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Pulled Pork Chili

Super Bowl Sunday has always been a day full of excess. Lots of food… lots of beer… never enough sleep that night and lots of regret the next day. But this year?

chili

Not so much.

I mean there was food and beer, but sadly for poor little paleo me, most of it was off-limits. Oh and apparently there was also a game? Not sure though because I sure as hell didn’t see one.

So instead of my usual gorging on all things carbalicious and cheesy, I decided to bring something that I could enjoy without totally going off the paleo wagon, but that everyone else would (hopefully) like too. And that’s how I landed on chili. It’s like the Jerry Seinfeld of food. How could anyone not like it?

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Surely it wouldn’t be the same without cans and cans of delicious beans and sky-high piles of shredded cheese. And the sour cream?? MY GOD, THE SOUR CREAM!

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Yeah. Didn’t miss any of it. Not a one. In fact, I actually think using pork is my new favorite way to make chili. Not only because I got to use my crockpot, and you guys know how I feel about my crockpot, but I loved the complexity of the flavors that developed without throwing all kinds of “stuff” in to mask the flavor of the meat. Instead it really enhanced it.

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So maybe I didn’t get to face plant into jalapeno popper dip this year or drink a cold frosty beer, but I did enjoy a very nice bottle of Merlot and didn’t fall into a food-induced coma that resulted in unbuttoning my jeans in public just so I could keep breathing. Yeah. It was kind of nice. And everyone else actually seemed to enjoy it, sans beans and all. And if they lied to me, well that just makes them good friends.

Pulled Pork Chili
Prep time 15 min
Cook time 10-12 hours
Serves 8
You’ll Need:
3-4 lb pork shoulder (or “butt”) roast (I used boneless, but only bc it was on sale)
2 T evoo
1 T southwest spice rub (combo of cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper and garlic powder)
1 med yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 T cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 T coconut sugar (you can sub regular sugar here)
2 jalapenos, sliced
juice of 1/2 a lime

Directions: Season the pork with the southwest spice rub, and heat oil in a pan over med-high heat. Once oil is hot, sear all sides of the roast until a nice dark brown crust develops. Place chopped onion and peppers on the bottom of the crockpot and set the roast on top. In a large bowl, combine crushed peppers and the rest of your spices and sugar, and pour over the pork. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. (I cooked mine for 8 and while it was done, it was still a little tough to shred. The longer you can go, the easier it will fall apart.) Once tender, shred with two forks, add lime juice and cook for another hour. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and avocado, or any other fixins’ you like.

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paleo pork chili

The only thing I missed was using tortilla chips as my spoon. But again… pants stayed buttoned, so win?


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BBQ Chicken & Mushroom Tortilla Pizza

There are so so many things I love about this meal.  And yes, it’s kind of a “duh recipe”, as in, it’s so easy I almost feel bad blogging about it.  However, I would feel even worse not telling you about this tasty little treat.  I’m really just a selfless person like that.

pizza 5

So the things I like…

1.  It’s pizza.  (Again, duh.)  I LOVE pizza. It’s the jam.  The ‘ish.  The stuff.  Whatever, it’s my favorite and I’ll continue my love affair with it until the day I can’t get my dentures moving fast enough to chew it.

2.  It took less than 15 minutes.  What’s that you say?  Less than 15?  Yes, pretend voices, less than 15.  Including chopping.

pizza 1

3.  It serves one.  If you make just one.  You can make as many as you like, but if you find yourself in a situation where your husband already grilled and ate 3 hot sausages, and you just got back from yoga and are completely famished, well hey, this completely hypothetical situation might call for a single serving.  But maybe make two so you don’t wish you had more later.

4.  It was made up completely by things I always have laying around, including random veggies and leftover grilled chicken.  Say word.

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BBQ Chicken & Mushroom Tortilla Pizza
Total time: 15 minutes
Serves: 1
You’ll Need:
1 flour tortilla (medium-sized)
2 T bbq sauce of your choice (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
2 oz shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms
1 oz chopped onion
1-2 oz diced grilled chicken breast
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350, spray baking sheet with olive oil.  Place tortilla on baking sheet and spread bbq sauce evenly.  Add most of the cheese, then the chicken, mushrooms, and onion.  Finish with the remaining cheese and fresh parsley, then sprinkle with crushed red pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted.

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pizza 3

The other great thing about this is you can very easily make it vegetarian and just add additional vegetables you like.  Normally I’m more of a veggie-pizza girl, but like I said, using up leftovers makes me feel like I earned a gold star for the day.

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Or at least a glass of wine.

I earn a lot of gold stars.


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Basil Pistachio Pesto Pasta

As a lover of pasta, I like to consider myself a bit of a pesto connoisseur.

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Be it basil, arugula, or spinach, there’s something about that pulverized herby goodness that makes my heart flutter.

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I generally stick to the walnut game when it comes to my standard pesto recipe, that is when I’m not feeling froggy and go for the pine nuts ($$$).  But when I recently received a bag of basil from my CSA that was big enough to stuff a pillow, and not a pine or wal-nut in sight, I had to break out of my shell a little.

(See what I did there?)

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I should also mention that I’ve been on a major pistachio kick lately.  As in buying like 2 pound bags in the bulk nut area of the grocery store, and not leaving a morsel for poor Brandon to eat.  (You snooze you lose, amiright?) And so after a few minutes of shell crackin’ that’s just what I went with.

Aaaand now I’ve got a new favorite pesto recipe.

Basil Pistachio Pesto
Makes: about 2 cups pesto
Cook time: about 15
You’ll Need:
About 4 cups cleaned, trimmed basil leaves
1/2 cup roasted, lightly salted pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup reduced-fat grated parmesan cheese
1 T lemon juice
1/4 cup EV olive oil*
1 T minced garlic
pinch of salt and pepper

Pasta
Serves: 4-6
13oz Whole wheat spaghetti
2 cups frozen mixed pepper & onion strips
Extra pinch of parmesan for garnish

Directions:  In a large food processor, combine basil, parm, lemon juice, garlic and pistachios.  Start pulsing, slowly pouring olive oil through the opening in the lid.  Add salt, and continue to pulse until evenly pureed.  (I like my pesto with a little texture, so I don’t go too crazy.)  Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot.  Add pasta and cook for about 11 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large sautee pan, heat oil over med-high and toss peppers, cooking for about 8 minutes, or until tender.  Mix about 1 cup pesto with cooked and drained pasta, and toss in peppers and onions.  Garnish with an extra pinch of parmesan on top and a small basil leaf if you’re really feeling fancy.

*Note: I also don’t like the olive oil to over-saturate my pesto, so I tend to go light while mixing, and add a little more at a time.  You can add more than 1/4 cup if you feel your finished product is too dry.

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It’s a wonderful thing when you first notice the mild sweetness that the pistachios lend to the pesto.  Oh, and also this dinner only takes like a half hour to make, so there’s that.

And apparently, pistachios are like good for you and junk.  See?  I told you I’m obsessed.

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PS: I still hate that Gangnam Style pistachio commercial and want to throw my remote through the TV when it comes on.  But this… I love.

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