Oven Cooked Bacon

This is another one of those duh posts, but seriously people – if you eat bacon (which you should), then this is the best way to prepare it.  I’ve tried all kinds of bacon cooking methods, and for the last year or so, this is the only way I cook it.  I used to get so annoyed at the messy bacon splatter all over my cooktop, and this way is completely mess free… Anyways, hope this simple little method helps you guys out – I like to make a whole pack and then stick whatever we don’t eat in the fridge…. Just about 20 seconds in a fry pan on the stove over medium heat and it is hot and ready to go for the next time.  Clean up is so easy.  Throw away parchment paper, and put cookie sheet back in cupboard.  And lastly, this post is for my super awesome brother, whom I adore, but who has asked me no less than 100 times how to cook bacon in the oven.  Here you go, bro!

oven cooked bacon

INGREDIENTS:
  • Approx 10-12 slices of organic, pastured bacon
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 360F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread out bacon on cookie sheet, taking care that none of the pieces overlap.
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until desired crispness is achieved.  Bacon preference is a very personal thing, you know.  
  5. Take out of the oven, pour off grease into mason jar to be kept in refrigerator for later use (See Fats + Oils for reasons why we cook with bacon fat on a regular basis). 
  6. Eat.  
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
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Granola Bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

These are for sure one of our favorite new snack items.  All four of us love them.  They are grain-free, gluten-free, salty and sweet, and couldn’t be easier to make.  They are crunchy and chewy at the same time, too… which really is the way a granola bar should be.  These are almost vegan…. replace honey with maple syrup if you need a yummy vegan snack!

granola bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I like “Enjoy Life” brand)
METHOD:
  1. Combine nuts and seeds in food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped.  You can use any combination of nuts and seeds you want, as long as it totals 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Pour nut/seed mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Add shredded coconut and cocoa nibs and stir to combine.
  4. Add dried fruit, and stir again.  You can use any type of dried fruit as well, as long as it totals 1 cup.
  5. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt coconut oil, almond butter, honey, vanilla, and spices.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes once combined, until thick and bubbly.
  6. Pour mixture into nuts / seeds and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  7. Pour into 8×8 baking dish, lined with parchment paper and press down firmly.
  8. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top, and press into bars.  If you mix these in, they will melt and creat a gooey mess.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  So just save them for the last step and press them on top.  
  9. Put in freezer for 1-2 hours to harden.
  10. Cut into desired size bars, store in refrigerator.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Seasonal Family.

Artichoke Chicken with Mustard Vinaigrette (grain / gluten / dairy free, paleo)

I am always on the look-out for weeknight dinner recipes that are quick and easy but also delicious enough to serve to company on the weekend if I wanted to. This one fits the bill. It’s also a one pan dinner which equals quick and easy clean-up as well.

This dish has great flavor. I love the combination of the artichoke and mushroom with the mustard vinaigrette. I hope you enjoy it, too!

artichoke chicken with mustard vinaigrette, gluten grain dairy free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 organic chicken breasts (thighs/legs would do great, too)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of brown mustard 
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s basically just a fabulous blend of spices – I use it for practically everything.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper. Arrange the artichokes on the bottom of the pan, place the onions next, then the mushrooms.
  3. Lay the chicken on top of the veggies.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine and mix the mustard, garlic, oil, vinegar, wine and spices. Pour this mixture over your chicken. I let mine marinate in this for about an hour before placing it in the oven, but you certainly can skip that step.
  5. Cook for about 45 minutes. *If your chicken pieces are on the thinner side, check your chicken for doneness around the 30 minute point, you definitely don’t want to overcook it. However, the thicker pieces may need to cook for as long as an hour.
  6. Serve hot and pile all the veggie goodness on top of your chicken. Hope you like it!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from The Chew.

Cinnamon Raisin + Almond Cookies (grain / gluten / dairy / egg free, paleo, vegan)

This post is dedicated to my super amazing friend, Nicole.  Today is her 40th birthday!! She is the kindest, most thoughtful friend and I am super thankful for her in my life!  She is also a vegan, thus the dedication.  I brought her a dozen of these cookies this morning at the gym.  She thinks they are delicious, and I bet you will too!  I had a cookie like this the other day at my friend Jen made, so I tried to recreate… after quite a few test batches (too bad, we had more cookies to eat) I’m super happy with the results.  We ate them all really fast here in my house.  I usually go for chocolate, so the raisins were a welcomed break from all the chocolate!  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Raisin + Almond Cookies (grain, gluten, dairy, egg free.  vegan.  paleo)
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt) and mix until combined.  
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt coconut oil.  Add wet ingredients (syrup, almond extract, vanilla extract).  Stir to combine.  
  4. Pour wet into dry, and mix until batter thickens.  I do this step in my mixer, and I let it mix for about a minute.  The almond flour absorbs as it stirs, so give it a good stir.  
  5. Fold in raisins and sliced almonds.  
  6. Roll into balls, about ping-pong ball size.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheets, bake 8-10 minutes.  
  7. NOTE:  Makes 24 cookies.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Mexican Cauliflower “rice” (gluten / grain / dairy free, paleo)

This has become one of our favorite meals.  One thing I’ve learned since taking on this Paleo challenge is how to be creative in the kitchen.  I’ve trashed all the ideas I used to have about the way food was “supposed to be” and am learning how to cook differently. Take these tacos for example.  The shell is lettuce, the rice is cauliflower, and there are no beans or cheese.  Ok fine, there is a little tiny bit of raw goat cheese.  Couldn’t resist it. But still. My point.  Thinking outside the box has resulted in the best food ever to come out of my kitchen. As long as my spice drawer is fully stocked, and my fridge is full of meat and veggies I’m good to go. And any meal that starts with sizzling garlic and onion is gonna be good. That is just simple truth.

