Category Archives: cilantro

Avocado egg boats on a sea of sausage with seaweed

I started working out at Crossfit Lumberton about two weeks ago. I’m still not a fan, but I’m going to keep it up because I certainly need the exercise. T has been a coach for awhile and I feel like I’ve been part of the family. I just took the next logical step and joined. (mmm Kool-Aid) Along with joining I’m getting back on the paleo wagon. This was a long time coming as I’ve gained a lot of weight and started getting sick again. Yuck. So Sunday will mark one week in to my strict paleo no cheats no alcohol 30 day challenge.   Mostly I’ve been eating a baked or grilled meat with broccoli or spinach, nothing creative. However, Friday night I guess running my behind off and using lots of curse words while working out made me creative, hence this crazy concoction.

I have to give credit to Cassi and Krissi for filling my FB page of talk of avocado boats. This was just one step further towards Ron Swanson. The entire thing was super easy to make. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking, but this is what I did. I made “seaweed” out of collard greens. (I omitted the butter and used water instead of stock) I love greens they are so delicious. If you don’t like greens make a salad or something. I think this meal needs something green on bottom.

Avocado Egg Boats on a Sea of Sausage

2 spicy sausages

2 eggs

1 large avocado sliced in half with peel removed

1 roma tomato diced

a few tablespoons of  fresh cilantro

dash of hot Cajun seasoning

Strip the casing from the sausage and pat down into an oven safe bowl.

If you have time go ahead and make your own sausage it’s much better for you. Bake in the bowl for about 15 minutes.

I hate eating runny egg whites so I partially pre cooked my eggs.

When they were that icky consistency of runny whites on top, I ungracefully slid them on to my avocados into the hole left by the seed.

Then I put them on the sausage and broiled them until they were my desired doneness. About 7 minutes. I sprinkled cilantro and tomatoes on top with a dash of hot Cajun seasoning.

These were super good and I will make them again. This meal could easily have fed two people but it was my one meal of the day aside from a protein shake for lunch and I was hungry.

Salmon and Mussels

I don’t care for seafood. I didn’t grow up eating it. It’s strange, and always tastes like fish to me. T and I joke about statements like “this fish is not so fishy” because you would never say that about any other meat. “This beef tastes beefy”. T however, LOVES seafood. There isn’t a water critter that he doesn’t like. Since I don’t care for it the only time he usually eats seafood is out at a restaurant or someone’s house. This last weekend, T decided to buy and cook up a large salmon and some mussels. Here he is telling us how to make it:

“basics: a sack of mussels, about 2# or so. Half an onion chopped, stick of butter, and cilantro roughly chopped as garnish. and wine.  always wine.

Dump mussels into a colander give a good rinse and discard any that are open.

Stirring the onions and butter until they are right. looking for a nice browning of the butter and light caramel of the onions.

Dump the mussels into butter and onions with about 1/2 cup dry white wine, cover and steam until all are open.

When all are open, halve shells and discard scraps. Strain remaining liquid into a light roux then drizzle on the meat and garnish with cilantro.

This is Mark Bittman’s “Salmon roasted in butter” and it is one recipe i rarely deviate from how it was written.  Good work Mr. Bittman.

Take a nice skin on fillet of salmon, ~2-3# and liberally spice with fresh cracked salt and pepper.

In an oven safe dish brown about 1/2 stick of butter at 475 until the foam settles down then place the salmon, skin side down, in butter and roast about ten minutes turning occasionally.

The way i like to gauge the doneness of fish is by inserting a metal skewer into the meat for a moment then placing the bare skewer on my lip a time or two until the metal is warm to the touch.  This was about 10 minutes or so for this particular cut of fish.

I also make it a point to buy whatever i am going to cook the day i am going to cook it, usually on the way home to cook it.  Fresh is key.

When the meat is done, simply remove it from the pan and serve as is.  the skin is delicious but easy to separate if not to a particular taste.

So there we have it.  Fish and mussels for me, Asian style ribs for her, and zucchini for the both of us.

