Crunchy, Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Recipe

Roasted Chickpeas

Snacks: arguably the centerpiece of mainstream American food culture. Crunchy, salty, sweet, bite-sized, addictive finger-foods. Potato chips, rice cakes, cheese crackers, pita crisps, bagel chips, Oreos, Doritos (Cool Ranch used to be my jam). These foods are not just beacons of the collective American childhood, they’re also staples of most adult American diets.

So it’s no surprise that snacking can be tough when you’re trying to avoid processed foods, foods made with grain, and nutrient-lacking white potatoes.

Enter the glorious chickpea. More specifically, the glorious chickpea of the rinsed, spiced, and roasted variety.

ChickpeasI can’t overstate my gratitude for these tasty toasted beans—they’ve saved me from many a potato chip craving, and they do it with a perfect snack-food flair. Think: all the flavor and crunch of spicy, kettle-cooked potato chips, but without the greasy, overly salty, soon-to-be-regretted health detriments. In fact, chickpeas are renowned for their unique supply of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and protein. Multiple studies have also associated chickpeas with increased levels of satiety, meaning that they make us feel fuller for longer.

But anyway, I digress. This isn’t a nutrition blog. It’s a delicious-recipes-to-put-in-your-belly blog. So I’ll tell you something more on message. The equation for perfectly roasted chickpeas is quite simple: fierce seasonings + high heat. After that, it’s up to you to devour this delectable finger-food however you see fit. Now put down the bag of Doritos and slowly back away…

Crunchy, Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Recipe
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 can chickpeas (we like to use Goya brand)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pour chickpeas into a mesh colander. Rinse under cold water for about 30 seconds. Shake out excess moisture.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine chickpeas, olive oil, cayenne pepper, chili powder, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Stir well, coating chickpeas thoroughly in seasonings.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread chickpeas out in a single layer on parchment paper.
  5. For extra crunchy chickpeas -- the way we like them! -- roast chickpeas at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula halfway through cooking time to ensure even roasting.
  6. If you prefer the chickpeas a bit softer but still crispy, roast them for about 30 minutes, and then check them every few minutes until you achieve your desired consistency. Either way, chickpeas should be golden brown and crisp to the touch when finished.
  7. Let chickpeas cool for a few minutes before serving. Eat them plain as a delicious snack, or add them to your favorite salad or meal as a crunchy side dish.
  8. NOTE: It's normal for the chickpeas to make "popping" sounds while they roast, like popcorn does in the microwave. A few of them might even jump off the baking sheet. Just be sure to check the bottom of your oven for runaway chickpeas once you're done roasting!

Roasted Chickpeas

How did you like this roasted chickpeas recipe? Let us know!

Xo,
S

Perfect Grain-Free Chicken Parmigiana Recipe

parmesan

There comes a time in everyone’s life when only a plate of crispy, cheesy, sizzling hot chicken parmigiana will do. For me, that time comes pretty frequently. In fact, it came just yesterday, and I’m willing to bet it’ll be here again by tomorrow.

The trouble with these sudden-onset chicken parmigiana cravings is two-fold. First, chicken parmigiana isn’t normally a dish you can whip up on a whim, as it requires a hearty, typically homemade tomato sauce. And second, chicken parmigiana relies on perfectly crispy, breaded chicken to achieve its unparalleled yumminess—something that’s notoriously difficult to replicate without succumbing to the temptation of Italian breadcrumbs, which we don’t do in the Grain-Free Love kitchen. But yesterday, I solved both of these issues. Eliminated them completely. Bye bye, two-fold chicken parmigiana problem.

sauceee

Today, you’re going to do the same. And then you’re going to sit back, congratulate yourself on making a ridiculously good meal in a scandalously short amount of time, and tuck into a hearty meal of grain-free chicken parmigiana.

