers and I are getting back on track you see.  The past two months have been absolute madness with me working constantly, which has meant unfortunate amounts of eating out.  Which means…we feel like death.  “Why hello heartburn, where have you been?!”

Well…the death-like feeling inspired us to start afresh this month and be really super healthy.  Starting over with rules we gathered from Maker’s Diet. Being super good.  Which means no more potatoes!  So I took skinnytaste.com’s genius recipe of reducing the potatoes…and just cut them out all the way!  Along with most of the dairy, which you are supposed to keep at 25% or less of your food intake per day.

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Head Cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or more, depending on your tastes)
  • 1 very small onion, or 1/2 a medium onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 C Chicken Broth (Possibly a few Tbsp more later if its too thick)
  • 1 1/2 C Almond Milk
  • 1/2 C Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 6 Chives, Chopped
  • 4 Slices Turkey Bacon, Crumbled (Try and some without nitrites, I found some at the health food store.)
  • Fresh shredded cheddar…just a bit for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I used lots of both!)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add your cauliflower.  Boil until very tender; about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the bacon in a pan and begin cooking it, turning a few times until it is cooked through and ready to be crumbled.  If it is not rendering enough grease, you can add a Tbsp of butter or so.
  3. Chop your chives, onion, and garlic.
  4. When cauliflower is done cooking, drain and place in a soup pot, or the same pot you already used.  Make sure it is over medium heat.
  5. Add broth and almond milk.  Bring to a boil!
  6. When bacon is done, remove from pan.  Now add the onions (not the green ones) and garlic to the bacon grease and sauté until tender.  Add to soup.
  7. Using an immersion blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  OR if you are cool like me and don’t have fancy gadgets like that…put the soup in a blender in batches and whiz until creamy.  🙂
  8. Add the sour cream and half your chives and stir in.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Garnish with more chives, some fresh shredded cheddar, and crumbled bacon…and maybe a few more cranks of fresh black pepper if you are like me 😀

 

Peectures!

Cauliflower Soup 1First, get your cauliflower boiling!  Until very tender, probably like 15 minutes.

Cauliflower Soup 2

While waiting for that to finish, start cooking your bacon.  If your turkey bacon is really lean and not rendering any fat, you can add a small amount of butter so it doesn’t burn and you have some good stuff left in to bottom of the pan, because….

Cauliflower Soup 5You are going to add your onion (not chives) and garlic to that same pan and sauté!

Cauliflower Soup 6Cook until tender and all the goodies on the bottom of the pan have been soaked up and scraped up!!

Cauliflower Soup 3When your cauliflower is done, drain and add to a soup pot.

Cauliflower Soup 4Add chicken broth and almond milk and bring to a boil.

Cauliflower Soup 7Add garlic and onions and stir in…

Cauliflower Soup 8Using an immersible blender or normal blender, whiz until smooth and creamy.  Add more chicken broth if it is too thick for your liking.

Cauliflower Soup 9Add half the chives, salt, and pepper to taste and stir in.

Cauliflower Soup 10Place in a serving dish and top with a small amount of sharp cheddar, more chives, and some of your smoky turkey bacon!!  Doesn’t that look heavenly?!  Now…dive in and enjoy….especially if you are having a rainy evening like me!! 🙂

Cauliflower Soup 11Here is mine beside a version of my Lemon Dijon Broccoli (my favorite way to eat it!!)

 

Low Carb Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (With a Southwestern Twist!)

When you were in school…I’m talking like, elementary school here…did you ever have to fill out those “about me” surveys that would ask you all of your favorite things?  Well.  I did.  I don’t remember much about them.  But I do remember one.  One questionnaire that I was filling out, stressing over the answers because, let’s face it….my indecisiveness started young.  As I sat there contemplating my feelings on colors, seasons, animals…I came to “What is your favorite food?”  Ha!  That one was easy peasy!  SHEPHERD’S PIE!

And I still adore it to this day.