Bear with me a little on this recipe.  Or at least use your own creative cooking freedom. There are a lot of components to this.  They are all hard to mess up – so just go with it. Add a little more of this, a little less of that.  It will be good.  Promise.

pulled pork tacos with mexican cauliflower %22rice%22

INGREDIENTS: (pulled pork)
METHOD: (pulled pork)
  1. Put onion in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add pork roast.  Top with garlic and spices.  Fill with water until pork is submerged about half way.  Cover, turn on high, and let cook for 4-6 hours until pork is fork tender and pulls apart easily.
INGREDIENTS: (mexican cauliflower “rice”)
METHOD: (mexican cauliflower “rice”)
  1. Grate raw cauliflower either in food processor, or with handheld cheese grater.  It should be coarsely grated, like long grain rice, and not overly fine – like couscous.  If you grate it too small, it will be soggy.
  2. Heat olive oil in large sautée pan.  Throw in onion and garlic and sautée until golden and fragrant.
  3. Add cauliflower “rice” and ssautée over high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients.  Sautée on high for another 2 minutes until fully incorporated.  You may have to pour off a little extra moisture from cauliflower and tomato.
  5. Done!  Make sure not to over cook, will become too mushy rather quick.  High heat, short period of time is the way to go.  Almost like flash frying it real fast.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
  1. Set up assembly line with all your fixin’s – some options:  lettuce for shells, sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole or sliced avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro, lime slices… and don’t forget your “rice” and pork.
  2. Assemble tacos.  Consume.  I like my “rice” on the side.  Husband and bro-in-law prefer it inside the taco lettuce shell.  Doesn’t matter what you do as long as you like it.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
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Waffles (grain / dairy / gluten / sugar free, paleo)

I’ve finally found it!  Seriously, I think maybe I’ve tried 50 recipes for grain-free waffles (or pancakes) and they all suck.  One time, I tried out a new recipe when my mother-in-law was in town.  Poor thing.  They were so bad.  She of course, graciously ate them anyways, but man.  Some recipes are just bad.  Untilllllllll, these.  They taste so good, the texture is identical to their traditional counterpart, and there is literally zero added sugar.  The ingredients might surprise you a little bit, but give em a shot.  I promise they won’t disappoint. My kids have not enjoyed any of my Paleo waffle attempts until this one – they both gobbled them up! Also, they freeze beautifully, so double the batch and stick extras in freezer for a quick breakfast or on the go snack.  We just pop them in the toaster frozen, and in a couple of minutes they are ready to go.

waffles, grain, dairy, sugar, gluten free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Oil for greasing waffle iron (we use ghee or bacon fat – coconut oil would be good choice too) 
METHOD:
1.  Puree banana and apple in food processor.
2.  With whisk attachment in place on electric mixer, whisk almond butter on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
3.  Add apple/banana puree and the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the almond butter.  Whip on medium speed until fully combined.
4.  Grease hot waffle iron (do this in between each waffle to ensure they don’t stick to iron)
5.  Ladle batter into waffle iron until about 60% full, so as not to overfill the iron.  Cook approximately 4-5 minutes or until waffle is golden brown and crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.  Enjoy!
NOTE:  Makes about 6 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle iron.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Eat Like a Dinosaur.

Homemade Ketchup (gluten / sugar free, paleo)

I used to by the Costco pack of ketchup.  Yep.  The one with high fructose corn syrup, GMO sugar, corn syrup, and “natural flavors” – what does that even mean, “natural flavors”?  Then, about a year ago we switched to an organic brand, thus eliminating a few of the above ingredients, but still containing sugar.  We just did a really, really strict Paleo challenge through our gym, and weren’t able to eat any sugar.  Like none.  Not even naturally occurring fruit sugar.  Welp, husband loooooves ketchup, so I started making my own.  Everytime we ran out, I’d google ‘ketchup’ and ended up trying all different recipes. Some were good, some were so bad.  Now, I’ve taken bits and pieces from the 7 different recipes I tried and came up with my own.  It is perfect for us.  Made to taste just the way we like it.  Husband loves it still, the one kid that likes ketchup loves it, and it has converted me into a ketchup consumer.  Didn’t use to care for the stuff, but as long as it is this recipe, I like it.  Hope you like it too!

homemade ketchup, gluten free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 24 oz strained tomatoes (we use Bionature Organic brand)
  • 7 oz tomato paste (we use Bionature Organic brand)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or maple, or honey…. or completely omit like us)
METHOD:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.
2.  Allow to cool, store in air tight container in refrigerator.
3.  This recipe fills almost 2 mason jars.  It makes quite a bit.  Not sure how long it keeps because we eat it so fast, but if you are worried about it, 1/2 the recipe.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.