Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Things have been pretty busy for me lately. We recently traveled to Pittsburgh to see two of our dearest friends and our twin godsons that are 16 months old! So adorable. It was a fun-filled weekend that had me taking naps EVERY day. Twin boys…whoooosh. Then I was in Omaha for work. THEN my two awesome kid sisters came and visited me.

When I’m running around full steam, on the road, and on air planes, I need a good snack. I recently tried SuperSeedz, gourmet pumpkin seeds, and I absolutely LOVE them. I took them on the road with me and shared my new addiction with everyone. They are so delicious and have tons of different flavors. They are one of the best gluten free and paleo-friendly treats on the market.

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

I’m typically not a big person on doing giveaways, but I am completely in deep smit with these pumpkin seeds.  So if you are looking for a tasty snack that is loaded with protein and nutrients, you have to try these!

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

For a sweet treat, try the chocolate flavored Cocoa Joe! ERHMERGERD! Or spice it up with the Curry Flavored seeds. I really liked these seeds so much that I used the curry flavored pumpkin seeds as a nut crust for a paleo version of chicken fingers! Super kid friendly and easy for the whole family to help prepare.

SuperSeedz and I are giving away a FREE box of all of the delicious flavors that SuperSeedz offers! It’s an amazing snack box full of tasty treats.  There are two different ways to enter this giveaway.

Receive up to 2 entries if you:

  1. Subscribe to Big Eats Tiny Kitchen blog by email. 
  2. Leave a comment below about your favorite way to use pumpkin seeds. Extra points for creativity!

The fine print: You have until midnight CST on Sunday, July 6th, 2014, to leave a comment or subscribe to my blog for chances to win the box of tasty treats. I will notify the winner by email on Monday, July 7th, 2014. To claim the prize, the winner must reply within 7 days with a valid mailing address or another winner will be selected at random. Good luck!

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken (Grain Free, Gluten Free, Paleo-Friendly)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Note – A food processor or blender is necessary for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of chicken breasts or thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (I used Super Seedz Curry Flavor)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or any seasoning that you prefer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Process 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in a food processor for 1 minute or until seeds resemble bread crumbs. Add coconut, curry powder, and salt and pulse until combined. Pour pumpkin seed mixture onto a large plate.
  3. Whisk two eggs in a medium bowl. Dredge chicken in egg to fully coat. Take egg-coated chicken and lay onto plate with pumpkin seed mixture. Coat chicken on both sides with pumpkin seed mixture thoroughly. Place coated chicken onto roasting pan.
  4. Cook chicken for 35 to 45 minutes at 400 F (until chicken is cooked through), flipping halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven when cooked through and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 

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Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Are you ready for a pie that is great to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, late lunch…or would that be linner? Go with it. Let’s chow down on the best that the season has to offer: strawberries and rhubarb.

My rhubarb plant is growing like a banshee in my yard. If you can plant a rhubarb plant, do it. They come back year after year after year, giving you stalks of tart goodness. My variety is green, which is quite a bit tarter (is that a word) than the red variety. But I dig it combined with strawberries, peaches, blackberries…whatever.

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Let’s make a PIE! A Breakfast PIE! Ya…you heard me! No judging here.

The crust has lemon zest, almond flour, coconut palm sugar, an egg, and butter. Love the citrusy burst that the lemon provides. After mixing up the crust, we are going to reserve part of the crust for the crumble top. Super easy peasy.

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The filling of this cream pie is adapted from Joy the Baker’s Cherry Pie Bars, which contains a custard created from greek yogurt, eggs, and lemon.  So this pie has some protein power too! Breakfast plus. Oh and instead of using all purpose flour (like the original recipe), I chose to stabilize the custard with arrowroot powder. Low carb plus! (Note: cornstarch could be used as well if you do not have any issues with corn grains.)

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This pie has been the best thing about my mornings…and evenings…and lunches. Dallop with an extra scoop of greek yogurt if you want. Cheers to summer freshness.