The grain-free “breading” mixture used in this recipe (half almond flour, half tapioca flour) makes for a golden-fried, crispy chicken bursting with spices like thyme, oregano, black pepper, and garlic. And instead of spending an hour making homemade tomato sauce, I’ve given you a quick, tasty way to doctor up your favorite jarred sauce with red wine, onions, garlic clove, and parmesan. And it all takes just 30 minutes.

Now go forth and conquer your chicken parmigiana cravings!

Perfect Grain-Free Chicken Parmigiana Recipe
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine (any bottle you have on hand will do the trick)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (we highly recommend using this 4-cheese sauce by Rao's)
  • 1 medium or half a large onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. dried parlsey
  • 1 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan & Romano mixture
  • Generous pinches of: salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Lay chicken breasts out on a large cutting board. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Using a hammer or a rolling pin, pound out chicken until very thin, less than ¼-inch thick.
  2. On a large plate or shallow bowl, combine tapioca flour, almond flour, and pinches of salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder. Stir together throughly with a spoon.
  3. Next, dredge each chicken breast in the flour mixture, making sure each chicken is thoroughly coated. You might need to use your hands to pat the mixture down into the skin of the chicken. Don't be shy! You can wash your hands as soon as you're done. ;)
  4. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add olive oil and butter.
  5. Once oil and butter have melted, add both chicken breasts to your hot pan.
  6. Fry each chicken breast until crisp and golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Be careful when flipping the chicken, because the "breading" can be prone to peeling off. Use a non-stick spatula and employ quick, sure movements to flip each breast. If chicken starts to burn or oil begins to smoke, turn the heat down to medium-high.
  7. Set browned chicken aside on a plate, and place it inside a turned-off oven or microwave to retain some heat while you move on to the next steps.
  8. Add your chopped onions and minced garlic to the same pan where you cooked the chicken. Don't clean the pan first! You want all the leftover buttery goodness that comes from frying chicken to flavor the onion and garlic. Stir onion and garlic with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat.
  9. Add red wine to onions and let reduce for about 2 minutes.
  10. Next, add 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce. Let cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add a large pinch of Parmesan & Romano mixture (about 1 Tbs.) to your sauce and stir.
  12. Place cooked chicken on top of sauce. Sprinkle tops of the chicken generously with cheese mixture, covering each chicken breast.
  13. Place the lid on the pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through.
  14. Serve immediately, plating chicken on top of sauce and garnishing with dried parsley. Serve with extra cheese on the side. Mangia!

Grain-Free Chicken Parm

How was this grain-free chicken parmigiana recipe? Let us know!

Xo,
S

Baked Sweet Potato Paleo Home Fries Recipe

SweetPotatoPlate

I’ll be the first to admit that mornings are not my favorite. Not my favorite. At. All. But if there’s one thing that’s always had the power to make me get out of bed (besides a free puppy), it’s the smoky-sweet aroma of home fries crisping in the oven.

Luckily for me, I live with a guy who loves to get up each morning before I do, and he just so happens to cook the crispiest, tenderest, tastiest paleo sweet potato home fries in the history of mankind.

I understand that sounds like hyperbole, but I promise you: it’s hyperbole well-earned. Over the years, Marc and I have slowly perfected his home fry recipe, trying out literally dozens of spice mixtures, cooking oils, and baking times. Here, I’m sharing with you the sum of the hard work we’ve done to perfect the elusive paleo home fry. For it is very hard work to bake and eat delicious, crispy home fries so many mornings in a row. Most difficult work, indeed.

Sweet Potatoes

My favorite part about sweet potato home fries is that their inherent sweetness balances perfectly with a kick of spice (from the cayenne pepper) and the savory elements (pepper, garlic, and salt) of the dish. Paired with fried eggs, breakfast sausage, and bacon, these home fries always make me feel like I’m devouring a major cheat meal.

If that’s not grain-free cooking success, then I don’t know what is.

