Well, it’s the end of January, and while I can’t say I was doing a full-fledged Whole 30 this year (it’s kind of our January tradition now), I can say that I did focus on getting back to the eating habits that had gone by the wayside over the holidays, including trying to eat Whole 30 compliant meals whenever possible and severely cutting down on my wine intake. And other than the one evening when I decided to enjoy a couple of glasses for a dinner party (and had the massive night sweats and headache the next morning as punishment), I can say I did a had a pretty good run. I’m down about 9 lbs (back into my pre-holiday range), am sleeping better, and feel much better in my clothes and about myself overall.
I was going back over old pictures earlier this month, and realized that it’s been 7 years now since we did our first Whole 30 and transitioned to a mostly Paleo diet… that’s a long time It’s also a TON of cooking. As most of my friends know, I’ve been accumulating favorite recipes to share over that time, and while it’s always nice to have reliable standards to lean on, I do have a tendency to slide into food boredom if I don’t continue to try new things.
Last night, my friends, I struck gold. It’s incredibly simple, versatile, quick, Whole 30 compliant, and all kinds of yum. The 5-star ratings in the comments are totally legit, and I can’t wait to make this again and try it with some of the other suggestions. For my initial run, I served it in a bowl with homemade guacamole and sauteed/caramelized onions, peppers and portobello mushroom slices. But I could see using it as a topping for stuffed avocados, putting it with Mexican cauli-rice, or just putting it in a Siete tortilla for a fancy Taco Tuesday. Anyway, it’s so rare that I find something that hits all the marks, I just had to share. Enjoy!
While visiting EJ’s family during our trip, we were treated to one of the foods I was introduced to early on in our relationship, Rakott Krumpli. This happens to be my absolute favorite Hungarian dish – and when his cousin set it on the table, I noticed some differences right away – first of all, it had a beautiful pink hue (a tell-tale sign of paprika sauce) where I’m generally used to simple sour cream topping, so I was expecting white. Also, it was much more moist in general – very saucy and aromatic, which is different from the somewhat dry casserole that we make at home.
After some translating help from EJ, I was able to learn that it was very close to our regular recipe, except they used mix of sausages, particularly using the local paprika-heavy sausage, and they sauteed the onions and sausage prior to baking, which produced a flavorful grease that was then mixed with the sour cream to give it its color. Of course when I returned home, I had to try it out, so here it is – straight from a family kitchen in Hungary! Enjoy!
Rakott Krumpli (Potato Casserole)
Recipe by paleosherryCourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: EuropeanDifficulty: Moderate
Hungarian potato casserole, full of hearty flavors and perfect for feeding a crowd around the holidays.
1 tbsp oil (any cooking oil works)
1 dozen eggs boiled, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 large onions, diced
2-3 lb sausage, sliced into 1/4 in thick rounds (for an authentic flavor, include at least 1 gyulai sausage)
5 lb gold potatoes (you can use russets, but the golds are more authentic)
2 15oz containers sour cream
Salt to taste
Peel all of the potatoes and place them whole into a large stockpot. Cover with water, add salt, and heat to boiling. Boil potatoes until a probe (I use a thermometer probe, but a wooden skewer works too) can be inserted all the way to the center of the potatoes. Do not overcook. Drain potatoes and set aside to cool.
While potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large pan, then add the onions and sliced sausage and cover. Saute the onions and sausage with the cover on (stirring occasionally) until the onions are soft and the sausage has released a couple of tablespoons of grease, then remove from heat.
Transfer onions and sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Then pour the remaining grease into another bowl with the sour cream and mix thoroughly.
Slice cooked potatoes into 1/2 in thick rounds (if overcooked, they won’t slice, they’ll just turn to mush)
Now that you have all of your ingredients prepped, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large, deep casserole dish (I use a lasagna pan), start by spreading a little bit of the sausage mixture on the bottom of the pan. This first layer doesn’t have to fully cover the bottom – it’s just to keep the potatoes from burning on the bottom. Now add a layer of sliced potatoes. Then smear a layer of sour cream over the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, then add a layer of boiled eggs.
