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Slower Cooker Pulled Pork (Carnitas)(Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free)

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My family didn’t eat a lot of pork when I was growing up.  We stuck mainly with chicken, beef, and seafood.   We occasionally ate bacon when traveling on family vacations, but it wasn’t a part of our daily diet.

Once free of my parent’s clutches ;), and free of my fear of fat after embarking on health and lifestyle change upon learning about the Paleo diet, I got the green light to dive into bacon!

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Just kidding.  While I love bacon, I use it primarily as a flavor enhancer for roasted vegetables (check out my recipe here for roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with bacon).  I’m sure, based on the name of my blog, you may imagine me sitting down with plates piled high with bacon.  Only in my dreams………..

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Sorry, I got distracted talking about bacon.  Where was I again?  Right, not having a lot of experience with cooking pork.  Well, I decided to get out of my comfort zone, and figured carnitas were the way to go!

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It was a good decision.  These carnitas are full of flavor, seasoned with bold Mexican spices like oregano, cumin and garlic.  In addition, the acidity from the orange juice and the lime juice along with the low and slow heating process using a slow cooker transform the pork into tender and delicious chunks of meat!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

Servings: 8-10


Ingredients:

3 ½ – 4 pounds’ boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks (visible fat trimmed)

2 large oranges, juiced (approximately 1 cup) (keep spent halves of one orange)

Zest from one orange

1 lime, juiced (approximately 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon pepper

t teaspoon paprika

1 large onion, peeled and sliced into quarters

2 bay leaves

2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Combine the oregano, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic and orange zest in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
  2. Coat the pork with the seasoning, and then place the pork in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  3. Add the orange halves, the onion quarters and the two bay leaves to the slow cooker.
  4. Pour the orange juice, lime juice and water into the slow cooker.
  5. Cover the slower cooker, and cook the pork on low for approximately 8-10 hours (low and slow is the way to go!).
  6. Once the pork is cooked (you’ll know the pork is done when it shreds easily with a fork), turn the slow cooker off and remove the pork from the liquid, placing the pork into a large bowl.
  7. Shredded the pork into smaller pieces with two forks, and then its ready to serve.
  8. Use the pulled pork in your favorite taco shells, and top with your favorite toppings (e.g., pico, salsa, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc.).

Inspired by Cook’s Illustrated Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas 

 


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Creamy Chicken Fajita Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Primal, Low-Carb)

Food critics rave over this dish, giving it two thumbs up!

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And by “food critics”, I mean a five year old boy.

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Food critic in action!

And by “two thumbs up”, I mean I think he thought it was okay.

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Mother and son working it out!

I invited some new members at my CrossFit gym over to dinner at my home a couple of weeks ago to test out a variation of this recipe.  They brought along their five year old son.  At first he refused to even taste the dish.  After some encouragement from his mom, he agreed to try a small serving.  I braced myself for his reaction.

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After a couple of bites, he looked at me and said, “I like macaroni and cheese.  This tastes kinda like macaroni and cheese.”  To seal the deal, he asked for a second helping.

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Since it’s received a 5 year old’s blessing, you know it has to be good.  Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Fajita Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Paleo-Friendly option below)

Servings: 8-10


Ingredients:

  • large spaghetti squash (1 1/4 to 1 3/4 lbs)
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 16 ounces chunky salsa
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking (can substitute butter, avocado oil or other preferred cooking oil)

Fajita Seasoning:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds from the center of each half of the spaghetti squash.*
  4. Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven for approximately 35-40 minutes until tender (you’ll know the squash is done if you can pierce the spaghetti squash noodles easily with a fork).
  5. Once the spaghetti squash has cooked, take it out of the oven, flip the halves over and let the squash cool.
  6. Once the spaghetti squash has cooled enough to handle, use a fork to scrap the squash noodles into a large mixing bowl.
  7. While the spaghetti squash is cooling, mix together the fajita seasoning.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fajita seasoning mix.
  8. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Once the skillet is hot, add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive to the skillet.
  9. Add the chicken tenders to the heated skillet, then add the fajita seasoning mix (reserve 1 tablespoon of the fajita seasoning mix for later use).
  10. Sauté the chicken in the large skillet over medium high heat until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.  Once the chicken has cooked, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside, allowing the chicken to cool slightly.  Once the chicken has cooled, chop the chicken tenders into 1/2 – 1 inches pieces.
  11. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Once the skillet is heated through, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  12. Add the sliced peppers and onions to the heated skillet, then add the remaining tablespoon of fajita seasoning mix.
  13. Sauté the vegetables over medium high heat until softened, 10 to 12 minutes.  Once the veggies are done, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to allow the veggies to cool slightly.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350.
  15. While the oven is preheating, in a medium size bowl, mix together the cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, salsa and sour cream.
  16. Add the chicken and veggies to the spaghetti squash in the large mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Then add the sour cream, cheese and salsa mixture and stir to combine.
  17. pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  18. Place the baking pan in the middle of the oven, and bake until heated through, approximately 40-45 minutes.
  19. Once the casserole is done, take out of the oven, serve and enjoy!

