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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Soup - PALEO

Disclaimer: I was home today... sick. I made this soup so everyone in my family would have something nourishing to eat since they are sick too. Translation: This recipe takes an hour but it's worth it :)

Do you ever have a half-eaten rotisserie chicken sitting in the fridge or am I all alone in this one? For me it usually starts when I bring one home from the store in the morning planning on using it for dinner (I'm usually making the big bowl of awesome yumminess. Check it out under salads)

When 5:00 rolls around and I go to the fridge to get my ingredients, I find my rotisserie chicken... The lid is mangled, the carton is ripped, the chicken looks like it's been attacked by a wild animal. It's clinging to life... hoping to be resuscitated. It's breasts are nowhere to be found and I'm left with two options. Starve or make dinner out of the underside of the chicken. The culprit who did this to my chicken shall remain nameless but let's just say he blew in at about noon, completely famished and went for it like it was the last supper. Ladies, if this happens to you on a regular basis you can solve the problem with a simple love note. Since we are an Italian household I prefer, "U toucha my chicken, I breaka u face". Just make sure it's displayed prominently to halt the meat hooks before it's too late.

So... as I was saying. I need to turn my half-masticated chicken into dinner. We happen to all be sick in this household right now so I think chicken, vegetable soup is in order.

What you'll need:

A rotisserie chicken, preferably with some meat still attached to it

veggies of your choice such as:

cabbage, carrot, broccoli, onion, bell pepper, etc.

1T Italian Seasoning

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 bay leaves

a little salt if you want

What you do:

Pick the chicken clean of meat and set the meat aside. Get a big ol pot of water going on the stove and drop the chicken carcass in the water with the garlic and bay leaves. Boil the heck out of it for about 45 minutes adding water as necessary to keep the level up. While waiting for the stock to cook saute your veggies until they are crisp tender. Strain the stock with a fine sieve to get rid of the bones and other particles. Return the stock to the pot. TASTE. Does it need a little salt? Is the flavor of the stock too strong for you? If so add some water. If you are not used to homemade stock the flavor will be more intense than the flavor of boxed broth.

Add in the veggies, the chicken and the Italian seasoning and simmer about 10 minutes.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Steak with Tomatoes and Feta - PRIMAL

My life has certainly changed since the beginning of this blog nine months ago. Back then I was a harried mother of two-year old twin boys with a heck of a lot on her plate and not enough time in the day to do it all. Wait... that sounds familiar...

The change has come around in the way of being a gym owner (my husband surprised me on my 40th birthday) and taking care of my mom who is very ill. Those two things have put me right over the top and headlong into crazy-land. Now is not the time to be disorganized... Alas, I am.

I'm not organized by nature. I struggle with it every day. I am a typical mother screaming down the freeway to the next appointment or play date. I am the mother who makes the grocery list and conveniently leaves it in my car or on the kitchen counter, not figuring this out until I'm elbow deep in the zucchini and I can't remember if I am out of tomato paste. I am the mother who has three inches of grey roots that desperately need to be covered but no time to do it, so I'm sure by now people are confusing me with a skunk.

For those reasons and many more, I decided to bring Primal Mama to semi-homemade status. I will still be including scratch recipes but they are going to be lightning fast. Some of my recipes won't be recipes at all. They will be about what you can pick up and throw together, because I know most of you out there feel me. We may have totally different backgrounds and lifestyles, but I know most of you are trying to fit 40 hours into 24.

This brings me to my next announcement:

Primal Mama is also going to include recipes that are, well... Primal.

Yes, that is right... I'm branching out big time. This may upset all of you Paleo diehards but if you look back on my recipes, many of them are not "pure". I will never give up my use of vinegar and truth be told I love and a desperately miss cheese. Now let me explain the fine print.

When I say cheese, I don't mean those nasty plastic filmed slices of yellow dye #17 mixed with corn syrup and gluten. This is what they lovingly refer to as "processed cheese food". What in the name of all things sane does that mean? First of all the word "processed" is displayed right on the front of the package. That's scary enough. They don't even attempt to hide it or call it something else like the case of Yogurt Bites marketed to children with "yogurty goodness" printed on the front and "contains no yogurt" printed so small you have to have the Hubble telescope to read it. Oh man, I've gone off on a tangent again. By this time you should be used to it.

I mean cheese... real cheese. 100% grass fed New Zealand cheddar (Trader Joe's) or raw cheese from US Wellness. I also love sheep's milk feta. The real stuff not the rubbery "Athenos" brand or the like. Real feta can be found at a Mediterranean market. If you live in the middle of "lilly white world" you may have to order it on line. And the bonus of good feta is... It's grass fed!

So you will see some recipes in the future that contain some cheese. I will label them with PRIMAL if the recipe contains cheese or vinegar or other dairy products. I will label the recipe PALEO if it fits in that category. For example:


Steak with Roasted Tomato and Feta

What you need:

Grass Fed steak (I used Rib Eye)

A container of cherry tomatoes

1/4 to 1/2 cup awesome quality feta

olive oil

cracked black pepper

dried parsley

What you do:

Preheat oven to 400. Place the cherry tomatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil over them. Roll them around the pan so they get coated in the oil. Sprinkle with black pepper. Put them in the oven and forget them for about 20 minutes. The tomatoes are done when most of them have popped and have a semi-deflated look. In the meantime grill up the steaks to your liking. If you are not a grill master, it is worth the money to buy a grill pan and cook them stove-top.

Plate the steak and put a scoop of cherry tomatoes on top. sprinkle with the feta and a little dried parsley for color.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Primal Mama Goes Semi-Homemade

I know, I know, it's a big announcement. But I have to do it or this family is never going to eat again. Since becoming the proud new owner of Anaheim CrossFit my time for cooking has been whittled down to opening a bag of salad greens at about 9pm.

My poor husband. I lured him into marriage with my cooking. Every night I would cook no less than four courses of delicious and beautiful food complete with table setting. He would come home from work and the entire house smelled like the dish I was making. I even wore an apron... and make-up.

Exactly 20 months after we married all hell broke loose in our house. Yes, I am talking about the birth of our twins. Ever since that beautiful day in January of '08 our house has been utter madness. I remember thinking that things could not get anymore chaotic. Now I just laugh at those memories. The truth is that things have gotten more chaotic exponentially. Only now on most days I roll with the punches. Oh, who am I kidding...

I digress.

The point of this post is to announce that I will be offering many recipes from now on that are faster than fast. They will consist of things you can grab from the market and literally put together in a snap. Can you open a bag? Can you hold the handle of the knife while using the sharp end to cut? Then you can make these recipes!

So let's kick off with a little kabob and side salad that is beautiful and tasty. You can have dinner on the table in 10 minutes or less.

What you'll need:

premade kabobs from your local store (I like Sprouts)

a package of salad greens

a small packet of walnuts

a container of blackberries

a small container of strawberries

a small handful of dried cranberries (these contain sugar)

for the dressing:

equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice

What you do:

Preheat your broiler/grill pan and throw on the kabobs turning them every few minutes until cooked through. When you buy them from the butcher they can give you exact cooking times... just ask them!

While the kabobs are cooking, toss all of the ingredients for the salad together. All you have to do is open the containers, slice the strawberries in half and dump everything into a bowl. Whisk together the dressing.

Serve. Done.

This picture is from a restaurant where I had lunch with friends. It was my inspiration to recreate this meal in no time flat. Good luck!