Repeat the layers one more time (sausage/onion, potatoes, sour cream, salt, eggs). Then add one last layer of sausage, potatoes, sour cream and salt.
Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 mins.
Set oven to broil and watch the casserole to just get the top to brown (not burn). Remove from oven and serve.
This December, I finally took my whole family (children and their spouse/significant other) to my husband’s motherland in Budapest, Hungary. It was my third trip, and this time, I spent much more of my time enjoying the tastes and smells of the local cuisine, and paying more attention to the nuances of their dishes. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a very accomplished chef when it comes to Hungarian food, but it’s always good to go back to the source to learn some new tricks and variations to make familiar dishes just a little more special.
My first attempt at a reproduction back in my own kitchen was a beef porkolt – a perfect cold weather dish that just hits different with the fresh homemade paprika we brought back home with us. While I’m sure any paprika would work, I’m just tickled at what I ended up with and wanted to be sure to save it for myself and anyone else who’s looking for a hearty, saucy, bowl of happiness around the holidays!
Porkolt (Hungarian Stew)
Recipe by paleosherryCourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: EuropeanDifficulty: Easy
2 lb beef roast, cut into 1-2 in pieces
salt and pepper (to taste)
2 tbsp olive oil or bacon grease
2 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, cut into long thin strips
2 tbsp red wine (sub 1 tbsp vinegar for Whole 30)
1 1/2 cups beef stock (divided)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 tsp marjoram
Sour cream for topping/serving
Season steak pieces with salt and pepper. Add oil to large frying pan and brown steak pieces on all sides in batches. Set seared steak aside when done.
Add more oil as needed to pan and add diced onions and cook until golden and translucent.
Add wine and 1/2 cup beef stock to pan with onions, mixing and scraping the bottom of pan. Cook for another minute or two, then set aside to cool
In a large pot, add seared steak, onion mixture from pan, diced tomatoes, paprika, and marjoram.
Pour in more beef stock until there’s just enough to cover the meat. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour, stirring periodically.
Add the green pepper, recover and simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour.
Serve stew over noodles or cooked potatoes, and top with sour cream
Since it’s January, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has surveyed the damage done during the holidays and is looking to do some resetting of eating habits. If you’re like me, and you’re now into week 3 or 4 of focused healthy eating, you’re probably starting to miss the bold flavors and hearty meals of the holidays, and are wondering if all of this restriction is really worth it… Well before you go leaping off the rails, do yourself a favor and try this Salisbury Steak recipe. In fact, go nuts with it – I ended up adding a healthy amount of spices into the meat to keep it interesting and used cremini mushrooms, but the overall flavor and sauce was incredible and it was a resounding success at my dinner table.
This is the original PopularPaleo recipe for Bacon-wrapped crab stuffed prawns, and is one of my all-time favorites for fancy entertaining without going off the rails. Since the site appears to have gone away, I’m reposting here for reference. I went looking for this for New Years Eve, and thought others might be missing this one too!
Bacon-Wrapped Crab Stuffed Prawns (PopularPaleo)
Recipe by Ciarra from PopularPaleo.comCourse: AppetizersCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
12 large prawns, raw and shelled (I use the 21-25/pound size)
8 oz wild caught crab meat
6 slices thick bacon (free from nitrates, sugars, gluten, etc.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp coconut flour
*toothpicks are recommended
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Grab a cookie sheet and either lay a Silpat sheet down or an oven-safe cooling rack down in the sheet. The cooling rack is ideal because it will allow the heat to surround the prawn, but the Silpat will work just fine. That’s what I used.
Thaw the prawns, if frozen. Remove the shell, though leaving the tail intact is just fine. Slice lengthwise with a paring knife to butterfly without cutting completely through the prawn. Also, cut the six slices of bacon in half and set aside.
Mix the crab together with all remaining ingredients. And ready a station to assemble these tasty morsels.