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

A few notes about this pie:

1. The coconut palm sugar is processed in a food processor for 1 to 2 minutes to make a fine sugar powder. This helps with dispersing it throughout the crust and crumble. If you do not have coconut palm sugar, you could like swap out for another sweetener like honey or maple syrup, however I have not tried this and it will change the consistency of your crust given that honey is a liquid.

2. I used fresh fruit. If using frozen, be sure to thaw and drain it thoroughly or else you’ll have a soggy goop. TRUST ME. I did it. Tastes great, but looks less appetizing.

3. To make this completely grain free, replace the oats with your favorite chopped nut such as walnuts or pecans.

 

Gluten Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Crust Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1/2 Cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar (maple syrup or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 Cup diced rhubarb
  • 1 pint strawberries, halved

Topping

  • 1/2 Cup gluten free oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″X8″ pan or 9″ pie plate with butter and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, process the palm sugar for 1 to 2 minutes until it becomes a fine powder. Add almond flour, salt, and lemon zest. Pulse to combine. Add diced butter to food processor and pulse until combined and appears to be sandy texture. Add egg to food processor and process until mixture forms a type of “dough” ball, the consistency of cookie dough. Reserve 1/4 cup of dough and set aside. Take remaining crust dough and spread along the bottom of the prepared pie pan or baking dish. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients except rhubarb and strawberries in a medium bowl. Mix well. Add rhubarb and halved strawberries to yogurt mixture. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of the food processor, use reserved 1/4 cup crust dough and combine with 1/2 cup gluten free oats. Pulse the food processor a few times until the oats and the dough are combined to form a crumble topping.
  5. When the crust is finished pre baking, pour the yogurt topped strawberries and rhubarb into the pie crust. Evenly disperse the yogurt mixture and fruit into the pan. Sprinkle oat crumble over the top of the pie evenly. Place the pie back into the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Oat crumble will be golden brown and center of pie will be firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve either warmed or cooled. Refrigerate leftovers.
Notes:

1. Recipe adapted and inspired from Joy The Baker’s Cherry Pie Bars.

2. Recipe can be made grain free by replacing the gluten free oats with walnuts or pecans. The greek yogurt can be replaced with 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk.

3. Cooking times may vary based on altitude and types of ovens.

Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

One of my all time favorite salads that I make is my Spring Roll Salad with Thai Dressing. It is the perfect salad to make when herbs are springing forth from the ground in full force. It’s packed with fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and fresh basil.  I jam all of those fresh beauties in the salad and top with carrots, cucumber, and spring onions and just POUR that beautiful thai dressing in my mouth..I mean, on the salad. But seriously, I could totally gorge myself on that stuff.

If you don’t have fresh herbs growing, you can totally grab some at the farmers market in large beautiful bunches. But I recommend growing some in pots. Super easy and incredibly rewarding to be able to use fresh herbs in a flash. They are easy to grow from seed or purchasing starters at your local gardening store.

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Anywho, I decided to take my amazing herbalicious spring roll salad to a new level. I topped it with grilled chicken that had been marinated in a thai flavored marinade for an hour. My husbands words after eating this salad were “This is the best salad I’ve ever eaten in my life.”  Who can’t love a great juicy grilled chicken and amazing peanut sauce! Heaven.

So this is seriously an easy peasy dinner, folks. Maybe not as easy as scrambled eggs but soooo much more tasty. Marinate the chicken for at least an hour or as long as overnight. You can use bone in or boneless, heck you can even go with breasts, thighs, legs, wings…whatever you want. I want judge if you’re a thigh person over a boob person. It’s cool. We are being super easy over here. Note: if you choose bone in breasts or thighs, it will take longer to grill than boneless. But who cares…we are grilling. Grab a brew, throw your meat on the grill, cheers to summer. That stupid winter is over. And here comes that ungrateful sticky humidity. Get ready!