Not too shabby… ”
I hope you enjoy T’s fish meal!

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.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

This post is just a quickie because this last week of school has made me a very tired teacher.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

Juice and zest of one lime

1″ ginger zested

2 garlic cloves zested

3 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

5 tbsp olive oil

Handful of fresh chopped cilantro (approx half a bunch)

If you don’t feel like zesting the ginger and garlic just toss all the ingredients into a food processor. You have to zest the lime to get the rind in there. If you blend the lime rind it will taste awful. I zested and mixed with a fork. If you are serving this right away mix in the cilantro. Otherwise leave it out until right before you serve your salad.

Coconut Curry Chicken

This was a pantry scraping recipe today. We are at the end of our fresh food and so I had to get a little creative with what I had available. Ginger is a great addition to many meals and has a long shelf life. I keep it in the cabinet with my garlic and onions. Ginger adds flare and spice, plus it is good for you. I served this over zucchini “noodles”. This is a good technique to hang on to for when you are craving that pasta. You can use a julienne peeler or a food processor.  The taste is not the same as pasta but the texture will satisfy the cravings and add some delicious zucchini flavor.

Coconut Curry Chicken

2″ of peeled ginger root diced

4 cloves of garlic diced

5 red jalapenos sliced thin

2tsp of coriander

2tsp of cardamom

1 tsp black pepper

7 chicken thighs (or piece of your choice)

1 can of coconut milk

Handful of fresh chopped cilantro, green onions, and cucumbers for toppings

2 grated zucchini for “noodles”

Add the first 6 ingredients to an oven safe pot with some olive oil. Cook on medium high for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides. Don’t worry if your spices are getting stuck to the pot, we will de-glaze it with coconut milk.

Pour in coconut milk and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the tastiness up. This is called de-glazing. you can do this with wine or stock. It is the best way to start a good pan sauce too.

Leave uncovered and let cook on low in your oven for 2 hours. You can speed up the time if you prefer by increasing the heat to 400 for about 30 minutes (check to make sure it is cooked through before serving).

While that cooks make your zucchini pasta.

Remove the pot from the oven. Place the chicken pieces on a plate and set to the side for a few minutes.

Place the pot on a burner on medium heat. Toss the zucchini in the remaining curry sauce. You may need to add water if the sauce is too thick. I added about 1/2 of a cup of hot water.

Cook on medium for about 5 minutes.

Place chicken back in pot with zucchini. Serve the chicken with with cilantro, onions and cucumbers.

Mexican Braciole Over Cauliflower Rice

Braciole (bra-zhol) is an Italian dish that consists of thin cut of meat stuffed rolled up and braised. Two years ago I was in Florida for my grandmother’s birthday and being the good Italian grandma that she is, she cooked a huge feast. One of the dishes was these beef rolls simmering in tomato sauce. I had never heard of it before. They were delicious. Well fast forward two years. I’m browsing my favorite food sites and up pops the braciole recipe with pork instead of beef. I had a huge loin defrosting in my fridge so I thought perfect! I will finally try this.

The recipe I read called for using the fat you trim off the meat to be used in the stuffing. I figured it was worth a try. You can of course choose to stuff this however you please. I went with a more Mexican flavored dish than the classic Italian ones.

Mexican Braciole

8 pork cutlets

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

3 gloves of garlic chopped

1 yellow onion chopped

3 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp oregano

2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

3 tbsp olive oil


1 dried ancho chili

5 red jalapenos (green will work too)

3 cloves of garlic

5 green onions

fat trimmed from pork

Heat a deep pan on medium high heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and onion to the pan. Cook until the onions begin to look clear.

Add tomatoes and paste to onions. Fill the empty cans with water and add that to the pot. Stir in all seasonings and simmer covered, over low heat.

While your sauce simmers prepare your pork cutlets.

I had a pork loin so I cut finger thick pieces to create pork chops.

Then on a cutting board I placed one cutlet. I covered it with parchment paper and pounded it thin. This is your chance to really get that stress out.

My cutlets were still frozen so I had a triceps work out too! You want to pound them until they are about 1cm thick.