However, Shepherd’s Pie as I knew and loved as I penned that answer so long ago…it may not be exactly what you are thinking of.  See, there are multiple meals that I grew up with that I had no idea my family made different.  Then when I hit 19 and moved across the country and started cooking for myself I suddenly found myself asking questions like “what do you mean you don’t put veggies in your spaghetti sauce?” and “you really don’t know what a German pancake is?”, or “you don’t put Cheez-Its in your scrambled eggs?!”  Or the question that is the subject of this post: “You don’t put taco seasoning in your Shepherd’s Pie?!”

Yes. You can mull that over for a minute.  You may not know how to feel about that, but let me tell you…it is GENIUS!  The flavors are PHENOMENAL!

Now I am grown up and trying to eat super healthy.  But the little girl in me still loves Shepherd’s Pie.  So I decided there MUST be a way to still enjoy this flawless flavor combo without the compromise on health.  We gotta kick out the starchies.  And why not try and make it meatless but still satisfying for all my veggie friends out there?!  It was a challenge I had to accept.  So here you go.  Welcome to my (very successful) experiment!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Parm
  • 1/4 C Almond Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 lb Dry Lentils
  • 3 C Frozen Mixed Veggies (Or fresh if you want to go that route.  I was just using up what was in the freezer)
  • 1/2 Onion, Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Recipe Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • 2 Cans Tomato Sauce (The small ones)
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (To taste)

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Have you made mashed cauliflower before?!  Well you’re about to!  Chop cauliflower into small florets and place in a pot of water so they are covered.  Bring to a boil and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Cook lentils according to package instructions.  You should only need to boil them about 15 minutes, but it may depend on the type of lentil you ended up with.  Just make sure they are beginning to get tender.
  4. Prepare your taco seasoning.
  5. When cauliflower is tender, drain it and quickly add to a blender or food processor.
  6. Add butter, parmesan, almond milk, and salt/pepper to taste and blend until smooth and creamy.  It should look just like mashed taters.
  7. When lentils are beginning to become tender, drain and set aside.
  8. Melt a couple Tablespoons of Coconut Oil or butter in a large cast iron skillet.  Add chopped onion and cook until tender.  Add garlic.
  9. Add mixed veggies and cook about 5 more minutes, or until veggies are also tender.
  10. Dump lentils in and stir to disperse.  Cook an additional minute or so.
  11. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce and stir in.  Reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes.
  12. Carefully spread mashed cauliflower evenly over lentil mixture.  Top with shredded cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.
  13. Slide into preheated oven and cook until cheese is melty and buttery and everything is warm through, 10-15 minutes.
  14. Enjoy my version of a family favorite!

Peectures!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 1Start your cauliflower boiling!  Simultaneously if possible, get your lentils boiling too!  Both should take about 15 minutes, but check for tenderness part way through!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 2

Drain cauliflower and place hot in a blender or food processor.  Add butter, parmesan, almond milk, salt, and pepper and whiz until you get the perfect rich and creamy texture!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 3See?  I don’t know if you can tell here, but it is almost exactly the texture of mashed potatoes!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 5Make sure your veggies and your taco seasoning is prepped.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 6

Melt a few Tbsps of butter or coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 7

Add onions and sauté until tender.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 8Add garlic and stir in.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 9

Add mixed veggies…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 10

How great are those colors, eh?  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until everything is tender.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 11

Toss in your lentils and stir…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 12

Pretty!

Add in home made taco seasoning…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 13

And tomato sauce…

Lentil Shepherds Pie 14

Stir in.  Reduce heat and let it simmer gently for a few minutes, or however long you have until dinner time.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 15

Yummmmmmmmm!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 16

Evenly spread your mashed cauliflower over top of the lentil mixture.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 17

Top with shredded cheese according to your taste and dairy convictions. 😉  Oh and don’t forget a few cranks of fresh black pepper!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 18

Slide into your 350* oven and cook until melty bubbly goodness ensues!

Lentil Shepherds Pie 19

YES.

Lentil Shepherds Pie 20

Is your mouth watering yet?!  My husband LOVED this, and he is a serious carnivore.  He told me that the taco seasoning along with the lentils gives the illusion that you are scarfing down beef!!!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!  Boom baby!!!  I hope you enjoy!