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

While the chicken is grilling, throw your greens, herbs, and veggies together in separate bowls or one massive bowl. Whip up the Spicy Peanut Dressing. Add water to the peanut dressing as needed to get it to the consistency that you want. Set it aside and let everyone pour the sauce at their leisure. You may want to make extra!

Pull the chicken off the grill, let sit for a few minutes, then cube it up. Add it to the salads.

Pour dressing. Pour some more. C’mon!

Done.

Eat.

Lick bowl.

Dream about peanut dressing until the time you get it. Or is that just me? Life sure is better with fresh herbs and peanut dressing!

Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs chicken breasts or chicken thighs (I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • 2 Tablespoons nam pla (thai fish sauce) (I use red boat…great write up on it here)
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste (red or green works)

Spring Salad Ingredients

(basically this Thai Spring Roll Salad of mine)

  • Mixed greens (lettuce, baby kale, arugula, etc)
  • shredded carrots
  • cucumber
  • green onions
  • red bell pepper
  • avocado
  • fresh limes
  • fresh mint, cilantro, and basil
  • Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (substitute peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter in the dressing depending on your dietary needs)

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag or shallow glass dish. Mix marinade ingredients in a small dish and pour over the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator or an hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat the grill (or preheat oven to 425 F). Remove chicken from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain. Place chicken on hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until a thermometer reads 155 F within the thickest part of the chicken breast or thigh. If baking, place the chicken on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove cooked chicken from grill or oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Mix ingredients for the spicy peanut dressing together in a small bowl or small food processor. You can use almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter based on dietary needs. Add water as needed to obtain the consistency that you desire for dressing. Set aside.
  4. Assemble salad ingredients in separate bowls or in a single bowl. Top with cubed grilled chicken. I like mine with extra herbs, sliced avocado, and a big squeeze of lime too. Then pour the peanut dressing on top. I even go for an extra dash of siracha to boot. Mmmm. Enjoy!

 

Carne Asada Salad (Paleo Friendly and Gluten Free)

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Have you ever lost your mojo? Felt lost?

If you are frequent reader or friend of mine or even someone I have passed on the street, it has been a bit too obvious that I have lost my mojo.  I’m typically so goal-driven, mega type A, and awesome…or anal, whichever you deem it. But not for sometime. For a while I have felt like a feather in the wind with no direction, which is TERRIFYING to me. I think we all have a threshold of how much willpower we have and how much we can endure. And then one day you snap…for me it was the lack of ketchup in our house when I had made sweet potato fries…. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY CAN”T I HAVE WHAT I WANT!

Too dramatic? naaaah.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But there has to be a certain point when you just have to realize that life just is what it is. We get handed certain things in life and we can either roll around in it like a stinky pile of poop or we can make poop pie and throw it at someone that deserves it. I’ve decided to quite rolling in poop and throw it. Wait…I don’t think that came out right.

Well, you get what I’m saying right?  Take out your frustrations on others, am I right? That’s what friends are for? right? Friends? Thanks for being there for me. 🙂 No really. Thanks.

This week has been operation “get my mojo back”. If you have often felt like your mojo is gone, I challenge you to get it back by realizing that we can’t compare ourselves to others (even past versions of ourselves). We are where we are and we have to try to enjoy these moments, even the hard ones, because our time is short and our love is vast.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Here are a few of the things I did to get mojo back this week that you can try:

  • Exercise – Go for a walk. Listen to the birds, see the trees in bloom, embrace the now.
  • Treat Yo’ self – Hello mani/pedi.
  • Cook – Try something simple and fresh for yourself and family. Your belly will thank you.
  • Laugh – This is the most important thing of all.