Baked Sweet Potato Paleo Home Fries Recipe
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 pinches of cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise once. Then slice widthwise into small, thin cubes. Try to make all of the cubes roughly the same thickness, so that they all cook at the same rate.
  3. TIME SAVER, STEP 1: If you're running short on time, as we often are during breakfast time, you'll want to microwave your sweet potatoes before placing them in the oven. Simply place your sweet potato cubes onto a large, microwave-safe plate, and microwave for about 5 minutes, until sweet potato is tender but still firm.
  4. TIME SAVER, STEP 2: Place microwaved sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl, and add olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix with a wooden spoon.
  5. TIME SAVER, STEP 3: Place seasoned home fries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes. Midway through cooking time, toss home fries with a spatula to help them brown on all sides. Before removing from oven, broil on high for a few minutes, keeping watch to prevent home fries from burning. When finished, home fries will be golden brown, crispy outside, and tender inside.
  6. If you have some time to spare, you'll want to avoid the microwave (it can make the home fries taste just a tad less freshly baked, after all) and get those sweet potatoes straight into the oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet after slicing them up, seasoning them with cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, and mixing in the olive oil.
  7. Bake un-microwaved home fries at 450 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Midway through cooking time, toss home fries with a spatula to help them brown on all sides. Finish under a high broil for a few minutes, watching to make sure the home fries don't burn. Serve immediately with organic ketchup, fried eggs, and your choice of sausage or bacon. (Or use them as a scrumptious side dish at lunch or dinner!) Good morning, afternoon, and evening to you!

Sweet Potatoes

Let us know how much you loved these paleo sweet potato home fries! More breakfast recipes coming soon, straight from Marc’s early-morning cooking pan to your lovely kitchen.

Xo,

S

 

 

 

Crispy, Fluffy Paleo Waffles Recipe with Fresh Berries

Paleo Waffles

Marc and I agree on most important things (dogs, not cats; city, not country) but there’s one giant disagreement that towers over us in the kitchen, and follows us out the door every morning. The question is simple: Savory or sweet? For me, the answer is always, unequivocally, savory. But—as you might have guessed—Marc has an utterly overpowering sweet-tooth.

While Marc will gladly take you up on that mint-chocolate-chip ice cream after dinner, I’m likely to turn you down on the off-chance that somebody starts giving away free samples of cheese. Irrational and improbable, I know, but what can I say. The hint of a possibility of brie makes me weak in the knees.

So what does all this have to do with waffles? Well, it turns out that waffles are my Achilles heel, my one weak spot when it comes to sweet-toothery. Ever since I was little, I’ve never been able to resist a delicious, golden, crisp, and fluffy Belgian waffle, smothered in maple syrup, topped with a creamy cloud of whipped cream, and sprinkled with fresh berries. They’re so good, they actually make me forget about cheese for minutes on end. Quite an accomplishment.

Paleo Waffles

It goes without saying that I’d want to replicate my Belgian waffle utopia in our grain-free kitchen. But it wasn’t easy. First, there was the fact that we didn’t own a waffle maker. Second, we didn’t have a recipe.

Then, just this past month, Marc remedied the first problem when he went out and bought me a state-of-the-art Belgian waffle maker. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about a present in my life. The recipe came next, after much trial and error, and it turned out to be crispier and fluffier than we ever imagined a paleo waffle could be.

So if you ever catch me eating these waffles, go ahead and ask me: “Savory or sweet?” It’s probably the only time I’ll ever tell you the latter.

Crispy, Fluffy Paleo Waffles with Fresh Berries
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly pureed
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • Whipped cream
  • 3 Tbs. butter, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat an electric skillet to 300 degrees, or place a large stove-top skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine bananas, eggs, almond butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Spray both sides of waffle maker generously with cooking spray. This is a really important step, because this paleo batter is way stickier than regular waffle batter.
  4. Pour batter into waffle maker, making sure to pour it all the way up to the edges of the pan. With regular waffle batter, you usually want to leave space for the waffle to expand, but this batter won't expand like regular waffles do. So, be sure to pour the batter right up to the edges!
  5. Cook your waffles according to your waffle maker instructions; each waffle maker varies. Ours cooks a perfect paleo waffle in about 4 minutes.
  6. While waffles cook, combine pureed strawberries with pure maple syrup in a small bowl. Mix.
  7. To serve, top waffles with butter slices, smother with whipped cream and fresh strawberry maple syrup, and sprinkle with fresh blueberries and blackberries.

