I hate it when I do that!!
Burn or overcook something—forget about whatever I am cooking on the stove or in the oven.
Exhibit A: Overcooked cod.
The fish only needed to be pan-fried for about 4-6 minutes each side.
Well I tend to multi-task when I cook and about 15-minutes later…something smelled fishy.
I became distracted with other things, and my fish suffered for it.
Another one bites the dust.
I don’t know about you, but life gets busy (in my head): lots of to-dos.
While I love cooking for myself and I absolutely love real food (i.e. not frozen, pre-packaged or take-out for dinner), I don’t commonly take the time (or have the time) to play around with new recipes and concoctions in the kitchen every day.
I’ve always been envious of those food bloggers out there who have a knack for the art of cooking: creating new recipes and refining old ones to make em better, like:
- Against All Grain’s Slow cooker Moroccan chicken with chopped almonds, apricots and cauliflower couscous
- PaleOMG’s Peach BBQ Turkey Meatloaf
- Mel Joulwan’s Tropical Tacos with Jicama Slaw
- Nom Nom Paleo’s Lamb Burgers with fried egg, sauteed Shittake mushrooms and onions
- Stupid Easy Paleo’s “Cheesy” Potatoes and Indian Pineapple Cauliflower Rice
- The Paleo Mom’s Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake and;
- Autoimmune Paleo’s Raw Coconut Macaroons with ‘Chocolate’ Ganache
Yea, serious recipe-making envy.
That (complex recipe making) is not my gifting.
What my gifting IS though?
The ability to simplify food—and create dishes with a little spice, seasoning, varied veggies, healthy fats and quality protein.
Sure, if I had more time and drive to perfect my cooking art, I would take it—but like I said, I’m busy, and you’re busy.
Story told, busy is not a synonym for “lazy” or “don’t cook” and some of my favorite go-tos have really become all about EASE and making simple food taste really really good.
It’s all about the basics.
Given spring is coming (i.e. skin-showing season), many of you, I’m sure, are committed to eating “healthier” or at least cooking and eating in more rather than dining out.
Eating at home is all the more sweet when you actually enjoy what you’re eating (i.e. no cardboard here).
Here are some of my favorite go-tos for tasty simplicity—from my kitchen to yours:
Eggs Over Easy
Crack 2 large eggs into a bowl or cup.
*TIP: Never crack eggs straight into a pan; It’s the only way to make sure they cook evenly, and you can pour them into the pan right where you want.
- Place a nonstick skillet over low heat and add 1 dollop ghee, grassfed-butter or coconut oil (don’t dare skimp).
- When the butter stops foaming, add the eggs into the pan, then quickly lift the handle just enough for the eggs to pool slightly on the far side. (This prevents the thin albumin from running out all over the pan)
- After 10 to 15 seconds, lightly jiggle the pan just to make sure that nothing is sticking. Season with 1 pinch of sea salt and 1 grind of black pepper and cook, still over low heat, for 1 to 1.5 minutes.
- Jiggle again and examine the whites for opaqueness; when they’re fully set but not hard, it’s time to flip the eggs by pushing the pan and egg flip away from you.
- Return the pan to the heat and slowly count to 10-Mississippi’s. Re-flip the eggs to their original side. (This time it won’t be so difficult.) Slide onto a warmed plate and serve with crispy nitrate free bacon, veggies and avocado (of course!).
Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
1 dozen pasture-raised eggs
- Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a saucepan. Cover with at least an inch or two of cold water. The more eggs that are crowding the pan the more water you should have over the eggs. Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil.
- Once they come to a boil, turn off the heat, keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.
- Strain out the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further. Or, if you are cooking a large batch of eggs, remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water.
- Peel the eggs under a bit of running water.
Easy Banana Muffins
4 bananas, mashed with a fork (the more ripe, the better)
4 pasture-raised eggs
1/2 cup raw almond butter
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cups. In a large bowl, add bananas, eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, and vanilla. Using a hand blender, blend to combine.