As part of my “get my mojo back” week, I decided to cook something fresh and simple. I thawed out a strip steak from our purchase of 1/4 of a COW. (I don’t know which fourth I got, but he’s tasty.)  Strip steaks are nice and thin and are great for carne asada! So I whipped up a quick carne asada marinade when I got home from work. Fresh limes are key to the marinade. Let your steak marinade for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. Fresh greens are abundant in the farmers market and in my garden so I decided to create a fresh salad instead of tacos.  I used fresh baby butter lettuce, baby kale, and cilantro that is growing in our garden and some other goodies that I picked up at the market to create a Carne Asada Salad that was quick, delicious, and something that I will be making many times during this grilling season. Feel free to modify your toppings, but focus on fresh and good quality items.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Strip steaks are thin and will not require a long time on the grill. For medium, you will likely only need to grill it 4 to 5 minutes per side, or less. Keep an eye on it. You could even cook your steaks inside in a cast iron skillet or grill pan if you don’t have a grill.

Carne Asada Salad (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 lb strip steak (flank steak would work too)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, etc)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • crumbled feta (optional)
  • fresh limes
  • avocado
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. Place the strip steak in a large glass bowl or baking dish.  Do not use metal because it may react with the acids in the marinade. Salt and pepper on both sides. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the steak. Make sure that all of is covered and saturated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. Pull out of the refrigerator and allow the steak to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). 
  2. Preheat your grill or grill pan using medium-high heat or flame. Brush the grates of your grill with a bit of olive oil so that the steak does not stick to the grates. Remove the steak from the marinade and place onto the hottest part of the grill and cover the grill. Grill until the underside of the steak is browned, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak.  Flip the steak and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal. This will help the steak from being chewy.
  4. Prepare four salad bowls and place sliced steak on top. As another option, prepare these as tacos using grilled corn tortillas. Mmmmm! Happy eating!

 

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Tilapia Fish Tacos  / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen
Tilapia Fish Tacos / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I still remember the first time I heard someone mention fish tacos. It was nearly 15 years ago. My face contorted and I wanted to vom in my mouth. Tasty, huh.  They didn’t sound appetizing…at…all. I imagined tacos that were a combo of Long John Silvers and Taco Bell…bleeeeeeh. But I went for it and took the fish taco challenge.

Thank goodness that was not what they turned out to be. They were fresh. They were NOT breaded. They were spicy with a fresh vinegary slaw on top. And did I mention the cilantro? and lime juice? And grilled corn tortillas? Ya, there was no turning back. I was a fish taco convert. I wanted to tell everyone about the magic of wrapping a blackened tilapia filet into a corn tortilla with cilantro and lime juice. I was ready to shove them in any doubters face.

Tilapia Fish Tacos (Gluten Free)

But now it is hard to go to a restaurant and NOT find fish tacos on their menu. I don’t have to convince anyone that they aren’t a greasy batch of deep fried fish wrapped in a gordita. Not a taco!

I make fish tacos all the time for solo dinners and for guests, blowing their minds and introducing them to the great fish taco movement. I make them similar to the first ones that I had in California so many years ago. Bursts of freshness are with every bite. Definitely don’t skimp on the lime or the cilantro! Top them with a great fresh vinegary slaw, such as this brussels sprout slaw or this cabbage slaw. I also love whipping up a mango salsa to accompany them.  Mmmmm. So what are you waiting for? Go start converting people to the fish taco revolution!

Tilapia Fish Tacos (Gluten Free)

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 limes
  • crumbled feta
  • Slaw – such as Brussels sprout and cabbage slaw
  • 8 corn tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine seasonings in a small bowl (paprika through salt).
  3. Pat the tilapia dry and then sprinkle seasoning on top and bottom of filets. Place tilapia filets on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish begins to flake apart with a fork.
  4. Remove the fish from the oven. Flake into large chunks.
  5. To prepare the tortillas, either place them in a single layer in the oven for just 1 to 2 minutes or place over an open gas flame to grill them slightly on the edges. I don’t like to microwave my tortillas because they turn out rubbery.
  6. Now it’s time to MAKE YOUR TACOS! Place fish into tortilla and top with slaw, fresh cilantro, and a generous fresh squeeze of lime juice.