Lay down a slice of bacon, place a butterflied prawn at the center, take a heaping spoonful of the crab mixture and pack it into the prawn. Wrap the bacon around the crab-stuffed prawn and secure the loose ends with toothpicks. *Note: angle the toothpicks down so they don’t catch on fire when these go under the broiler!
Space each wrapped prawn evenly on the cookie sheet (the silicone sheet or the oven-safe cooling rack) and pop it in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit), then switch to broiling on high for 3-5 minutes to achieve the ideal doneness of the bacon.
Happy Holidays, folks! I did a thing the other day, and I wanted to share my success with you all! I was looking for something different this year to provide as a paleo-friendly alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving pies, and stumbled across this Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll recipe on Pinterest.
My husband has always had a soft spot in his heart for pumpkin rolls that feature cream cheese icing, and though there were several full paleo options that featured shortening-based icings for the filling, I just wanted to stay as close to the rules as I could without going too far off the rails. The result was fantastic – a Primal Pumpkin Roll fit for a special occasion, made with lactose free cream cheese to reduce the reaction to the dairy. it was so good, my son assumed it was bought from a store instead of homemade. I’ll call that a win!
Paleo/Primal Pumpkin Roll
Recipe by paleosherryCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium
This is a paleo/primal adaptation of the Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll recipe at Ask Chef Dennis. Even though cream cheese isn’t ok on a paleo diet, I will sometimes use lactose free cream cheese to keep the flavor and minimize the subsequent discomfort.
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut sugar
2/3 c pure canned pumpkin
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-oz tubs of lactose free cream cheese (Green Valley Creamery)
4 tbsp coconut sugar
4 tbsp mable syrup
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground orange peel
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line 15×10 jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil OR line with a silicone baking mat (that’s what I did and had no issues)
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick.
Beat in pumpkin.
Stir in flour mixture.
Spread evenly into prepared pan and/or use the spatula to shape the batter into a rectangle
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel, and carefully peel off paper or silicone mat
Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Be sure to do this while the cake is still quite warm to “train” the cake to roll without cracking.
Cool on a wire rack.
Make cream cheese frosting by whipping together butter and cream cheese and then mixing in the rest of the frosting ingredients.
Carefully unroll cake; remove towel and spread cream cheese mixture over cake.
Re-roll cake, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
So once again, I am saddened to learn about one of my favorite recipe sites disappearing… this time it’s where a Moroccan Lamb Casserole recipe lived over at Eat Drink Paleo. I’m not going to say we have lamb often in my household, but when we do, this is an easy slow cooker recipe that requires very little effort and ends up with a fantastic result. For posterity and future reference, I’m sharing the recipe here so others can enjoy along with me!
UPDATE! Turns out the original author didn’t go away, but instead migrated to a whole new site… found it! In general, I always prefer to link to the original creators if I can. It’s only fair since we all get to benefit from their genius!
Oh no! Another one of my favorite Paleo recipe sites appears to have gone offline. I hope it’s temporary, but just in case it isn’t, I’ve preserved my favorite quick Paleo treat recipe so it doesn’t go away forever. We’re still finishing up our standard January recovery, but once we head towards Valentine’s day, you can be sure I’ll be making some of these!
Almond Butter Bars
Recipe by FastPaleo.comCourse: Recipes
A quick and easy paleo treat reminiscent of Reese’s cups.
½cup almond butter
½ cup clarified butter or coconut oil
1 ¼ cup blanched almond flour
1 ¼ cup organic coconut sugar
1 ½ cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons almond butter
In a medium bowl, stir together the almond butter, butter, almond flour and sugar until it is completely combined. Press the mixture evenly into a 9 inch square baking dish.
In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of almond butter. Melt in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, stir and repeat until the chips are completely melted.
Pour the melted chocolate over the almond butter base and spread it into a thin layer.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Cut into 32 bars and serve chilled.