Paleo Waffles

How’d you like these crispy, fluffy paleo waffles? Let us know! And don’t forget to rate this recipe on your way out. Happy eating!

Xo,
S

Pistachio-Encrusted Lamb Chops Recipe with Spicy Mint Yogurt

Pistachio-Encrusted Pork ChopsWhen it comes to meat, lamb is like my soul mate. What else do you expect from a Greek girl? I come from a long line of expert spit-roasters, whose front yards doubled as lamb-roasting arenas for every conceivable occasion.

While I suspect that working a lamb on a roasting spit might come naturally to me—just like singing probably comes easily to Blue Ivy—I have absolutely no interest in finding out. Instead, I’ve always been content to let the restaurants (or my mother) do the lamb-cooking themselves. I just do the eating.

To tell the truth, I’d never even ventured to buy lamb at the supermarket before this week. While there were many times that I’d almost do it, I’d always end up being too afraid of failing to cook it well: What if I couldn’t even cook the very meat that my ancestors had mastered for generations?

Well, as you’ve probably inferred from the very existence of this post, I needn’t have worried. And neither should you, if you happen to be scared of cooking lamb for any reason at all. This recipe for pistachio-encrusted lamb turned out to be, hands-down, the best meal we ever made. Opa!

Paleo Breadcrumbs

First off, the pistachio crust is an explosion of crispy, crunchy spice. The pistachio base makes for an incredible breadcrumb substitute that can be used on fish, chicken, pork, and beef, in addition to lamb.

In this case, it creates a nutty, earthy exterior to the perfectly seared and roasted lamb. By seasoning the lamb, letting it rest, searing it, and then roasting it, the meat is tenderized and imbued with an incredible amount of flavor for such a short span of time.

The mint yogurt offers a great balance of cool and spicy flavors to complement the lamb chops. It only takes a few minutes to make this delicious combination of spices, cucumber, mint, and yogurt, but it’s going to stay on my meal rotation for a long, long time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tell my mother that I’ve finally found my inner Greek cook.

Pistachio-Encrusted Lamb Chops with Spicy Mint Yogurt
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • For chops:
  • 6 small lamb chops
  • ½ cup pistachios, shelled
  • ½ Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. Creole seasoning (We use this mixture by Emeril Lagasse. It's worth making a batch and keeping it in your pantry. It's delicious and well-balanced!) If you don't have time to whip up this seasoning mix, then you can just use the following instead: ¼ tsp. onion powder, ¼ tsp. thyme, and a pinch of dried oregano.
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • For yogurt:
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (We like to use Chobani 0% fat.)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tbs. fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • ½ an English cucumber, chopped
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of sugar (We like to use Truvia instead.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for the spicy mint yogurt. Set aside.
  3. Combine pistachios and spices for lamb chops in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  4. Season lamb chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes before cooking. (This is a great time to have a glass of wine or send off your final e-mail of the night!)
  5. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with olive oil.
  6. Once oil is hot, add the lamb chops. Take care not to crowd them. If you need to, cook the lamb chops in batches of 3 to prevent overcrowding.
  7. Sear each lamb chop for about 2 minutes on each side.
  8. Transfer seared chops to a baking sheet. Let cool for 2 minutes.
  9. Next, coat your lamb chops with the pistachio mixture. Hold each lamb chop by the bone end, rolling each side of the lamb chop in the mixture until thoroughly coated. Then place coated lamb chops back on the baking sheet.
  10. Roast chops in the oven for 5 minutes. The tops of the chops should be a light golden-brown, and the inside should be a beautiful dark pink medium-rare.
  11. Serve chops with the spicy mint yogurt, and enjoy!