Detox Salad Bowl with Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing

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I’ve lost my mojo and I just feel lost. I even feel lost in the kitchen. Of all places, that was a place I felt I could always turn to and whip something up full of desire and love and enjoyment. But not lately.

I went three weeks without going to the grocery store. THREE WEEKS. We were down to just a dozen eggs and frozen green beans…. worst omelette ever!

I couldn’t bring myself to go to the store. Even if I had gone, I would have just stared blankly at the isles and probably came home with another dozen eggs. It was the weirdest feeling to open my refrigerator and not have anything fresh in it…and then to not want to immediately drive my sorry little butt to the store or market and stock up on something…ANYTHING!

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And then a friend asked me a magical question….She asked me to cook with her. Zing. Cook. With. Someone. That was it! I needed a cooking partner! Someone to inspire me!

Her idea was to pick a delicious recipe in one of our old food magazines and to cook it with her in her AMAAAAZING kitchen. So I slowly started reopening and rereading my old dust-collecting magazines. And then slowly but surely, I started getting ideas. I felt my cooking desire was like the Grinch’s heart slooooowly expanding and growing. It just kept growing and growing and growing until I found myself at the farmers market on Saturday buying fennel, golden beets, radishes, arugula, kale….frothing at the mouth at all the herbs!  it was like a veggie frenzy!

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Who knows how all of these vegetables will fit together but I’m feeling mighty salady and detoxy right now. It was great to finally NOT eat eggs for every meal. I whipped up a quick Detox Salad Bowl of fresh spring vegetables and devoured it. Now I’m dreaming and dreaming of the new salads that I can create with my rag tag bunch of vegetables. Maybe I can get out of this funk one recipe at a time.

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Detox Salad Bowl with Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of greens (spring greens, spinach, kale, arugula, chard, etc)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado
  • Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except avocado into a single large bowl or into separate serving bowls. Slice avocado and distribute evenly among bowls.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine sunflower seeds and warm water for 10 minutes. Pour soaked sunflower seeds, soaking water, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and dill in the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Blend well for about 3 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.
  3. Pour Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed dressing over salad and enjoy. Place leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Hi. It’s spring…nearly summer. And do you know what that means? VEGGIES! Fresh amazing veggies. They are sprouting up everywhere in my garden. Beets and carrots and spinach and kale and cilantro and cucumbers and tomatoes! I can’t wait.

This weekend I enjoyed renewing my Saturday ritual of going to the Farmer’s Market bright and early and drooling over the produce and transplants that the local farmers had brought.  It makes salad making an adventure. Not your boring ol’ iceberg here…no spring rocket, and baby leaf kale, and beautiful sorel! Throw in some herbs, roasted beets, and avocado…yaaaaa, NOW you have heaven.

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Inspired by Pinch of Yum and my Blood Orange and Avocado Salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large beet
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups of raw kale, washed, destemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (or spring lettuce mix)
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin slices
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or lemon juice or lime juice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice (reserved from cutting up grapefruit for salad)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or with nonstick spray. Wash the beet thoroughly and scrub the outside very well. Remove the top and bottom of the beet. Cut in half and continue to cut up the beet until you obtain even 1-inch cubes. Place into a large bowl and drizzle with about 1/2-tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place beet cubes onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. Wash the fennel bulb thoroughly. Remove the bottom root portion. Slice longways into even 1/4-inch width slices. Place in a clean bowl and drizzle with 1/2-tablesppon of olive and salt and pepper. Place the fennel slices onto the second prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. When the fennel and beets are done roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Set aside. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated.
  4. Wash kale and massage with hands in a large bowl. Gently toss in the grapefruit pieces, cucumber, cilantro, and dill.
  5. Combine dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Just before ready to serve, pour dressing ingredients over the kale, grapefruit, and cucumber. Add roasted beets and fennel and toss all ingredients together gently so as not to stain everything red.
  6. When you are ready to serve the salad, add the avocados and gently combine everything because the avocados will melt and mush quickly into the salad. Top with any additional herbs, walnuts, and feta.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sorry for the long delay in between posts. Recently life has been tough at times but life also has been very good. When I am going through a roller coaster of emotions and dead lines and choices and what not, I consume chocolate and peanut butter. Doctors orders.

