Paleo Friendly&Fabulous
 
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Spaghetti Bolognese
Fall is in the air and for me that means cooking my ultimate favorite comfort food, Spaghetti Bolognese.

Usually it is a labor of love that takes 4 hours of simmering and reducing to extract as much flavor from
the ingredients so you get a very rich and meaty ragu.  In this Paleo Friendly&fabulous quick version, I’ve reduced the
cooking time to an hour and a half and I am doing away with the red wine, the 1 tablespoon of sugar I add to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes,  the cheese (parmigiano reggiano) and the heavy cream.  Instead I am using beef stock preferably homemade if you have the time to make it, organic no sugar added dates, nut cheese and almond milk as replacements.

My Bolognese sauce is a family favorite  so I was a bit worried  my husband would be able to notice a  difference in the flavor profile.  He had three helpings of this recipe and even enjoyed it with the spaghetti squash I served in place of pasta.  So here it is and hope you enjoy this pff and healthier version too.

Ingredients:
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, cut into ½ inch dice
3 ribs celery cut into 1 inch dice
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. EVOO for the pan
Kosher salt
1 lb. ground beef, 1 lb. ground veal, 1 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 cup tomato paste
3 cups beef broth, preferably home made or store bought no sugar added beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 bunch  fresh thyme tied in a bundle
¼ cup almond milk
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 spaghetti  squash (see previous post on Pad Thai for roasting instructions)
Crumbled Nut Cheese (optional -  recipe below)
EVOO for finishing

Directions:
1. Make your sofrito by pureeing the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in a food processor.

 2. Heat a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil.  Add the sofrito and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to  medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring
frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.

3. Add the ground meats and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE MEAT! Brown food tastes good!  Don't rush this step.  Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of the beef stock. Cook until the broth has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  As the broth evaporates add another cup of beef stock, continue to simmer until the broth has
evaporated in half.  Add the final cup of beef stock,  mix and let it continue to simmer until most of the
liquid has evaporated.  This is where big rich flavors develop.  If you try to add all the stock in the beginning
you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will).  Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

6. Finish ragu with ¼ cup almond milk and some freshly grated nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Serve
immediately on top of spaghetti squash or faux zucchini noodles.  Top with crumbled toasted nut
cheese.


Nut Cheese
Place 1 cup raw cashews in a bowl , add 4 cups water  and let soak for 6 hours covered.

Rinse cashews until water runs clear.  Place cashews in a food processor with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. sea
salt and ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.  Puree until smooth and has the consistency of ricotta. 
You may need to add more lemon juice, salt to taste and olive oil until you get the right consistency.  It
should be spreadable.

Spread a thin layer of nut cheese on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat and broil in the oven for 5 minutes or until it turns golden brown and dark brown at the edges.  You need to watch this so as not to burn the
cheese.

Let it cool for 15 minutes and crumble - use as topping in place of parmigiano reggiano


 
 
 
First posted on 7.2.2014
The recipe I was most excited to try from the Well Fed cookbook was Bora
Bora Fireballs.  Let me tell you - they did not disappoint!  With
flavors like pineapple, succulent pork and sweet coconut - it made me think of
Palm Trees, Tiki Torches and Ocean Breezes - what's not to be excited about!
 Juicy, spicy, meaty and sweet - these meatballs are addictive.  I
especially love the nice crunch the coconut breading gives you when you first
take a bite.  I've made this 3 times now during my whole30 experiment.
 I brought some to work and as an appetizer to my gym's summer palooza
party recently and now the recipe is being requested.
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Bora Bora Fireballs
I concocted my own special dipping sauce to go with this recipe.

 Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. plus 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. plus 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup crushed pineapple, no sugar added, packed in its own juice
2 T coconut aminos (I buy these from Amazon to replace soy sauce )
1 1/2 tsp. dried ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 scallions, white and green parts very thinly sliced
1/2 fresh jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 lbs. ground pork

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper
or aluminum foil.  Heat a large non stick skillet over med - high heat,
then add the coconut.  Toast, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until
golden brown, about 3 min.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt
and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.

2. Drain the cup of canned pineapple in a sieve
placed over a bowl to catch the juice.  Press the pineapple pulp against
the sieve with the back of a spoon to extract the excess moisture.  Place
the pineapple in a large mixing bowl and save the juice for later.

3. To the pineapple, add 1/2 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. cayenne, coconut aminos, ginger,
garlic, scallions, jalapeño and eggs.  Beat with a wooden spoon until
combined.  With your hands, crumble the pork into the bowl and knead until
all the ingredients are incorporated.  (at this point I usually will take a
small piece and cook it in the microwave to test my seasonings - season
according to taste by adding more salt if needed)

*Now comes the fun part

4. Arrange the bowls of pineapple juice, spiced toasted shredded
coconut, and seasoned pork for easy access.  Measure a level tbsp. of pork
to make a meatball, lightly douse it in the pineapple juice, then roll it in the
coconut, pressing the coconut shreds into the meat by rolling the ball between
your palms.  Do not overdo it with the breading!  Line up the
meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.

5. Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 25-30 min, until sizzling and golden
brown.

