Category Archives: basil

Cucumber Soup

My cucumber plants are giving me lots of produce. Usually I only eat cucumbers raw in a salad or with dip. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to use up some of my cucumbers in a new way. I’m not a pickle person so that is out. My friend Sarah suggested I make soup. I thought about it for awhile and came up with this cold cucumber soup.

This recipe is not only paleo friendly, but also vegan, and raw friendly. It’s super quick and easy to make and a great cool recipe to help cool down the hot summer days.

Cucumber Soup

6 cucumbers peeled and cut in chunks

4 cloves of garlic

1 avocado

1 jalapeno

1/2 can of coconut milk

~ 1/4 tsp of fresh thyme (I used about 4-5 sprigs)

~ 1 tbsp fresh basil (I used about one sprig)

black pepper to taste

Take everything and blend it up in the blender.

Chill for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Then eat it. That’s it. Like I said simple. I’m trying to cut down on the amount of salt I use so there is none in this recipe. By all means add salt if you are not trying to cut back.

I wanted to use more avocados for this recipe but two of my three were hard as rocks. So sad. However, I like the taste of this without them. It’s refreshing, and the cucumber really comes through. There is just enough heat from the jalapeno without being overpowering. I like the simplicity of this dish so I didn’t want to overpower the light flavor of the cucumber. I think cilantro would also work great in this in place of the other herbs up there if you have cilantro.

If you are new to cold soups I say give this one a try. You might just become a cold soup convert.


Sausage, Meatballs, and Red Sauce

I got to visit my grandparents for Christmas this year. My grandma is Italian. Needless to say my pants do not fit now. My grandma makes wonderful Italian food. When we showed up there was a big pot of sausages and meatballs simmering on the stove. They’d been cooking all day. It was so good I think I ate half of it. This is my paleo version of it. This recipe is not quick and requires a lot of hands on time. You could take a short cut and use premade sauce or meatballs, but then you’d be cheating yourself on the taste.

Meatballs

3 lbs of ground beef (2 was 90/10 and 1 was 93/7 if you like more or less fat adjust accordingly)

3 eggs

2 tbsp of fresh Italian seasoning (I found this in a squeeze tube next to the fresh herbs)

2 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp salt

1tsp black pepper

 

Mix meat and seasonings until combined.

Roll out meatballs. I like a larger meatball so this made 22 for me.

In a large stock pot brown all the meatballs in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. I used 10 store made (gluten free) sausages and cut them in half and browned them too. The meat is just browned not cooked through.

I had to freeze about 6 balls and 5 slices of sausage because they wouldn’t fit!

Place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on warm. I wasn’t trying to cook them just keep them from cooling off.

Red Sauce

3 lbs of fresh tomatoes diced

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 onion minced

½ cup of red wine

2 tbsp of fresh Italian seasoning

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 small can of tomato paste

That right there is the beginning of delicious!

In the same pot you browed your meats add about 2 tbsp of olive oil and the onions. Cook on medium high for two minutes. At this point there should be lots of bits stuck to the bottom of your pot. Add the wine in carefully and begin to scrape the bottom of the pot. If you have enamel pots like this one please use a wooden spoon to scrape so you don’t ruin the enamel. Continue to cook until the wine is almost all cooked off.

This will take about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook covered on medium until the tomatoes are cooked down. This takes about an hour.

You’ll know when it is done because it looks like tomato sauce. I removed half of the sauce and blended it smooth. If you prefer a chunkier sauce don’t blend. If you prefer a smoother sauce blend it all. Make sure to remove the center piece in the lid of your blender and cover with a towel. This keeps the sauce from exploding all over the counter. Add the blended sauce in with the unblended sauce, mix in the paste. Add back your meat and any juice that may have cooked out. Cover and cook on low for another two hours.

We ate these just like this. If you like, some spaghetti squash would be good too. Enjoy and feel like you are in your own Italian grandmother’s kitchen.

 


Pesto Spaghetti Squash

I have an amazing basil plant on my porch. It continues to grow prolifically! I needed to get a good harvest off of it or risk losing it entirely. I decided to go with pesto. I love pesto. It tastes so great and it’s so very simple. This has cheese so it is more primal than paleo. You can leave the cheese out and be just as happy.