But when life is good…I also eat chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

The combination sends warm fuzzies through my body. It’s a choco-pb hug for my soul. I get my best soul hugs from those crack-like addictive Reese’s PB eggs that spring forth from every corner around this time of year. I can stay away from Reese’s (nearly) the rest of the year, but throw them in an egg shape! Holy frijoles, I can’t stop. My eyes pop out of my head all googley and I froth at the mouth and I protect them like a squirrel, hiding my Reese’s eggs in weird and unassuming places.

These cookies are the wonderful love child of two of my favorite cookies: No bake cookies + macaroons. Whoa. Whoa.

Let this happen.

Make them egg shaped. They are better for you than those other choco-pb eggs and just as addictive.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It will make you love life even when there are a few major down moments.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free and Diary Free)

Adapted from Against All Grain

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy unsweetened peanut butter*
  • 1 egg white
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, honey, cacao powder, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Place egg white and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Using a whisk or electric beaters, beat the egg white for about 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Combine meringue with other ingredients in the large bowl.
  4. Using a melon baller, scoop out cookies and place them onto the parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour on a wire cooling wrack.

*Note – To make these Paleo friendly, use either almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter. 

Dijon and Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

When I was younger, I never really ate pork chops. I’m not sure why, but it just wasn’t a staple at our house.  And similarly, they aren’t a staple in my home. But put them on a menu and that will most definitely be the first thing that I order.

My husband grew up on smothered pork chops and other down home cooking, so whenever we get pork chops from our meat CSA (community supported agriculture) program, he is elated.  So I’ve been working on my pork chop cooking repertoire. My favorite pork chop recipe thus far is based on a Horseradish and Cider Glazed Pork Chop recipe from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It’s easy. It’s classic. It’s super yummy. I made a few tweaks to her recipe, where she calls for horseradish I subbed for Dijon mustard. A good Dijon tends to have a horseradish elemental flavor, so I figured this would be an adequate sub.   And what goes better with pork than cabbage? Not much…except Beer. 

I love beautiful purple cabbage, and I love it even more ROASTED. It’s so easy to drizzle cabbage with a tie bit of olive oil and then throw it in the oven to roast away while you cook the pork chops on the stove top. We scarfed this meal down in no time. It’s pretty and easy and special enough for company.  Plus you won’t be spending all of your time in the kitchen. I also whole heartedly recommend the dill…fresh dill! It’s the finishing touch and boy howdy does it deliver.

Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Dijon and Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Serves 4

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of hard apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 bone in pork chops (1/2-inch thick), trimmed of fat, patted dry and liberally salted and peppered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • Roasted cabbage (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cider vinegar, hard cider, Dijon mustard, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet (cast iron works wonders), until oil just begins to smoke. Place pork chops into skillet and allow them to brown well on one side (about 3 minutes). Turn the pork chops and cook an additional minute on the other side. Transfer the browned pork chops to a plate and drain the skillet of any excess fat.
  3. Pour the apple cider glaze mixture into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken (about 2 to 4 minutes). Your spatula should leave a trail across the bottom of the pan when scraped through the glaze.
  4. Return the browned pork chops to the skillet with the thickened glaze. Turn the pork chops to coat both sides with the glaze. Continue to cook them over medium heat until the centers of the pork chops are cooked through (a temperature of 140 F). This should take about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings in the glaze.
  5. Transfer pork chops to plates with roasted cabbage. Pour additional sauce on top of both the pork chops and the cabbage. Sprinkle with fresh dill.