Notes:

  •  Quick tip, to make the spaghetti squash easier to cut, microwave for 1-2 minutes to soften the shell before attempting to slice.
  • To make the recipe Paleo friendly, omit the dairy (the cheese and sour cream). Starting at Step 16, once you have mixed the chicken, veggies, spaghetti squash and salsa together, add in 4 large eggs (beaten) and stir until combined.  Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Place the baking pan in the middle of the oven, and bake until heated through and the egg is no longer runny, 65-75 minutes.  Once the casserole is done, take out of the oven, serve and enjoy!


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Sweet Potato and Parsnips Fritters with Bacon and Green Onions

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I invited my friends Clint and Shay over to my house for dinner a couple of weeks ago.  I met them several months ago at my local CrossFit Gym, CrossFit 405. Shay is a regular at the gym and Clint is one of the coaches on staff.  They had never been to my house for a meal before, so my goal was to make a lasting first impression.   And I did make a lasting impression that evening, but not for the reason you may think……

As it turns out my A/C stopped working that weekend, leaving my house at a sweltering 90 degrees.  I had called the utility company earlier that weekend, and they walked me through adjusting my thermostat to the right setting.  Thinking I had fixed the problem, I eagerly waited for the house to become cooler.  As it turns out, the A/C wasn’t even hooked up to the thermostat, and the problem was still glaringly apparent as I meal prepped for the week and made dinner for my guests. With my kitchen blistering hot from my all day cooking fest, and no air circulation in my house, my house was like a sauna by the time my friends had arrived.

Clint and Shay were really good sports about the entire evening, and we made do with a picnic style meal in my living room (the coolest room in my house).

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Dinner was somewhat bearable thanks to the mini fan they brought with them, but suffice to say they didn’t stay to long 😉 Wanting to make it up to them, I invited them over the next week for another meal.  With the luxury of a working A/C, we were able to have a much better evening.  Even better, these sweet potato and parsnip fritters were the star of the show!

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Clint and Shay loved the taste and texture of these fritters, reminding them somewhat of hash browns.  Plus I added bacon and cheese (optional) to the recipe, so how could it be anything but amazing?

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I’ve been working several months to get this recipe just the way I want it, so I’m very excited that I have the opportunity to finally share it with you guys.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Fritters with Bacon and Green Onions


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 2 cups parsnips, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 4 slices bacon, fried and broken into crumbs
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 4-6 tablespoons cooking fat for frying (i.e. bacon, lard, tallow, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, etc.)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (approximately 4 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl, and stir until fully incorporated.
  2. Line a large baking tray with paper towels.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons cooking fat to a large skillet and place the skillet over medium heat.
  4. Once the cooking fat has heated, place heaping scoops of the vegetable mixture (approximately 1/4 cup for each scoop) into the skillet.  Flatten the vegetable mixture down with a fork into rounds making sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed and that the fritters in the pan are not crowded.  Cook the fritters for 3 to 4 minutes on one side until browned.  Once browned, flip the fritters over and cook another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Once the fritters have cooked, remove them from the skillet and place on the paper towels to drain.  Repeat this process with the remaining vegetable mixture, using additional cooking fat as necessary to cook the fritters.


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Chocolate Hazelnut-Almond Spread (aka Paleo Nutella)

I’ve been a CrossFitter for over three years, and the majority of my time has been spent at CrossFit 405, a CrossFit gym near downtown Oklahoma City.  My local gym (or box, whatever you prefer) has been a place for me to push myself to my physical limits and get out of my comfort zone.  I’ve done some pretty amazing things over the past three years that I didn’t think my body could do.  In the process, I’ve gotten a lot stronger, both mentally and physically.