Lamb Chop Recipe

How’d you like these lamb chops with spicy mint yogurt? Shoot us a message to let us know, and be sure to rate this recipe on your way out! Happy cooking!

Xo,
S

 

 

Golden Paleo Pancakes Recipe with Fresh Strawberry Maple Syrup

Paleo Pancake Recipe

Ah, pancakes. Sweet, sweet pancakes. A mouthwateringly delicious loophole in the breakfast food paradigm, pancakes essentially allow us to eat dessert for breakfast. But they are, very sadly, not grain-free. Not grain-free at all.

Until now.

The day Marc and I set out to make our first batch of paleo pancakes was like the first day of the rest of our lives. Seriously: This recipe totally changed our perspective on grain-free desserts, sweet breakfast foods, and all other batter-and-baking matters. A real life-changer.

Paleo PancakesThese Golden Paleo Pancakes are crisp around the edges, fluffy inside, and so light on the tummy that you won’t have to succumb to the ole “I just ate pancakes so there goes my day!” routine. Ripe bananas give these pancakes their moist, smooth texture. A generous sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg adds some perfectly balanced spice, while the almond butter and eggs combine to create a deliciously fluffy pancake batter.

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably pretty skeptical about how tasty a grain-free pancake can really be. Before perfecting this recipe, we were straight-up non-believers, too. “Pancakes without flour?” we asked. “Is that even possible?” We surmised that while it might be possible, it definitely wouldn’t be good.

Au contraire. But please, don’t take it from me. Take a gander at the photos and then run to the kitchen to whip up your new favorite dessert…I mean, breakfast.

Golden Paleo Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Maple Syrup
 
Prep time
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Serves: 2 to 3
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly pureed
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbs. butter, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat an electric skillet to 300 degrees, or place a large stove-top skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine bananas, eggs, almond butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Grease skillet with cooking spray and pour batter to make 4- to 5-inch pancakes.
  4. Let each side get nice and golden-brown before flipping, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. While pancakes are cooking, lightly mix together maple syrup and fresh strawberry puree in a medium-sized bowl.
  6. To serve, stack pancakes, top with butter slices, and smother with fresh strawberry maple syrup.

Paleo PancakesLet us know how you like these Golden Paleo Pancakes, and check back soon for these upcoming sweet, grain-free breakfast recipes: Perfect Paleo Blueberry Pancakes and Crispy, Fluffy Paleo Waffles. Yes, I said waffles. Get excited.

Xo,
S

Grain-Free Pizza Recipe with a Crunchy, Crispy Crust

Grain-Free Pizza Recipe

You could say that this is the recipe that started it all. About a year and a half ago, Marc and I were struggling with a familiar craving: We wanted pizza for dinner. And we wanted it bad. The problem was that we couldn’t justify eating a pizza, since we both always felt so sick after splurging on our favorite food.

Now, this was back before we had become regular grain-free cooks, and we were only just starting to realize what amazing grain substitutes there were out there. We didn’t even know how to begin to create a grain-free pizza at home.

But that night, the stars aligned. We jumped into the research, hit the market, and got to work on our first-ever Grain-Free Pizza Flatbread with a Crunchy, Crispy Crust.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Paleo Pizza RecipeThis pizza crust is—hands down—the best grain-free crust we’ve ever encountered. Frankly, we like it way better than regular pizza crust. The dough takes on a heavenly texture from the mixture of tapioca flour, coconut flour, and eggs.

By the time it comes out of the oven, the crust is golden-brown, crispy, crunchy, and so sturdy that you can hold up slices of the pizza with one hand without having it flop over—that’s quite a feat for a grain-free pizza!

We like to top our pizza with fire-roasted tomatoes, pepperoni, yellow pepper, onion, mushrooms, and fresh basil leaves. Feel free to get creative and make it your own!

