Paleo Bacon Beef

I got the idea for making this recipe from my Fast Paleo app when I stumbled across TGIPaleo’s Boston Baked Beef recipe. A Paleo spin on Boston baked beans (uh, yum), her recipe calls for 2-3 hours of simmer time. In the words of Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Needless to say, I made a few tweaks of my own.

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The recipe gets the basis of its flavor from unsulphured organic blackstrap molasses, a great source of nutrients like potassium, calcium, and iron – which I’m sure all of us could use more of! The kind I use is from Wholesome Sweetners, is fair trade certified, and like all blackstrap molasses ranks low on the glycemic index, giving you even more to feel good about. The addition of whole grain mustard and apple cider vinegar, or ACV, really balances out the flavor and gives the sauce quite a bit of tang. Though many of ACV’s health benefits come from its raw form as heat destroys the “mother,” it’s still a great staple to have in your kitchen to use for both cooking and everyday purposes. I actually take a 50/50 solution of Bragg’s Organic Raw ACV and filtered water in a shot glass every morning to help with digestion and balance pH levels and blood sugar – it also has the wonderful side effect of waking me up before I head out the door. So have a swig before you pour it in ;)

This is hearty take on a classic comfort food can be enjoyed over your choice of vegetable or grain, depending on how you roll. I’m trying to incorporate more glucose back into my diet so white rice, a “safe starch,” along with broccoli and peas seemed like the perfect fit. I ate the leftovers two days in a row, once cold wrapped in lettuce, and once (also cold) on its own. It’s really that good. As my boyfriend said after his first bite: “This one’s a keeper.”

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut-free
• Soy-free
• Refined sugar-free

Paleo Bacon Beef

• 1 lb ground beef (I used 96/4)
• 8 thick slices uncured bacon, diced (or more as desired)
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 2 teaspoons sea salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 6 oz tomato paste
• 1/3 cup whole grain mustard
• 2 taplespoons honey
• 1/4 c unsulphered blackstrap molasses
• 1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.
2. While the beef cooks, dice your bacon and onion. When the beef is browned, remove from heat. Let cool for five minutes and drain the drippings into a heavy bottomed pot.
3. Cook the bacon in the beef drippings until crisp. Add the onions and stir, cooking for a few minutes more until the onions start to turn translucent.
4. Add the molasses, tomato paste, mustard, honey, salt and pepper, and ACV and stir it all around, working quickly so the molasses doesn’t scorch. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until well-combined.
5. As I stated before, the original recipe says 2-3 hours but after 40 minutes mine was good to go. I think the sauce would have burned had it been much longer. So let simmer for as long as you have, checking occasionally, and serve as you wish!

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Broccoli, Cucumber, Chickpea, Tomato Salad

I haven’t felt much like cooking lately. With a two-week long heatwave and no air conditioning, it’s very easy for one to become uninspired. However, yesterday it started to cool down… with 87% humidity. No, that’s not a typo. Yes, I too thought I lived in California and NOT Florida. But I digress…

Recently I’ve been try to eat more paleo (not completely – I love a good legume, as you’ll see here!), but I wanted to make my boyfriend a delicious meal that he would enjoy but that I could eat (no gluten, dairy, or soy) while also not spending a ton of money by using things I had on hand. Chicken breasts and bacon in the freezer. A can of chickpeas in the cupboard. A bag of red onions in the pantry. Two cucumbers and a bag of spinach in the fridge. Little did I know where my inspiration would take me.

My FastPaleo app (seriously download it, 99 cents and best recipe filtering I’ve seen on a food app –including a dairy/non-dairy option!) pointed me in the direction of The Civilized Caveman’s B.O.A.R.S. Chicken Breast and then I stumbled across Martha Stewart’s Broccoli, Chickpea, and Cherry Tomato Salad… buuut seeing as I can never seem to be able to leave a recipe alone, I turned them into Bacon, Peach, Spinach Stuffed Chicken and a Broccoli, Cucumber, Chickpea, Cherry Tomato Salad, respectively.

I made the salad first and let it chill while I cooked the chicken. Though more time consuming then my normal dinner, the recipes were really delicious (IF I don’t say so myself) and I would definitely make both of them again!

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Both recipes are

• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut-free
• Soy-free

The chicken is • Paleo and the salad is • Vegetarian/vegan (and can be Paleo if you remove the chickpeas)

Bacon, Peach, Spinach Stuffed Chicken

• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 4 slices of bacon
• 2 fresh peaches, diced
• 1 large red onion, diced
• 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• handful of fresh basil leaves (5-7 leaves), torn
• sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• kitchen twine – enough for 4 chicken breasts (ask the deli section of your local grocer – they’ll probably just give it to you for free!)

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook your bacon until almost crispy, then add in the diced onion and cook until soft.
2. Add in your peaches and spinach. Once the spinach wilts, remove from heat and stir in the basil. Set aside.
3. Place a large cast iron skillet (mine’s 12″) or oven-safe sauté pan on the burner. Preheat to medium-high heat.
4. While the pan is heating, butterfly open your chicken breasts and pound them down to 1/4″ thickness with a mallet or other flat heavy object (full disclosure: I was at my boyfriend’s house [read: no kitchen tools] so I placed two layers of saran wrap over the chicken and just used a hammer). Sprinkle salt and pepper inside each breast and spread the B.B.O.P.S. reduction on the inside of the breasts, saving some for a topper if desired.
5. Preheat your oven to 350°. Tightly roll the chicken breasts lengthwise and secure with twine to make sure none of the filling comes out while you cook.
6. The pan should be nice and hot now, so go ahead and place your chicken rolls in the pan. From here, you want to sear every side of the chicken for about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes so there’s a slight char around the outside of each breast and no white spaces in between. When you get to your last side, place the pan in the oven until the chicken is cooked all the way through, another 10-15 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and garnish with the extra B.B.O.P.S. stuffing or basil leaves OR just devour them as is.

Broccoli, Cucumber, Chickpea and Cherry Tomato Salad

• 1 pound broccoli, separated into florets
• 1/2 large cucumber, diced
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small red onion, finely chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. In either a sauce pan or pot with a steamer insert, steam the broccoli until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegars, oil, and onion until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumber, and broccoli and stir to combine. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve room temperature or chilled.