Roasted Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of purple or green cabbage (i prefer the color of the purple cabbage)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for coating the roasting pan)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice cabbage into 1/4-inch slices and place into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, and salt. Combine well and place onto an oiled roasting pan.
  3. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove from oven and place equal portions on plates.

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Grain Free Samoa Bars

It’s Girl Scout cookie season. People are walking around with goofy grins, Do-Si-Do crumbs on their shirts, stupid Thin-Min-covered fingers, Tagalong-scented breath, and boxes of Samoas stuffed in their sock drawers so that no one else will get THEIR cookies. Or is this just me?

And who came up with those names anyways? Do-Si-Do? Tagalong? What is a Samoa even?

Grain Free Samoa Bars

But in reality I’m jealous. Seethingly jealous. I can’t have any of them. I just stare with dark, wide-eyed, frothing and foaming desire.

But this year, the ol’ Girl Scouts gave the gluten-free crowd a consolation prize and came out with a GF cookie. I was pumped, until I found out it was a shortbread. Womp womp. Really? Shortbread?  That all you got? No badge for you! Get back in the kitchen. TRY AGAIN.

Grain Free Samoa Bars

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Never fear. After being challenged by a friend that Grain Free Samoas would not be good, I woke up on Saturday morning with a mission. A cookie mission.

These cookies deserve a badge! A medal! An Oscar, even! They make you THINK they are the real deal, but alas…they have no wheat, no grains, no processed sugar. Ya…SUCK IT TRABECK!

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Instead of making single cookie-disks, I opted for bars. Because seriously, these puppies disappear so quickly into your mouth that cutting out little stupid tire shaped cookies is not worth it. Lets save time. Let’s make bars! The shortbread crust is perfect and crisp. I saved even more time by not dipping each bar in chocolate and instead spread the chocolate layer between the shortbread crust and the caramel coconut layer. The caramel coconut layer is a delicious concoction of honey and a smidge of molasses that has been cooked down to an amber-caramel-heavenly syrup.

These do take a bit of time to make each part. But the wait and work is WELL worth it. So make a batch, hide several (because they will go fast if you share them), turn on the Oscars, grab a yummy Samoa bar, and do your best Matthew McConaughey impersonation….”alright, alright, alright”.

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Makes 16 small bars

Shortbread Crust Ingredients (inspired by Deliciously Organic)

  • 1 1/2 Cup almond flour (such as Honeyville)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Chocolate Layer

  • 1 Cup semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

Coconut Caramel Topping (adapted from Against All Grains)

  • 1/2 Cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup coconut milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Cups unsweetened shredded coconut

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/2 Cup semisweet or dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place parchment paper in the bottom of an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Combine crust ingredients in a medium bowl until just combined. The mixture will be crumbly. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, place the unsweetened coconut on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Place on the top rack to toast. Toast the coconut for about 5 to 7 minutes, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. Remove the toasted coconut from oven when golden brown and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. After the crust is finished baking, pull the crust from the oven. Turn the oven off. Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped chocolate onto the warm crust. Place back into the warm oven for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a rubber spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the shortbread crust. Set on a wire rack and allow to cool. Place in refrigerator after cooled.
  5. For the caramel sauce, place honey and molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low bubbling boil for about 7 minutes, swirling frequently to caramelize evenly. Remove from heat and stir in butter, coconut milk, and salt until smooth and completely combined. Stir in toasted coconut.
  6. Remove cooled shortbread crust from the refrigerator. Spread the coconut caramel mixture on top of the chocolate covered crust.
  7. Microwave remaining chocolate in a microwave safe dish for about 2 to 3 minutes, in 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals. Once the chocolate is completely melted, drizzle the chocolate (using a spoon or fork) over the Samoa bars. Cool bars completely in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  8. Use parchment paper to pull out the bars from the baking dish. Place on a cutting board and cut into 12 to 16 bars. Place bar in hand and shove into mouth. Mmmmm. 🙂