Pesto Sauce

2-3 cups of basil

5 cloves of roasted garlic

1/3 cup of olive oil

1 cup of pine nuts

1/2 cup of strong flavored shredded cheese such as Parmesan (I used some leftover Emanteliear)

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Cook a spaghetti squash until soft.

Scrape out insides into a big bowl.

Toss with pesto sauce.

I also made some quick chicken with Italian seasoning and olive oil to add to the pasta.

It was very tasty and very simple. With the chicken there was enough leftovers for two lunches too! Whether you are Paleo or trying to cut carbs this is a tasty meal to make for dinner.


Paleo Lasagna

I had my first taste of paleo lasagna the other day. It was amazing, thanks Brittany. It was everything I love about Italian food paired with my favorite squash! I knew I would be making my own paleo lasagna soon. I used fresh basil and made my own sauce. I think that the squash is a perfect compliment to this. Like Brittany said to me you don’t even miss the cheese or pasta in this dish because it is full of flavor.

Paleo Lasagna

1 package of hot Italian sausage with casings removed

1 butternut squash peeled and sliced

2 cans of diced tomatoes

1 can of tomato sauce (unflavored)

5 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 sliced yellow onion

handful of fresh basil

1 tbsp of Italian seasoning

1 tsp of oregano

1tsp of thyme

1tsp onion powder

1tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a deep pot. Cook onions and garlic in the oil on medium high heat until soft. Add all cans of tomato to the garlic and onions and reduce heat to medium. Add all seasonings and fresh basil to the pot.

Crumble up sausage and add to the sauce. Reduce to low heat.

While the sauce simmers peel, remove seeds, and slice your butternut squash.

Layer half of it in the bottom of an oiled dish.

Pour half of the sauce on top of the squash. Layer more squash and pour remaining sauce over the top.

Bake at 400 uncovered for an hour. Turn broiler on at the very end to darken the top and cook off any excess liquid.

This was super good! It was well worth the effort to prepare. You might want to make two in case company comes. 😉


Basil Zucchini

School has been trying hard to steal my life. Lately I’ve been so tired that I don’t want to cook or blog. That is a sad day. I feel terrible that I’ve posted nothing here for so long. This weekend I have a few different recipes that I will type up so the week will have some noms in it. Today’s recipe is an easy but super tasty recipe for abundance of zucchini that is out there.

Basil Zucchini

3 zucchini diced

1 yellow bell pepper (or whatever color you fancy)

1/2 med yellow onion

3 tbsp of olive oil

a handful of basil ~2 large sprigs

salt and pepper to taste

Dice some the onion and pepper. Saute on medium high heat in olive oil until beginning to get tender.

Add the cubed zucchini and toss a few times to coat in olive oil.

Cook the Zucchini on medium high heat until almost tender. About 5 minutes. Mince some basil to add to the zucchini at the last moment before serving. Don’t cook the basil, just toss the herb in the dish at the last minute to draw out the flavors.

Then smell a fire and realize you lit your stove on fire from grease  not properly cleaned up. Calmly remove your zucchini so as not to ruin your vegetables or pan. Walk to the refrigerator and grab some baking soda. Pour copious amounts on burner until fire is extinguished. Proceed with dinner like nothing happened.

Serve with your choice of protein. T had mussels, ribs, and salmon.There will soon be a post about seafood that T cooked for this meal. Our roommate said it was good and T liked it so I will have to assume it was tasty water food. As for the vegetables, they are awesome and fresh. The simple ingredients really bring out the flavor of the fresh summer vegetable.

Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I hope a short story about vegetables and fire will sate you while I get my hiney in gear and stock up on some posts!


Thai Stuffed Peppers part two

Friday I made the sausage to stuff these peppers with. Go check that post out first.