I’m still on the journey to becoming healthier, and that journey has been much more enjoyable with the gym family I’ve made at CrossFit 405.

My gym recently celebrated its fifth anniversary with a party/fundraiser (the fundraiser was for the McCloud Fire Department, a small town near Oklahoma City where one of our coaches works as a firefighter) last Saturday, December 6.  The celebration included the following WOD:

(12 min time cap) Partner WOD 3 Rounds For Time:

200ft single farmers (Rx135lb/95lb) and sandbag (Rx 75lb) carry.

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While one partner did the farmers carry, the other partner did burpees.  Each burpee shaved a second of the total time for the farmers carry.

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The anniversary party included some smaller challenges, as well as time for people to just hang out and chow down some tasty grub (because CrossFitters like to put food away!).

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Many of my friends at CrossFit 405 are happy to help me taste test my recipes before I post them on the blog.  They always give me their honest feedback (whether I like it or not), and help me step up my game so that I make sure and share recipes with you that make your taste buds happy.

My recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut-Almond Spread got a big thumbs-up from my CrossFit 405 taste testers.  Since I made several test batches to perfect the recipes, there was plenty to share!

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The spread is reminiscent of nutella, although it has a much cleaner profile.  Several of my taste testers reported eating the Chocolate Hazelnut-Almond Spread straight out of the jar!  The Chocolate Hazelnut-Almond Spread is very versatile treat.  You can use it as a fruit dip for guests, or eat it with Paleo/Gluten-Free pancakes or waffles during a weekend brunch.

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I used the Chocolate Hazelnut-Almond Spread as the base for another recipe, which I will be sharing with you in my next blog post (so make sure to check back next week)!

Do you CrossFit?  If so, I’d love to hear about your CrossFIt community.  Are there any other workout styles you love? Feel free to share about what workouts make your body feel better in the comments below!

Chocolate Hazelnut-Almond Spread (aka Paleo Nutella)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (canned)
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the hazelnuts and almonds in a single layer  (making sure to keep the different nuts separate) and roast for 12-13 minutes, stirring them at the half way point during the roasting process.
  3. Remove the hazelnuts and almonds from the oven and set aside to cool.  Once the nuts have cooled, place the hazelnuts in a cloth napkin and rub together in the napkin to remove some of the skin (note that some skin will still remain on the hazelnuts no matter how much you rub, which is ok).
  4. Pour the dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Place the bowl in the microwave, and heat on high for 25-30 seconds. Remove bowl from the microwave and stir the dark chocolate chips.  Place the bowl back in the microwave and heat an additional 25-30 seconds.  Continuing the process of heating and stirring the dark chocolate chips until the dark chocolate chips have melted completely.
  5. Pour the roasted hazelnuts and almonds into the bowl of a high powered food processor.  Blend nuts in the food processor on high until the nuts turn into a thick paste, which should take 2-4 minutes (depending on the power of your blender).
  6. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, and continue to blend another 2-3 minutes until the ingredients have fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.


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Mexi-Cauli Rice Bowl

Thanksgiving last week was awesome, because I was able to spend time with my family, including my adorable nephew Tayo.  My family lives in Texas, while I live in Oklahoma, so I don’t see my nephew as often as I would like.  He is full of energy and spunk, and his laughter and smiles make everything better (but when he is hungry, you better watch out, cause he’ll let you know how he feels 😉 ).

Every Thanksgiving, my parents invite relatives and friends from their local church to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We have a large potluck at my parent’s house, and this year I  whipped up some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, including a green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole.  My sweet potato casserole is a family favorite, and is usually polished off before the end of dinner.

I’m Nigerian-American, and we also have several Nigerian dishes as well, like Jollof Rice (rice cooked with tomato stew and spices), Moi Moi (a dished made from black beans), meat pies and fried plantains.

I love having family and friends come together to celebrate and give thanks for health, well being, and being able to gather together and celebrate the holidays.  However, one of the absolutely best parts about Thanksgiving in Texas, is that I don’t have to worry about finishing off leftovers!  By the time I make it back home, turkey (and any other leftovers) are the last things I want to eat.

If you’re also tired of turkey, ham, and casseroles, than I have a ground beef and vegetable dish that is sure to make your tastebuds happy!