- Add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend into the wet mixture, scraping down the sides with a spatula. Distribute the batter evenly into the lined muffin tins, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Best Grilled Chicken Ever
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- garlic powder, to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Herbs of choice:
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, coconut aminos, and spices/herbs to taste. Reserve 1/4 cup and set aside.
- In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine balsamic vinegar mixture and chicken; soak the chicken for as long as time allows (2-minutes, 1 hour, or overnight). Drain the chicken from the marinade.
- Preheat grill or George Forman to medium high heat. Add chicken to grill and cook, flipping once and basting with reserved 1/4 cup marinade until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
- Optional 2 (Baking): Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Place chicken in sprayed/greased (with coconut oil) glassware baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Easy Stove-top Chili
- 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef, bison, turkey (or a mixture)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped OR garlic powder to taste
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
- 1 large onion, diced or onion powder, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon all-spice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (optional, but HIGHLY recommend)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Veggies of choice:
- 4 cups zucchinis, diced, about 2-3 medium zucchinis (optional)
- 4 medium carrots, diced (optional)
- 1 stalk celery, diced (optional)
- 1-2 cups baby spinach (optional)
- Diced butternut squash (optional)
- 1 15-ounce can tomato puree or tomato sauce (optional; I like just tomatoes and no sauce for a thicker, heartier version)
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes or fire roasted tomatoes
- In your skillet or 5-6 quart large cast iron pot, brown meat and garlic over medium heat until beef is thoroughly cooked and browned. Drain off excess fat, set aside.
- Add coconut oil, onions, veggies, and seasonings to the skillet and cook until soft, over medium high heat, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add cooked beef, tomato puree/sauce, and tomatoes into the pan or pot and stir well. Bring everything to a boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Simple Meat and Veggie Stir-Fry
Ghee or coconut oil or grassfed butter
1 lb. Meat of choice (ground meat, chicken, beef steak, etc; Can use pre-cooked meat or rotessire chicken even.)
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
½ cup chicken broth
½ yellow onion (diced) or onion powder to taste
garlic cloves x 2, minced, or garlic powder to taste
1 package frozen California blend veggies (I like Whole Foods’ 365 brand)
Veggies of choice
-Spinach or other greens
- If meat has not been cooked yet, cook in skillet on medium heat with fat of choice until no longer pink. Set aside.
- While meat is cooking, pre-slice/dice veggies
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low and add a spoonful of your fat of choice.
- If using onions and garlic, sautee until until soft.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high.
- Add the veggies, broth, coconut aminos and fish sauce. Sautee until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the chicken (or meat of choice) and heat through.
Coconut Chicken Curry
Coconut oil or ghee
1 lb tender chicken cut in thin slices;
2 cups broccoli;
1 large onion OR onion powder, to taste;
1 – 13 ounce can coconut milk;
1 1/2 tsp curry powder;
1 tsp grated ginger (optional; I am not a huge ginger fan)
A large bunch of fresh spinach
- Make the sauce by mixing the coconut milk, curry powder and ginger together in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
- Stir-fry the chicken in a hot skillet.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet, set aside, reheat the pan and stir-fry the onion with more cooking fat for about 2 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and stir-fry another 3 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pan, add the coconut curry sauce and the spinach and cook until the spinach is just wilted and the whole preparation is hot.
- Optional: Garnish with coconut flakes.
Sea salt, pepper
Fresh basil, or any other herbs of choice
Season salmon with lemon and basil. Bake in oven at 400-degrees for 10-minutes. Serve with steamed broccoli with grassfed butter (melted).
1 lbs. ground turkey, grass-fed beef or bison
1 tbsp coconut aminos
sea salt, pepper, garlic, to taste
onion powder (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl
- Heat your non-stick pan to medium-high heat
- Form 4 evenly shaped patties
- Place in pan and cook
- Flip when lightly golden browned on original side
- Cook to desired ‘doneness’
Perfect Roasted Vegetables
2 small Broccoli Heads, cut into florets
1 head Cauliflower, cut into florets
2-4 Carrots, diced into coins
12-15 Brussel Sprouts, stems cut off, halved
2-3 Beets, diced
OR any veggies of choice
1 entire bulb Garlic, cloves separated and peeled OR garlic powder
Sea Salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper (not foil).
