Sunday, March 09, 2014
Weekend Cooking 3/9
Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!
As I explained two weeks ago, we've been eating according to the Paleo Diet here for almost a month now (plus some extra restrictions for my son and I due to health issues). It's been challenging at times, but everyone is feeling better, even my husband who has no medical issues - he's got a lot more energy and has been very cheery (our younger son says excessively cheery in the early mornings - lol).
Finding flavorful recipes that meet the Paleo criteria (no grains, no potatoes, no legumes) is challenging. I keep a database of recipes in an Excel spreadsheet - those I want to try, those we like, etc. My "Tried and True" page had almost 300 recipes on it; the new Paleo subset I created this week has only about 90 recipes (and most of those will require extra adjustments, like leaving out rice or potatoes). Our family likes to eat a very wide variety of meals with varied flavors. So, here's what I came up with last week - these recipes are all great for Paleo and regular diets alike and very flavorful.
One night, I made one of our favorite dishes, chicken piccata, with a small Paleo adjustment: swapped out the regular flour for almond flour. It has a coarser texture but it still provided a nice coating, and our son didn't notice any difference. I served it with roasted asparagus, and then had the brilliant idea to make zucchini ribbons to take the place of the whole wheat egg noodles we usually eat with it. I brought out the mandolin I've hardly ever used and sliced the zucchini lengthwise, super-thin. My husband watched me and said, "Why aren't you using the hand guard thingy?" I said it was easier this way...and then promptly sliced a nice, thin slice off the pad of my finger! I ended up in Urgent Care to get it repaired with surgical glue...oh, and by the way, dinner was delicious!
Another night, in need of a quick and simple dinner, I sliced up some chicken Italian sausage (we like Trader Joe's brand) and sauteed it with onions, bell peppers, and zucchini, then added a bit of chopped tomatoes and oregano. I cooked up some whole wheat pasta for my son ("Thank God!" he said), but my husband and I just ate it straight - very tasty!
We had another old favorite Cooking Light recipe later in the week, Maple-Glazed Roasted Salmon, which is my family's favorite way to eat salmon. The recipe's got a bit too much sugar for my own dietary restrictions, but it's maple syrup so it's good for Paleo....and very tasty whether you are eating Paleo or not! Like many of our Paleo dinners, I served it with 2 vegetable sides, broccoli and snow peas this time.
Besides searching through my own recipe database this week, I also went through every page of my Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight! book, one of my favorite cookbooks (actually, one of the only cookbooks I use). I found only a half dozen recipes that didn't include potatoes, rice or some other Paleo no-no! I tried one of them Friday - Old-Fashioned Chicken Fricassee (this recipe was adapted for the Slow Cooker book - after pan-frying the chicken for a few minutes, put all ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on Low for 4-5 hours). Actually, this one does use 3 tablespoons of flour, and I didn't think almond flour would be a good swap in this case, so I used a bit of white whole wheat flour. It was delicious - my husband and I ate it as is, like a stew, and I made my son some reduced-fat Pillsbury biscuits for his serving.
If you are interested in some Paleo-approved treats, check out this post from my chronic illness blog which includes some Paleo brownie recipes plus other chocolate treats. I'm ready for another week of experiments!
If anyone knows of a good Paleo cookbook with a focus on flavor, I'd love to hear about it!