The key to this step is to pound evenly so that one section does not become too thin and split.

Continue this until all the cutlets are pounded out.

Process the filling in a food processor until it forms a paste.

Spoon a tablespoon of filling on to one side of a cutlet.

Roll the cutlet tightly making sure to keep the filling in the center.  Tie the roll-up on each end tightly. If your roll ups are longer you will want another tie in the middle.

Continue to fill and roll until all the cutlets are done.

Carefully place the roll-ups in the sauce and cover the pot.

Cook for 6 hours on low heat occasionally turning the roll-ups.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, wash your cauliflower and chop into large pieces. Process in a food processor with a grater or grate it by hand with a cheese grater. This will yield what looks like rice.

Cook the “rice” by steaming it or pouring enough boiling water to cover the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently, rice is done when it is soft but not mushy.

Serve the braicole on top of the “rice” and spoon more sauce on top. Sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro on top.

Pesto Turkey

Deciding what to cook for green was very difficult. So many delicious foods are green. There are so many ways to make things green (naturally). Unlike yellow this decision had too many options.

I finally decided on one of my favorite sauces, pesto. Pesto typically is pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, and basil. I figured since this is a challenge I should make a pesto from things I’ve never tried. Going with the standard formula of green leafy vegetable/herb, nut, and fat. I picked kale, cilantro, walnuts, jalapeno, and olive oil. I slathered this mixture on a turkey and roasted it. It was very tasty raw so my hopes were high. Sadly, when it came out it was not the tasty mix I had hoped for. I’m not sure what went wrong. Too many flavors? Did cooking it change the kale too much? Whatever the reason the turkey looked unappealing (think brown mush on a roast turkey) and tasted rather underwhelming.

Pesto Turkey

1 turkey defrosted

1 bundle of kale

1 bundle of cilantro

1 jalapeno

1.5 cups of walnuts

1.5 heads of garlic

1 cup of olive oil

1-2 tbsp of salt

2 onions (reserve one for inside the turkey)

Wash and cut kale and cilantro from the stem. Place the in a food processor or blender. Blend with all the above ingredients (except turkey) until it resembles a paste.

Place the remaining onion in the cavity of the turkey along with the stems of the cilantro. Make sure you cut the rubber band from the stems.

Roast the turkey in the oven at 325 for 4-5 hours until internal temperature reaches 180 when measured at or near the thigh.

The raw pesto was tasty and would make a fine sauce for pasta or veggies. The cooked pesto on the turkey was a fail. I  lieu of a finished photo Lucy said I should draw a picture of what it should have looked like. So I drew you this picture instead.

Carnitas Style Pork Shoulder

I know I’ve said it before. Nothing makes me happier than a slow cooking meal. A huge hunk of tough meat is made tender and delicious by hours of low heat and spices. Carnitas is a favorite  in our house. We love to make tacos from it, but considering that the tortillas are a nono we will stick to only the meat today. One great benefit of this meal is that the meat is generally pretty cheap per pound and it yields a ton of leftovers. I like to make this on a Sunday so I have lunches for most of the week. It is not a hard meal to cook;  throw everything in the pot and walk away.


few slices of bacon chopped

pork shoulder

2 bay leaves

1/2- whole can of chipotle peppers (depending on your heat preferences)

1 stick of cinnamon

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste

2 cans of chicken stock or water (about 28oz)

Cook the bacon rendering the fat. If you do this in a deep pot you will only have one dish to clean. Pull out the bacon pieces, leave the grease, and turn up the heat in the pan. Brown the shoulder on all sides. Add all ingredients including bacon bits and cover. Cook low and slow.

If you have small children you may want to consider putting this in the oven (oven safe dish of course) for the cooking time. Keep the pot on low heat (200 in oven) and leave it alone. Go to church, walk the dogs, mow the grass, whatever it is you do on a lovely Sunday like this one. Cook for about 6-8 hours. Check the meat. If it is fork tender it is done. That means you can put a fork in it and pull the meat apart easily. Shred it with forks and put back into the juice until ready to serve. Traditional carnitas is fried in the fat that renders making it a bit crispy. Tonight I just wanted to eat it straight from the oven as is.