I said it on Facebook, but it bears repeating. I have had a lot of fun experimenting and coming up with all the flavors in this meal. I really think it has come together nicely. I used the sausage I made on Friday to fill the peppers. I also created a green sauce to put on top. I was trying to recreate the flavors you get when you have a green plate with your Pho. Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup (I know I’m mixing up my nationalities in this meal but trust me it works). All this is served over some saffron cauliflower rice. I told ya’ll on Friday that this would be an epic meal. This is not a meal that you can throw together quickly, sorry. It is a meal that is worth the effort for a nice dinner party like this one.

Thai Stuffed Peppers

6 bell peppers sliced lengthwise (one of mine was rotten so I only used 5)

Thai sausage

Cut the peppers and remove all the white ribs and seeds.

I kept the stems because I thought it looked pretty. Fill peppers with meat.

I overfilled them to compensate for shrinkage that is bound to occur during cooking.

Bake covered in a deep dish at 400 for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes. Make sure internal temperature is 170 before serving.

Green Sauce

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup cilantro

2 jalapenos (more if you want it spicier)

1/2 cucumber

2 tbsp yellow onion

1 tbsp fresh basil

1 tsp fresh ginger

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth. I made a HUGE mess making this sauce.


Originally I thought I’d go with a Raita which is an Indian sauce that uses yogurt and fresh ingredients. (Thailand, Vietnam, and now India? Where are you taking this meal girl?) When I was done it was just too runny because coconut milk doesn’t have the heft that yogurt does. So I decided to blend it instead. It was a good call because the flavors really came together as a whole instead of being tasted separately. This can be refrigerated overnight with your sausage or made and served immediately. Spoon this over your baked peppers when they are done.

I served the peppers over saffron “rice”.  Most of you paleo kids out there already know how to make cauliflower rice. For those who are new to the lifestyle you can mimic the textures of rice with cauliflower. Just pass it through a food processor with a grating attachment, or use a cheese grater and do it by hand.

Cook on the stove top with some water or chicken stock until tender. Use as you would rice. I think the flavor is better than regular rice and don’t miss that grain one bit. T is more of a rice lover and says it’s a fair substitute.  For the saffron rice I heated up 1 cup of chicken stock with a pinch of saffron. Once I saw steam I turned off the heat. This is to let the saffron “bloom”. You can see here it is already starting to impart it’s amazing color and taste to the stock.

I let this sit for a few hours but if you are pressed for time give it at least 10 minutes.

Then cook your cauliflower in the beautiful stock. I think the flavor of cauliflower overtook the flavor of the saffron. So really, aside from a beautiful color, it is not a necessary step.  I wish it was as amazing as saffron rice, but cauliflower is just too much flavor for one little herb.

Plate and enjoy! I hope you find a good day with great company to enjoy this meal like we did.


Garlic Rosemary Marinade

I made this marinade last weekend for some chicken breasts that we cut up and put on pasta (shhh I know we had a cheat meal). I tweaked it a little bit to make some chicken quarters for dinner later in the week. If you are grilling this weekend try this recipe. It takes a little more time because you have to roast your garlic first. It is definitely worth it. I roasted about 4 heads of garlic so I have a few leftover in the fridge. To roast the garlic you just drizzle with olive oil then wrap it in foil and bake at 350 until soft.

Garlic Rosemary Marinade

6tbsp white balsamic vinegar (I’m sure there is a better measurement for this but I had doubled the recipe I made the first time)

12 tbsp olive oil

2 heads of roast garlic

4-5 tbsp rosemary (fresh if you have it)

5 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp coriander

Blend up in a food processor or blender. Pour over chicken or pork. (I’m not a fish eater but it might be good on that too) marinate for 2 hours or overnight. Grill your meat and baste it with leftover marinade while cooking. Remember that it had raw meat in it so don’t baste in the last 2 minutes of cooking just in case. I kind of cooked it too hot on the grill so I had to finish it off in the oven. Oops, don’t do that.

I also cooked some amazing green beans with yellow bell peppers.

I sautéed them in coconut oil until just tender, then tossed in diced green onion and some chopped fresh basil. Then I topped the whole thing off with a drizzle of coconut milk.

This was a super tasty and fresh side dish.

Now doesn’t this meal just say backyard BBQ? I think so! Enjoy your holiday weekend and to all my teacher friends, only 3.5 days left!

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