Serve with my special dipping sauce

Ingredients:

Left over crushed pineapple
Juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup left over juice of pineapple
1 Tbsp ghee or clarified butter (To
clarify butter, melt unsalted organic butter in a pan until it runs clear and
you will see the milk solids separate from the fat - strain the milk solids with
a fine sieve and you will be left with clarified butter)

Directions:

1. Puree all of the ingredients except for the ghee in a blender or food processor.
2. Heat a small saucepan over med-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp. ghee or
clarified butter to the pan.  After about 30 sec. add the pureed pineapple. 
Stir to combine and add 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. 
3. Bring to a boil then lower heat and continue to simmer until sauce begins
to thicken about 7-10 min.  Mix in 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar.
4.  Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.  Serve with meatballs. 

 
 
This is long overdue as this #pff  paleo friendly&fabulous Pad Thai has now become
 a weekly staple in my household.  It starts with what Melissa Joulwan calls her Sunshine Sauce. 
Thank you for this Melissa as I love peanut butter anything! 
One of my concern when I started my whole30 and transitioning to a
Paleo lifestyle in general,  was giving up peanut butter.   I could eat PB off a spoon and call it a meal. 
Not to mention any type of peanut sauce for dipping veggies or any type of satay.   
Naturally, one of the recipes I wanted to try immediately from the Well Fed cookbook was Sunshine Sauce. 
This is AMAZING!!!!  Use this as a dipping sauce or use this for making Pad Thai – Just try
it!  It is that good!

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Ingredients: Sunshine Sauce adapted from Well Fed
 
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coconut aminos (this is a substitute for soy sauce and I
get it from Amazon)
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (I like Organic Sunbutter no sugar added)
dash ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions:
1. Place all the ingredients except the coconut milk in the bowl of a food processor and whirl
until well blended.
2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber scraper, then add the coconut milk.
Process until it’s blended and smooth. Store covered in the fridge if not using immediately.
3. Use in Pad Thai or as a satay dipping sauce.

Note:
The organic Sunbutter contains ONLY roasted sunflowers seeds, so if you’re
very committed to avoiding added sugars, go for the organic. 






PictureRoasted Spaghetti Squash
Next up, you have to prepare your faux noodles. 
I like to use spaghetti squash and I like to roast mine al dente.   I roast the spaghetti squash at 375 degrees for 35 min.  You may cook
it longer  if you prefer a softer  texture. This can be prepared ahead
of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready for use. 
Zucchini is another great faux noodle substitute. 
Either green or yellow will work but you will need a julienne peeler
 or a spiralizer to slice through the zucchini making them look like spaghetti strands. Don’t include the seeds if using a julienne peeler as this will make for watery noodles.


 

Ingredients: Basic Zucchini Noodles Adapted From The Clothes Make The Girl
4 zucchini, julienned with a julienne peeler or spiralizer (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Place the julienned zucchini in a colander or wire strainer and toss generously with salt until the
strands are lightly coated. Allow the zucchini to sit for 20-30 minutes to remove excess water. Rinse with running water, drain well, and pat dry with paper towels. Now you have two choices: go directly to step 2 or… for
absolutely al dente noodles that do not get mushy, return the noodles to the colander and place in the fridge, uncovered, for 1-2 hours. This allows the strands to dehydrate even further.

2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the prepared zucchini noodles.
Sauté them in the dry pan until just tender, about 1-2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and drizzle the olive oil over the noodles, stirring gently to coat the strands. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Skip this step if you
are using Zucchini as your faux noodles for Pad Thai

PRO TIP! You can julienne and sweat the zucchini in advance, then store raw
noodles in a covered container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Quick pasta whenever
you need it!


PicturePad Thai Fixings
You’ve got the sauce and the noodles, now for the other
components – protein and veggies.   You can use chicken, ground pork,
shrimp or keep it vegetarian.   For veggies, I like to use sugar snap peas, red bell peppers for that pop of color and I garnish with cilantro, chopped cashews  and spring onions.    
There is quite a bit off prep work involved in making a #pff Pad Thai so this is definitely a weekend meal or you can do what I do which is to “prep”  on
a Sunday so I can just put it all together  for a quick stir fry on a weekday.   I can assure you that it is worth all the work plus you can enjoy a serving or two of this dish and not feel like you are in a “food coma” afterwards.


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#pff Pad Thai
Ingredients: for Paleo Pad Thai, serves 2 
 
1 batch Sunshine Sauce
2 large eggs
2 tsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. plus 1 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (I typically use 1 med –large size spaghetti squash) or Zucchini noodles
6-8 ounces grilled chicken thighs, diced or 1lb cooked ground pork (Sauteed with some onions until
brown and cooked)

Directions:
1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and use a fork to scramble them with the coconut aminos. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons coconut oil  to the skillet, and when it’s melted, pour in the
eggs and let them spread like a pancake. Reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid, letting the eggs cook until they’re set and beginning to brown on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and lightly brown the other side. Remove the
eggs from the pan and cut into strips with a sharp knife.

2. Using the same pan, increase heat to medium-high and add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to the pan. Sauté the onion and snap peas, stirring with a wooden spoon, until they’re crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spaghetti
squash, chicken, and cooked egg to the pan and, stirring with a wooden spoon, cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the Sunshine Sauce to the pan and stir-fry until everything is well-blended and hot. Divide among 2 bowls, sprinkle with your garnish du jour and enjoy!

Top your Paleo Pad Thai with any or all of these:
  • chopped cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds
  • chopped scallions
  • chopped cilantro
  • a squeeze of lime
  • red bell pepper strips
     

 


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#pff Pad Thai served Family Style