You can serve this with some fresh cilantro, lime, avocados, radishes, and pico de gallo for true authenticity. Pico is just: tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, diced, squeeze of lime, a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

For lunches through out the week I’ll use it as a salad topper or in my eggs at breakfast. It is a delicious meal that is pretty effortless.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

I saw a recipe for guacamole deviled eggs recently on sweetcheeks‘s site. I modified it a little but the idea remains the same. I thought that two perfectly wonderful foods put together was a fine idea. I was  happy that I tried this one out. The only thing I would change is getting fresh tomatoes. I totally forgot to pick some up so I used canned instead.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

9 hard boiled eggs

2 small avocados

1 diced jalapeno

1/4 can of diced tomatoes (or 2 small fresh tomatoes)

handful of chopped cilantro

Slap Yo Momma seasoning

salt and pepper

Hard boil your eggs, peel them and slice them in half lengthwise.

Remove the yolk into a mixing bowl. I find that a slight pressure to the back as if I’m trying to turn the egg inside out just pops them out easily with no mess.

Add all ingredients except the seasoning to the bowl. Mash it up good. Get your anger out it’s okay to abuse the yolks.

Scoop the filling into a sandwich bag and cut the tip of the bag off. Use this to pipe your filling into the eggs. I’ve never tried this before and I’m sad that I waited this long to try it out. It makes life so much cleaner and easier.

Dash some seasoning  and sprinkle some cilantro on the top and enjoy.

Spinach Stuffed Poblano Peppers

T invited a classmate over for dinner this weekend. We cooked a delicious vegetarian (un-paleo) meal. She even wanted to help out! Dinner was “amazing” and the company was wonderful. This meal was not a paleo meal but It could definitely be modified to make it that way. I will cook some other variations on this because it was super tasty and I love the flavor of a poblano chili.

Spinach Stuffed Poblano Peppers

9 large poblano peppers

2 packages of cream cheese

16 oz of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

3/4 of a wheel of Vaquita cheese. (it is the Mexican version of mozzarella)

12oz of spinach

1tsp cumin

1/2 tsp of black pepper

1 cup of diced onion

handful of chopped cilantro

3 eggs

about 2 cups of flour

about 2 cups of panko crumbs (Japanese style bread crumbs)

Carefully slice around the stem of the poblano peppers as if you were making a jack’o’lantern out of it. Seed and core the inside with a spoon being careful not to rip the pepper.

Mix all the cheese, remaining veggies, and spices in a large bowl.

Spoon and press down the cheese mixture into the poblanos. We ended up with a lot more cheese than peppers so I’ve adjusted the number of peppers you’ll need above to match what we made. Stick the tops back on after you’ve stuffed the peppers.

Make a breading station to bread the peppers. 1. egg wash of beaten eggs, 2. flour, 3 panko. Dredge the peppers through eggs, flour, eggs, then panko. If you are eating more paleoish (cheese is not really paleo) you can omit the breading steps and your peppers will still be delicious.

Bake in a large baking tray for about 30 minutes at 350.

We made a mole sauce to put on top of these sort of enchilada style but your favorite enchilada sauce will work too. Mole  (mole-ay) is a pepper chocolate sauce that is super tasty. The recipe we followed was fair but there are better ones out there on the interwebs or you can find it pre-made in the Mexican section of your grocery store.

To go with the peppers we made Cuban style black beans that consisted of:

1/2 diced yellow onion

4 minced cloves of garlic

2 canned chipotle peppers

3 15 oz cans of black beans (no added salt)

1 tsp of cumin

6 oz of orange juice and some zest of 1/2 an orange

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the onions and garlic first until clear, add the rest of the ingredients simmer until meal time. About 10 minutes. Again legumes are not paleo. However, this would make a fun cheat meal that you can involve the whole family in.

We really enjoyed dinner and it was fun to have Bethany help out!