Grain-Free Flatbread Pizza with a Crunchy, Crispy Crust
 
Prep time
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Serves: 2 to 3
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1½ cups tapioca flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups canned fire-roasted tomatoes, pureed and then strained through a mesh colander
  • 2½ cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of choice. We like to use:
  • ¼ cup pepperoni slices
  • ¼ cup sliced yellow pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine water, coconut oil, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Once mixture is boiling, turn off the heat and quickly add garlic powder and tapioca flour to the saucepan. Stir together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. At this point, the dough will feel a bit gummy and won't look like regular pizza dough; that's perfectly normal!
  5. Set saucepan away from heat and let the dough mixture cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, add eggs. Stir with wooden spoon to combine, using hands to knead the egg into the mixture, if needed.
  7. Add coconut flour to the mixture, kneading the dough for about 4 minutes, until it begins to feel more like regular dough.
  8. Knead dough into a large, smooth ball and place it on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  9. Using a rolling pin (and hopefully an extra pair of helping hands!) roll out the dough until it spans your entire baking sheet. This dough can be spread extremely thin; in fact, the thinner, the better. Don't worry about any small holes or transparency in the dough. It will actually be crispier that way.
  10. Bake dough for 35 minutes, or until the edges are golden-brown and dough is slightly crisp to the touch.
  11. While dough bakes, take all vegetable toppings (except for fresh basil leaves, if using) and toss them in olive oil, seasoning to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  12. Remove dough from oven and spread fire-roasted tomato puree over the dough, all the way up to the edge of the crust.
  13. Top tomato sauce with cheese and other toppings.
  14. Return pizza to oven and broil on high for 10 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure toppings don't burn.
  15. Remove pizza from oven and garnish immediately with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Grain-Free Pizza

Foodie tip: If you’re cooking for one, just cut this recipe in half! It makes the perfect individual serving…and might leave you with one or two slices left over for lunch the next day.

Let us know how you enjoyed this grain-free pizza! We’d love to hear what toppings you chose for your first at-home, grain-free pizza creation.

Xo,
S

Spinach & Almond Pesto Chicken Roulade Recipe

Chicken Roulade Recipe

My love affair with pesto didn’t come easily. For years, I avoided any dish that included the stuff. I’d even scrape it off of sandwiches, request pesto-free pastas, and eat around it if it ever made it onto my plate. A few years ago, something changed. I don’t know what it was that changed, but I think we can all agree that it was for the best.

Because pesto is freaking awesome, scientifically speaking.

Now I feel like someone who was formerly forced to live in a Hunger Games-esque arena where pesto was strictly banned for reasons I couldn’t quite understand, and the ban has been suddenly lifted. Hallelujahs! echo across the sky and the sun spills down. I have absolutely no self-control whatsoever. I want pesto. And I want it all the time. On everything.

Pesto Chicken RecipeDuring one of my many pesto-crazed cooking episodes this week, I was almost brought to tears when I realized that we were all out of basil and pinenuts, my two pesto-best-friends. Panic set in, of course. But then I slowly remembered that pesto is a technique, not a basil-specific food—although we see it most often with basil, since it tastes so delish.

Pesto simply refers to the method of grinding up into a paste. So I grabbed some fresh spinach leaves and sliced almonds that we had on hand. And I got to work. This Spinach & Almond Pesto Chicken Roulade was the result. And it’s a keeper.

The pesto is packed with nutty, fresh flavor, and the saltiness of the Parmesan makes it so scrumptious that I want to eat it by the spoonful. But instead, I exercise a modicum of rare pesto-self-control and spread it over thinly-pounded chicken breasts, roll them up in fancy roulades, and crisp them up to a savory golden-brown.

The result is an impressive-looking dish that looks way more complicated that it actually is. The simple pan sauce really kicks it up a notch too, adding a buttery, lemony, white wine jus to the equation. Ok, now I’m drooling. Time to go make some more…

Spinach & Almond Pesto Chicken Roulade
 
Prep time
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • For roulade and pesto:
  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2½ Tbs. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • For pan sauce:
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Lay chicken breasts on a large cutting board. Cover with plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin or meat pounder, pound each breast until very thin -- less than ¼-inch thick.
  3. Next, season each piece of chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. In a food processor, combine spinach, almonds, cheese, garlic clove, olive oil, and salt. Pulse until relatively smooth. Taste and season more, if needed.
  5. Using a small spatula or spoon, scoop pesto onto the chicken breasts, spreading the mixture in a thin layer to completely cover each breast.
  6. Now it's time to roll up the chicken. Roll each chicken breast lengthwise, tightly, until it's completely closed up. Take care to keep as much pesto inside as possible. Now you have your roulades made! How fancy of you.
  7. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cover pan surface with about 1 Tbs. olive oil.
  8. Once oil is hot but not smoking, add the roulades to the pan. Sear until lightly golden-brown on each side of the roulade, about 8 minutes total. Chicken will be seared on the outside but still uncooked within.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and add seared roulades to the sheet. Place in the 450-degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  10. While roulades bake, return to the sauté pan to make your pan sauce. Over medium-high heat, add the white wine, lemon juice, minced garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce reduce for about 5 minutes.
  11. Remove cooked roulades from the oven. Plate them and spoon pan sauce generously over the top. To serve, garnish plates with lemon wedges and sprinkle the dish with shaved Parmesan. Enjoy!

Spinach Pesto Recipe

Let me know how this pesto-roulade turned out for you! I always love to hear about your cooking adventures. Be sure to leave a comment and rate this recipe using the star system below. Happy pesto-obsessing!

Xo,
S

Fall-off-the-Bone Beer-Braised Short Ribs Recipe

Short Rib RecipeThis post is essentially one deep, floor-grazing bow at the throne of Smitten Kitchen, as I kiss the ground that Deb Perelman walks on. Perelman’s amazing cookbook introduced me to this flawless short rib recipe, and gave me the courage to try to make a dish that had always intimidated me. Not anymore! So even if you’ve never braised anything in your life—or you’re not quite sure what braising even is—give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed, and everyone at your table will be impressed, guaranteed.

Braised Short Rib RecipeI highly recommend pairing this recipe with a side of Creamy Horseradish Cauliflower & Parsnip Puree. It’s the perfect consistency for absorbing that delicious braising liquid, and adds great texture diversity to the meal—just like creamy mashed potatoes would. Mmm. That said, you should feel free to make any of your favorite side dishes to accompany these ribs; they go well with virtually anything.

I’d also like to state, for the record, that my Dad said these short ribs were “better than any restaurant short ribs I’ve ever had.” Just trust me when I tell you that I’ve never heard him say something like that before. These ribs are just so good, they make dads say the darndest things…and mean them.

Fall-off-the-Bone Short Ribs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 5 lbs. bone-in short ribs, separated between each bone
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bottles dark beer, such as black lager
  • Beef stock
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper on each meaty side. Don't be shy!
  3. Place a large, deep pan or Dutch oven over high heat. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
  4. Let the oil heat up for about a minute, and then begin placing short ribs in the pan.
  5. Working in batches so that short ribs don't get over-crowded, sear the meat on each side until golden-brown. After each batch finishes, set seared short ribs aside on a plate.
  6. Once you have a golden-brown sear on all short ribs and set them aside, turn the heat down to medium.
  7. Pour off all but one tablespoon of the oil and fat in the pan. Then add the chopped red onion to the pan.
  8. Season red onion with salt and pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until onion is tender and slightly browned.
  9. Add smashed garlic cloves and sauté for another 3 minutes.
  10. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute or two, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and beer.
  12. Next, add the short ribs to the pan.
  13. Add just enough beef stock to cover the short ribs.
  14. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil, and then place cover on top.
  15. Bake for 3 hours, until short ribs are tender and flake apart easily with a fork.
  16. Remove from oven and rest for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  17. Remove short ribs from braising liquid and spread out on a baking pan. Place pan in the oven to keep short ribs warm and brown them some more while you prepare the sauce.
  18. Strain the braising liquid into a saucepan and simmer it over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  19. To serve, place parsnip puree (see recipe below) on plate, top with short ribs, and then ladle with sauce.

Short RibsNow that you’ve got the most amazing short rib recipe under your belt, don’t forget to click on over to that ultimate short rib companion dish: Creamy Horseradish Cauliflower & Parsnip Puree. Yum and yum.

Xo,
S

 

 

Paleo Honey-Maple Pumpkin Banana Bread Recipe


Paleo Banana Bread Recipe

This October, as we prepared to host our first-ever Halloween party as Reno 911’s Lt. Dangle and Hollywood darling Marilyn Monroe, Marc and I realized we had forgotten the most important party decoration of all: a pumpkin. With minutes to spare before guests arrived, he rushed to our local neighborhood market and lugged home a monster gourd. It was impressive, if not half the size of our apartment. And so, after Halloween came to its usual sad end, we were left with a whole lotta pumpkin. Six pounds of it, to be exact. This melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin banana bread was our first foray into cooking with fresh pumpkin. Suffice it to say, now we’re totally hooked.

Paleo Banana Bread RecipeCan you blame us? I mean, could this recipe sound any more like a Starbucks holiday drink delicious? The answer, of course, is no. Sticky-sweet golden honey, pure maple syrup, fresh pumpkin, silky-smooth bananas…and yes, it tastes just as delicious as it sounds. I wouldn’t joke around about this sort of thing, so you can trust me.

Not only is this cinnamon-scented bread incredibly moist, but it’s also 100% gluten-free and paleo. If you’re like me—with some friends who avoid gluten, some who eat totally paleo, and others who balk at the idea of pretentious health nuts messing with their favorite foods—then you’ll want to add this crowd-pleasing pumpkin banana bread to your comfort-food rotation. But shhh…your grain-loving friends won’t be able to tell it’s grain-free, and they never have to know.

Paleo Honey-Maple Pumpkin Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 5 to 7
Ingredients
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree OR ½ cup fresh pumpkin puree (see recipe below instructions)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease one large loaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together until any lumps are gone.
  4. In another bowl, combine eggs, melted butter, honey, maple syrup, mashed bananas, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Mix with a whisk or hand-mixer until smooth.
  5. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix!
  6. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the bread is golden-brown and slightly crisp around the edges.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes (yeah right, like you're going to wait) and then enjoy!

If you’re reading this recipe after making an ill-conceived purchase of a mammoth pumpkin, you’ll want to use fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned. The difference is slightly noticeable (a nuttier, earthier, fresher taste comes from using the fresh pumpkin) but the bread turns out well either way. If you’re up for tackling that pumpkin of yours and putting it all to good use, get ready for a slimy, messy, and ultimately scrumptious pumpkin extravaganza.
Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Puree
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: Depends on size of pumpkin
Ingredients
  • Pumpkin...that's it!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut your pumpkin in half with a very sharp knife.
  4. Using a combination of your hands, a spoon, and a small knife, remove the innards of the pumpkin: seeds, stringy flesh, and slimy guts. Sounds like Halloween's not over quite yet.
  5. Once you've cleared out all the gunk inside, cut your pumpkin into wedges about 4 inches wide.
  6. Lay the wedges on the parchment-lined baking sheet, skin-side down.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until pumpkin flesh can be easily pierced with a fork.
  8. Let pumpkin wedges cool for about 10 minutes.
  9. Once pumpkin is cool enough to handle, gently peel the skin away from the flesh, discarding the skin.
  10. Working in batches, transfer baked pumpkin to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  11. For the pumpkin banana bread, reserve ½ a cup of pumpkin puree.
  12. Freeze the rest of the pumpkin puree for future use in standard freezer bags.

So there you have it: Our first and favorite recipe made from fresh pumpkin. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…all five times we ate it, since that’s how many loaves we made.

Like I said, six pounds of pumpkin. Six. Pounds.

Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed this paleo pumpkin banana bread, and check back soon for another forthcoming fresh pumpkin recipe: Homemade Velvety Pumpkin Soup.

Xo,
S