- Place all veggies on the prepared baking sheet/jelly roll pan. Pour some olive oil evenly over the veggies (don’t drench them, just a light coating).
- Salt and pepper to taste, then mix everything together to evenly coat everything with the oil, salt, and pepper.
- Place pan in the oven on the middle rack and roast for 50-60 minutes, stirring veggies 2-3 times.
- 1 tbsp olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil
- 1 very large bunch of greens (chard, kale, spinach, collards), rinsed and chopped
- May use pre-bagged/boxed greens (I love Trader Joe’s Tuscan Kale and Southern Greens, as well as Power Greens in a big container from Central Market—local grocery store)
- 2 Tablespoons chicken broth or water
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Add the fat to a large skillet.
- Add the greens and chicken broth (or water) and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, then turn up the heat to medium.
- Cover pan with lid.
- Stir occasionally and cook for anywhere from 4-8 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your greens.
Zucchini Noodles (No Fancy Tools Required) with (Optional) Pesto
As many zucchini as you like!
- Take a box grater and place it on its side with the side with the largest grating holes on it face up.
- Cut the ends off the zucchini, then push along the top of grater, in long strokes in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini (see the animated .gif in the post).
- Heat a skillet with the olive oil, ghee or coconut oil, then gently stirfry the zucchini with the garlic until slightly tender.
- Add tomato sauce on top if you like, or try this pesto:
⅓ Cup of Walnuts, pinenuts, cashews or other nut of choice
2 Cups of Fresh Basil
1 Cup of Fresh Spinach
⅓ Cup of Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
- Place nuts into a food processor or magic bullet.
- Add greens and blend – you may need to use a spatula to keep them moving
- Drizzle in oil and blend again
- Add pinch of salt and blend once more
- Keep blending (stopping to scrape sides) until smooth in texture
4-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup
1 or 2 butternut squashes (1=3 good servings); OR pre-sliced butternut squash (My choice)
1 or 2 cans of coconut milk, depending on the number of squashes you prepare.
Sea salt and black pepper to taste;
Cinnamon (optional) or any fresh herb you prefer
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cut squash lengthwise and remove the seeds.
- Place the halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 45 minutes. (Or if using pre-sliced squash, place in glassware baking dish or lined cookie sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes)
- Scoop out the cooked flesh or squash pieces in a sauce pan and add about 3/4 of a can of coconut milk per squash.
- Mash the squash with a potato masher or spatula on a low heat. (You can also place the flesh and coconut milk in a blender and blend the mixture)
- Once everything is mashed up, adjust the consistency by adding some coconut milk if needed.
- Season with salt and pepper, cinnamon and/or herbs to taste.
Sweet Potato Chips
- 4 sweet potatoes (try to grab skinny ones)
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
- cinnamon (optional), to taste
- salt, pepper, to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Wash potatoes thoroughly
- Use a knife to cut your sweet potatoes thin. (I prefer to soften in the microwave for a few minutes prior to cutting; poke holes in potatoes with a fork if you are going to microwave)
- Put some parchment paper down on a cooking sheet.
- Place sweet potato rounds on the parchment paper.
- Melt coconut oil and drizzle it on top of each sweet potato round.
- Sprinkle salt on top.
- Place in the oven to bake for around 10 minutes.
- Flip sweet potatoes over and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until edges are brown and have curled up a bit.
Pulled Pork Verde
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2-3 pounds pork butt roast or tenderloin/loin
- 12 oz can/jar favorite green or red salsa
- salt and pepper
- In a large saucepan or frying pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.
- Liberally salt and pepper all the pork pieces. Brown the pieces on all sides.
- Transfer to a crock-pot and pour the salsa on top.
- In the crock-pot, cook over low heat about 3-4 hours, until the meat starts to break apart at the touch of a fork.
- Shred with fork and use for tacos, lettuce wraps, salads, anything!
Rotisserie Chicken Salad
Rotisserie chicken (about 1-2 cups cooked)
2-3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 small or 1 large ripe avocado, pits and skin removed
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper (or more to taste)
Mix all ingredients together and…consume!