Happy Holidays, folks! I don’t know about you all, but the only positive that I have been able to pull from this year’s Covid Christmas season is that I’ve had more time for holiday baking. In a normal year, I’d be so busy every weekend from Halloween to New Years, that I’d be lucky if I could find one solid afternoon to make a cookie or two and that would be it, but this year, I think I’ve baked at least 2 batches of something every weekend for the last 3 or 4 weeks. That means that I finally perfected the conversion of my mother’s Orange Spritz Cookie recipe (my perpetual favorite) to a paleo recipe. If I’m not mistaken, the original recipe came from Wilton in the little booklet for their electric cookie press back in the 70s or 80s. My mother would pull out that little appliance every year and make these cookies in triple batches so that we could share with neighbors and friends. You can find a modern version of the recipe that uses all butter and no shortening, but the original had both and produced a lightly crispy cookie (rather than chewy), which is what I always loved about them. Nowadays you can’t find the electric press, but you can get a manual cookie press from Michaels, or most stores that carry cake and cookie decorating supplies.
It’s taken 3 or 4 tries to get it right, but I’ve now used this paleo version twice with consistent results. Note that to keep it paleo, you should forego the red and green sugar sprinkles that the original recipe called for, but I won’t judge if you go for it anyway.
Paleo Orange Spritz Cookies
Recipe by paleosherryCourse: DessertCuisine: EuropeanDifficulty: Medium
My favorite holiday treat made paleo.
1/2 c butter (softened, but not melted)
1/4 c palm shortening
3/4 c maple sugar
1 large egg
1 c almond flour
1 c tapioca flour
6 tbsp coconut flour (divided)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp orange extract
1 tbsp ground orange peel
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix almond, tapioca, 2 tbsp of coconut flour, and salt together in a bowl and set aside
Mix butter, shortening, sugar, and egg in mixer until well combined.
Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until all ingredients are combined. Dough will be stiff.
Add extract and orange peel
Let dough sit for about 5 minutes and add the other 4 tbsp of coconut flour.
Let sit again another 5 minutes before loading dough into cookie press.
Press cookies onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (as close together as you can with the press is fine. they don’t spread much). If the dough isn’t stiff enough for the press, try adding another 2 tbsp of coconut flour to the dough and letting it get absorbed before trying again. If it’s too stiff, you can add a tbsp of water.
[Optional] add sprinkles to each cookie
Bake for 10-12 mins until edges look lightly browned. Cookies will crisp when cooled.
It’s been a long time since I posted a new article, but in my absence, the world has been doing a lot of changing. What hasn’t changed, is E.J. and my commitment to paleo eating, and we’ve been relying quite a bit on the favorites we’ve accumulated over the last few years and put over on the Favorite Recipes page to keep us on track even in the strangest of times.
You may have noticed one or two additions in the last year or so on that favorites page – and even a few that have disappeared. Unfortunately, the Internet is a fluid thing, so when I detect that a favorite recipe has disappeared from its original host, I’ve been posting my own copy of the recipe so my friends can continue to use this site as a hub for tried-and-true Paleo recipes.
As far as sticking to the plan goes, we’ve been pretty good…. I’ll admit to enjoying more than a few non-compliant glasses of wine over the last 6 months, and we may have leaned a little heavier on the Paleo chocolate chip cookies, but overall we’ve been able to basically maintain or at least only experience minimal backsliding into old habits.
That being said, we managed to enjoy a socially-distanced 2 week vacation where we overlanded/car camped up one side of the Rocky Mountains and down the other side, and that much sitting over that long a time is bound to put on a few pounds. So, we are now going into the 4th week of another Whole 30, and things are starting to right themselves in our health and weight again.
In fact, I think we’ve really upped our game when it comes to Whole 30 meals this time, and I’ve discovered some new recipes that I think are worth sharing with my fellow paleo peeps because they’re so healthy and don’t compromise on flavor, so here goes:
If you’re looking for a simple but flavorful side dish for a special occasion that falls during your Whole30, check this one out: