Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paleo Baked Chicken Enchiladas

I am so excited to share this one with you! I did some kitchen experiments today and created a recipe for Chicken Enchiladas that is 100% Paleo. It is not completed Anti-Inflammatory friendly, since it does use chipotle peppers, but if you are okay with the peppers, this dish does not disappoint!

I used my crockpot for the first part of this recipe because I find that when I cook my chicken breasts on low for 6 hours in the crockpot, the shredding becomes really easy! The chicken stays moist and tender and doesn't dry out. Plus, it slow cooks in the enchilada sauce, which infuses it with flavor. Yummo!

 If you are paleo or gluten-sensitive, make sure that the brand of chipotle peppers with adobo sauce are gluten-free and sugar-free. These differ by brand, so definitely read the labels! Chop a couple of the chipotle peppers.

Add the chipotle peppers and a couple teaspoons of the sauce (depending on how much of the rich adobo flavor you want) to your tomato sauce (again, make sure yours is sugar-free!), and add garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and ground chili pepper. I used adobo chili pepper 'cause I like it!

Stir it all together and pour it into the crockpot over your chicken breasts. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Remove the chicken breasts from the sauce and shred. I use the two forks method... I think it goes pretty quick and easy that way.

Take a head of cauliflower and cut it up into florets. Put them in the food processor and pulse until it forms a rice-like consistency.

Voile! Set aside... we'll get to that in a minute!

You know me... I added an onion, 'cause that's what I do with everything I cook! Then I added the onion to about a tablespoon of olive oil and sauteed it until translucent. Then I added some spices (more cumin, oregano, cilantro, black pepper, more garlic) and sauteed for a couple of minutes.

This is where the rice comes in. Take the rice and mix it with about 1/2 cup of the reserved enchilada sauce in your crockpot. Then spread it in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Use a spatula and tamp it down. This will serve as the base for your enchiladas.

Add the shredded chicken and the remainder of the enchilada sauce from the crockpot to your saute pan. Stir it all together.

Pour it into the baking dish on top of the cauliflower "rice" and spread it evenly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and let it bake an additional 30 minutes.

It comes out absolutely delicious!

I served mine with avocado slices. Mike had his with sour cream, cheese (you can tell he doesn't have any dairy issues!) and some tapatio (because he puts that s*it on everything)!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Paleo Baked Chicken Enchiladas

2-3 small chipotle peppers, chopped, plus 2-3 tsp. adobo sauce (make sure you use a gluten-free brand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. ground chili pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
pinch sea salt 
3 C tomato sauce, no added salt or sugar

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 head cauliflower, riced
Fresh cilantro, chopped (garnish)
Avocado, sliced (garnish)

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot on low. Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour over the top of the chicken. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.

Remove the chicken breasts from the crockpot and shred. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Dice up the onion and add it to the olive oil in the pan. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spices. While these are sauteing, cut the head of cauliflower into florets and "rice" them in your food processor.

Mix the riced cauliflower with about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in the crockpot. Spread the rice in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. 

Add the chicken to the saute pan and pour the remaining enchilada sauce over it. Let it simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Then pour the chicken mixture over the cauliflower, using a spatula to spread it evenly.

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook an additional 30 minutes. 

Put whatever toppings you desire on it, and enjoy!

Nutritional Information:
  • Calories: 162.7
  • Total Fat: 2.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 46.8 mg
  • Sodium: 711.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 15.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.6 g
  • Protein: 20.9 g

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quilt Along, Getting Caught Up, and Some Random Giraffes

I'm back... with a quilt finish, a quilt-along started, and a lot of catching up to do! I apologize for my absence (again!). I have been meaning to write and share some updates, but my father-in-law passed away in March and things have been a little off kilter lately. So here is my getting caught up:

Paint Nite:
We went on a Paint Nite for my friend Chana's birthday. I don't know if you have ever been on one of these, but they ply you with alcohol, give you a canvas, some brushes and some paints, and then ply you with more alcohol. They also give instructions, but depending on where you are sitting and how much alcohol you have had is whether or not you pay any attention to those instructions! In any case, the night that we went, the theme was giraffes. I am sharing this because I truly have no artistic talent at all, but with enough wine, even I can paint (well... kind of)!

Quilt Retreat:
I went on a quilt retreat with my friend Chris. This is the annual retreat to the Wild Rose Quilt Shop in Orting, WA. This year I took two projects with me. The first project was a quilt for a grade school in my area. Each year they do a history section on Colonial life and settling in the Americas. Each child is given a fabric square and asked to create a picture of something that they learned. The teacher then gave the squares to me, and I put them in a quilt.

This quilt went up for auction to raise funds for the school and brought in $300! I feel lucky to have been a part of that.

The second project that I brought is for my cousin, Sam and her new baby boy. I still need to finish the hand-binding, so you will get more pictures when it is all done and shipped to her, but here is the sneak peak:

Quilt Along:
I am currently taking part in a Quilt-Along through Cora's Quilts. I have done pattern testing for Shelley with Cora's Quilts before, and I am excited to be doing this quilt-along. I am learning some new techniques for flying geese, and am playing with colors in some beautiful batik fabric. The pattern is called Spring Sampler and is made up of 9 different blocks.

I have finished my first block (Block #1 - Pyramids), and I am excited to share it!

Thanks for being patient with me... I will try to get some more posts out soon!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Slow-Cooker Sauerkraut Brats

I apologize for my absence from the blog... things have been a bit crazy lately. I have quite a few projects going on through work, which is good crazy, and my father-in-law has been challenging the doctors lately, which is bad crazy. We have spent a lot of time at the hospital and skilled nursing facility with him lately, so I haven't been home much at all. Most of my meals have been slow-cooker meals because I am just not here to cook.

That being said, I have made this particular recipe a couple of times now, and I have used different types of brats, and both versions have been great so I am happy to share this one with you!

 For these pictures I have Chicken Brats... slightly healthier than the standard pork brats, and still full of flavor. These came from Chuck's Produce, and they are made in their deli department. Very yummy!

I cut the brats into bite-size pieces and put them in the bottom of my crockpot.

I used an entire jar of sauerkraut. Read the ingredients before you buy jarred or canned sauerkraut... some brands actually use sugar in their sauerkraut. Or, if you happen to have your own lacto-fermented or crocked sauerkraut, feel free to use that! It is about 2 1/2 cups worth in this photo.

Then I added honey, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes and mixed it all together.

 I took two apples and peeled, cored and sliced them, then diced them into bite-size pieces.

 I did the exact same thing with one onion.

 Then I mixed the sauerkraut mixture with the apples and onions and spread that over the top of the brats. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or so. I mixed it when I could, but you don't really have to.

 The bit of honey and the apples gives it a sweet flavor, combined with the tang of the sauerkraut and the heat of the crushed red pepper flakes. Very tasty! I served this with some spicy dijon mustard (sugar-free, of course!) and green beans!

Slow-cooker Sauerkraut Brats

8 bratwurst, cut into bite-size pieces - I used port brats one time, and chicken brats the next
2 1/2 cups sauerkraut
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped - I used gala apples
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp red chili pepper flakes

Put the cut brats in the bottom of the slow-cooker. Spoon the sauerkraut into a large bowl and mix with the apples, onion, honey, caraway seeds and red pepper flakes. Spoon over the top of the brats. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.

Serve with Dijon mustard.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pattern Testing for Flurry!

I am so excited to share this with you! I have been biting my blogger tongue for the past few days, but the official pattern release happened today, and now I can share!

Shelley over at Cora's Quilts offered up her new pattern Flurry for some pattern testing before the release. I have to tell you, I love how it turned out. I got to use some pinks, grays, Moda's grunge black (I love, love, love and heart that fabric!) and some scraps from my pink and gray ladder quilt.

This is a great pattern for all levels. It looks complex, and there are a lot of squares and triangles, but Shelley breaks it down so it is easy to put together.

And it makes for really good practice on matching up seams. Practice makes perfect, you know. I think I will go practice some more. :)

These blocks were really fun to make, and the sashing turned out really cool. I like the way the black border  grounds it all. I can't wait to quilt it and bind it. I will post finished pics when I get that part done, too!

So Cora's Quilts has this pattern for sale on the Etsy Shop. It's called Flurry, and for a limited time (until February 28, 2014), you can use the coupon code ThanksHeidi for 25% off the Flurry pattern! 

Photo courtesy of Shelley @ www.corasquilts.com

This is Shelley's original, and I think it is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much to Shelley for letting me pattern test for her!

Photo courtesy of Shelley @ www.corasquilts.com

Monday, January 20, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins

These chocolate banana muffins are only my second foray into baking since I have gone gluten-free, processed sugar-free and dairy-free, and I am quite pleased with how they turned out. Most of the gluten-free recipes use a lot of eggs, and I subbed out a couple of eggs for some of my home-made pear sauce (which is like applesauce, only... pears). It is unsweetened, so also really healthy.

To me, these muffins taste like Candy. With a capital C. So good. But I will warn you that Mike, who still eats processed sugar said that they are not as sweet as he would normally like. So keep that in mind as you are making them. If you like things really super-sweet and are used to the taste of processed sugar, you might want to add some additional sweetener. Or frost them. Or something.

I blended the wet ingredients together. This was about 1 cup of mashed banana (2-3 bananas should do the trick), my homemade pear sauce, an egg, and some vanilla extract.

Then I mixed together the wet ingredients: almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, and evaporated cane juice (or some other sweetener). If you use honey, mix it in with the wet ingredients.

Mix the two together and they come out looking like this. Don't over-mix, just until combined.

Seriously, doesn't that look good?

And then I mixed in some chocolate chunks. My favorite brand is the Enjoy Life. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and use evaporated cane juice as a sugar replacement.

The recipe makes 9 normal size muffins. Meaning that these are not mini-muffins. Nor are they the gigantic muffins at your local coffee shop. They are plain, normal muffins made in a plain, normal muffin tin. And I like it that way.

I took a close-up of this one because you can see a tiny chunk of banana peaking out of the chocolate-y goodness.

If you heat them for about 10-15 seconds in the microwave before eating, they get all warm and gooey inside. That is assuming they last long enough out of the oven for you to need to reheat them, that is.

These muffins only have about 100 calories per muffin, and make a great snack or breakfast muffin. Or dessert. Or lunch... 

Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins

Makes 9 muffins

1 egg
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice, or some other sweetener
1/3 cup pear sauce (unsweetened applesauce would work well, too)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2-3 bananas)
1 cup almond flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 cup gluten-free Chocolate chips 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin. This recipe should make 9 muffins. 

Whisk together the wet ingredients (banana, pear sauce, vanilla, and egg). In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (sweetener, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder). Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing as you go. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate or rack to continue cooling. Or just eat them, like I did.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Salmon Cakes with Avocado Pesto

It's a gray Tuesday outside, but I have a batch of Pear Butter processing in the water bath right now, and a batch of Pear Sauce (like apple sauce but with... wait for it... pears) on the stove, so I figured I would take these few minutes of downtime to share a fantastic recipe with you!

I made salmon cakes the other night for dinner. First time I have ever worked with canned salmon, and I was a bit skeptical, but they turned out fantastic! And really, very easy to make.

 I started with a large can of salmon (14 oz). I really recommend using wild salmon whenever possible for the Omega-3 benefits. Just sayin'. I made sure all the bones and skin were removed, because I am not a huge fan of eating the bones and skin. My cat, on the other hand, was sitting at my feet yowling at the top of his lungs until he got some to chew on. That fat boy LOVES salmon.

Anyway, I added egg yolks as a binder. I saved the egg whites... they make great omelets or crepes, or you can use them in other recipes... but in any case, I recommend saving them.

Then I added onions, garlic and spices and mixed it all together until it was really well incorporated.

 I used my hands to form them into patties, and I baked them on my silpat, because I love my silpat. Seriously. I use it for everything.

Then I made an avocado pesto (one avocado, some garlic, some basil leaves to taste, a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, all in the blender until you get the desired consistency) and served that on top of the salmon cakes. Totally Yummy!

Salmon Cakes

14 oz can of Wild Salmon (remove bones and skin)
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp White Pepper
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 Cup of Diced Onion
Coconut Oil for browning (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the salmon, eggs, and spices together in a bowl. Incorporate well, and form into patties with your hands. If you have a silpat, use that. If not, make sure you bake your salmon cakes on parchment paper, as they are much easier to get off the baking tray that way! Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

If you would like to brown them (just gives a crispy texture on the outside and makes them look yummy!), heat the coconut oil in a skillet. When it is hot, brown the cakes for about 1 minute on each side.

Serve with some lemon, tartar sauce, or the avocado pesto I mentioned above!

This makes about 4 servings, 3 oz each.

Nutritional Info:
Each serving (not including the pesto) contains:
Calories - 127
Fat - 6g
Protein - 17g
Carbs - 2g