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This dish was inspired by my desire for latin american flavored meal without being too carb-heavy.  With low-carb veggies like cauliflower and green and red bell peppers, and ground beef flavored with spices like cumin, chili powder and oregano, you are going to enjoy this flavor combination.

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Depending on your tolerance for spicy foods, you can also kick it up a notch by adding more red pepper flakes.

I’d love to know how your Thanksgiving went!  Feel free to leave a comment below sharing your favorite traditional (and non-traditional) Thanksgiving dishes.  If you make the Mexi-Cauli Rice Bowl, please let me know what you think!

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Mexi-Cauli Rice Bowl

Servings: serves 3-4


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomato
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking fat (lard, tallow, coconut oil, butter, avocado oil)

Instructions:

  1. Process the cauliflower florets into cauliflower rice by using the shredding attachment on a food processor.  If you don’t have access to a food processor, you can “rice” the cauliflower by using a handle held food grater.  Pour the cauliflower rice into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the ground beef and all of the spices (but reserving 1 teaspoon of sea salt).  Cook the ground beef over medium high heat until browned, approximately 10-12 minutes.
  3. Once the meat has browned, add the diced tomatoes and lower the heat to medium-low, simmering the browned beef and diced tomatoes for 15-20 minutes.  Once the browned beef has finished simmering, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. While the beef and diced tomatoes are simmering, preheat a large pot over medium high heat.  Then add 1 tablespoon of the cooking fat to the pot.
  5. Once the cooking fat has heated, add the minced garlic and sautee for 20-30 seconds.  Add the diced onions and sautee an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the diced red and green bell peppers to the large pot, and continue sauteeing for 6-7 minutes.
  7. Add the cauliflower rice to the large pan, and mix with the diced onions and bell peppers until combined.
  8. Continue cooking the cauliflower mixture, stirring the mixture periodically until the rice has softened, 8-10 minutes.
  9. Once the cauliflower rice mixture has cooked through, remove from heat.
  10. Mix the cauliflower rice mixture with the beef and diced tomatoes, and stir to thoroughly combine.
  11. serve immediately.

 

Notes:

  • This meal makes great leftovers.

 


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Supreme Pizza Egg Muffins

I’m a person who loves convenience when it comes to breakfast during the work week.  I typically workout in the mornings, and by the time I come home from the gym to get ready for work, the last thing I want to do is try and start cooking breakfast.  As a result, my go-to-meals for breakfast in the morning are usually egg muffins.

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They are easy to make, and packed full of flavor.   I like to make a large batch of egg muffins on Sundays while I am meal prepping for the week.  I portion the egg muffins into ziplock bags and then throw them in the freezer.  During the week, it’s a simple task of me throwing a pre-portioned bag of frozen egg muffins into my lunch bag before I head off to work.

When I get to work, I heat the egg muffins in the microwave in my company’s office (they re-heat really well).  I get several comments from co-workers about how wonderful the eggs muffins smell in the mornings while they are warming up.  Those comments also include strong hints to share my breakfast(which I ignore, because I’m hungry).  I may share my cookies with you, but don’t touch my breakfast 😉

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Although this recipe includes ingredients found as toppings on a supreme pizza, feel free to play around with ingredients and spices.  Try making taco egg muffins by using ground beef, cheddar cheese, taco seasoning, onions and peppers.  I’ve also made egg muffins with baked chicken, bacon, caramelized onions, mozzarella and artichoke.  Those were the bomb!

Please share some go to tips you have for making easy breakfasts during the week,and your favorite egg muffin combinations in the comments below!

Supreme Pizza Egg Muffins

Servings: makes approximately 24


Ingredients:

For the Muffins:

  • 13 eggs
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional, omit to make dairy-free)
  • 4 ounces pepperoni slices, chopped
  • 4 ounce can portobello mushrooms, drained
  • 2.25 ounce can black olives, drained
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cooking fat

For the Pizza Sauce:

  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 ounces of tomato paste (1/2 of a 6 ounce can)
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage to the skillet, and cook until the meat has browned and is in crumbles.
  3. After the sausage has cooked, drain the excess fat (reserving 1 teaspoon), place the sausage in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon of fat from sausage over medium-high heat.  Added diced red onion and saute for 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add the diced green bell peppers to the skillet and saute with the onions for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Remove the skillet from heat, place the peppers and onions in to the bowl with the ground beef, and set aside to cool.
  7. In a small separate bowl, mix together the pizza sauce ingredients thoroughly until completely combined. Set aside.
  8. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, Italian seasoning, sea salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper.
  9. Once the peppers/onion/sausage mixture has cooled, to the large bowl add chopped pepperoni slices, black olives, portobello mushrooms and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and mix together.
  10. Line two 12 serving cupcake pans with liners (or grease the muffin cups with cooking fat).
  11. Fill each cupcake liner half way with the egg/coconut milk mixture, and then fill each liner with approximately 2 tablespoons of the supreme pizza topping mixture.
  12.  Dollop a tablespoon of pizza sauce over each cupcake liner.
  13. Take the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle a pinch of mozzarella cheese on top of each cupcake liner.
  14. Place the cupcake pans in the oven and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until firm (a knife inserted into the egg muffins should come out clean), rotating the pans half way through (and also making sure to rotate the pans from top to bottom).
  15. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.


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Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomato Basil Walnut Pesto

Sometimes I burn things.  Okay, what you read may have sounded somewhat creepy.  Let me clarify.  To be more specific, sometimes I unintentionally burn the food I’m cooking.  I may leave something on the stove and forget to check it, only to come back later and find said food “cooked” to an inedible crisp.  Or, I may overestimate how long something is suppose to bake, and cook it until its at a point where even my best guy friends won’t touch it.  It’s somewhat frustrating, but comes with the territory, at least in my world.  When I cook something, I look forward to sampling the different food combinations that make up a recipe.  When that meal happens to burn (sometimes a fiery flame of death), my heart hurts, and my soul gets crushed just a little.

On the other hand, I have somewhat of an unlikely love of “burnt” Brussels Sprouts and broccoli.  My favorite part when roasting these vegetables is the little extra crispy bites.  I don’t burn them until they are completely unrecognizable, but the vegetables are usually a lot more crispy then most people prefer.  Therefore, I usually only crisp them up in the comfort of my own home, in a meal that won’t be shared with others (mainly, because I don’t want to share 😉 ).

Why this long talk about burning food?  Well, it gives a little background for last week’s fiasco.  I invited my friend Olivia over for grilled steaks, Brussels Sprouts roasted with chopped bacon, and mashed sweet potatoes.  Olivia asked that her steak be cooked well-done (horrible, I know), which request I fully intended to comply with.  What I failed to realize is that by warming up the grill as the sun was setting, I wouldn’t actually be grilling the steaks until it was night time.  This wouldn’t be a problem, except that I have poor lighting in my backyard.  I wasn’t able to visually check the steaks because of the bad lighting, and they cooked longer than necessary, well past the point of preference for either one of us.

Olivia asked for a well-done steak, but I ended up cooking her steak so long that she couldn’t eat most of it because it was too tough.  It’s a good think she enjoyed the vegetables, because that ended up being the majority of her dinner for the night.

Thankfully, this recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomato Basil Walnut Pesto came out great, and no food was harmed in the making of this meal.

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I made chicken to go along with the spaghetti squash using my chicken marinade recipe, and these meal was made to rave reviews.

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Try it out, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Spaghetti Squash With Sun-dried Tomato Basil Walnut Pesto

Servings: serves 5-6


Ingredients:

  • 1 large Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese*
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Chop spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.  Quick tip, to make the spaghetti squash easier to cut, microwave for 1-2 minutes.  This makes the shell a little softer, so that you don’t have to hammer away at it like your hacking down a tree.
  4. Place the spaghetti squash cut side down, and bake in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes.
  5. Once cooked, take the spaghetti squash out of the oven, flip the halves over and let cool.
  6. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S blade, place the basil, sun-dried tomato, manchego cheese, walnuts, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
  7. Turn the food processor on, and pulse 5 or 6 times, for 2-3 seconds each time.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  8. Then turn the food processor on, and while the food processor is running, slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil and continue running the food processor until the pesto ingredients have fully combined.
  9. Once the spaghetti squash has cooled enough to handle, use a fork to scrap the squash noodles into a large bowl.
  10. Pour the pesto over the spaghetti squash noodles, and stir the  pesto with the squash noodles until fully incorporated.
  11. Plate and enjoy!

 

Notes:

  • You can sub shredded Parmesan cheese for manchego cheese if this type of cheese is difficult to locate, or omit the cheese entirely to make the recipe dairy free and Whole30 friendly.