Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew (Gluten Free and Paleo-Friendly)

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I have been in an alternate universe, my friends. A universe where people never sleep, the air smells like strawberry perfume, puke, and alcohol and no one seems to care that a burger costs $22. Ya….I speak of Vegas.

One of my oldest friends was getting hitched last weekend there. It was great to see him and his new wife as well as many old friends from college.  It’s funny getting back together with friends that you don’t see that often, but when you do see them, it is as if no time has passed. But then the problem is that I feel like I have to cram so much fun into a condensed time span.

So what do you get when you concentrate fun in Vegas?  Drinks that should never be THAT big, beer pong rallies (be sure close to your eyes when the ball hits the floor so that you don’t vom in your mouth), mechanical bull riding that felt like it lasted 10 minutes (I pulled a groin muscle doing this because I’m OLD), no sleep no sleep no sleep.  It took only 12 hours for me and my husband to quickly realize that we were in our mid 30s, not early 20s. Ouch.

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As a result, mama is in major decompression mode. No bright lights, no floral smells, no alcohol, no loud noises. All I need right now is to be wrapped up in a blanket like a human burrito while I listen to soul music on the record player. Put it on repeat please.

I also need a massive helping of this warm comfy soup to combat the outside temps that are in the teens!

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew (Gluten Free and Paleo-Friendly)

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 2 onions, sliced in 1/4-inch slivers
  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place first six ingredients (stew through beef stock) in a crockpot. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, stir arrowroot powder into sherry until a smooth paste is formed. Add sherry mixture to the crockpot and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper as needed.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My husband and I ran the KC half marathon this past Saturday. One of the best things about running in the early morning is getting to see the city wake up as the sun rises. You see a view that is typically missed while enjoying the coziness of bed. Chilly morning runs sound so much better, right? I’ll tell ya, that the early morning air was perfectly crisp for me. Plus the trees were all in full amazing bloom of color like they saved all their peak beauty just for us!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s crazy to realize that five years ago I completed the full marathon. *shudder* I will say that I definitely enjoy running half marathons MUCH better than full marathons….obvi. The full marathon is a torturous journey that I’m glad I did once…and will likely never repeat.  (Similar to trying to drink a pint of vinegar on a dare….great to do once, but never again.  Am I right?)

For some reason, I really like running half marathons. It’s a decent length of race to push my training and fitness level a little higher, while not ruining my life or body. Usually. This past training season I pulled a calf muscle three weeks ago but since I gave myself three weeks off from running, I was able to bust out the race. Needless to say, after running 13.1 miles this weekend, I’m in super recovery mode. Give me carbs, give me nutrients….more importantly, give me ice cream!

On Sunday, I did a lot of stretching, drank plenty of water, and worked in my yard enjoying the fall day. I also harvested the end of season crops and late bloomer tomatoes and peppers. I wasn’t sure what to do with my bounty until I remembered this delicious Smoky Red Pepper Soup in one of my favorite new cookbooks, Vibrant Food by Kimberly Hasselbrink. I decided to adapt the soup a bit and roast the peppers and tomatoes in the oven together and whip up this nutrient-dense soup to aide my recovery. Winner winner.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This soup is the easiest thing I’ve done all weekend.  It is so easy since all of the vegetables are roasted together on a single baking sheet under a broiler.  Then all of the roasted vegetables are then pureed with spices in either a high speed blender or in a stockpot using an immersion blender. So easy I could sleep and do this. Maybe I am.

The broiler gives a great smoky flavor to the tomatoes and peppers. It is also spiced with both smoked paprika and chipotle powder which add extra smoky punch of flavor.  If you are sensitive to spice or serving this to lil tikes, then I would recommend skipping the chipotle powder since it is a bit spicy.  This is perfect as a main meal with a dollop of greek yogurt or served as a first course with this kale salad with garlic tahini dressing or this Peruvian Roasted Chicken.

Oooh….or grilled cheeeeeeese pleeeeeease.  Sorry folks. As you can tell I’m in carbo load mode.  I’ll get back to being a green machine tomorrow.

You don’t have to run a half or full marathon to deserve this soup. It’s easy, light, and provides your body the nutrients it needs to get through these fall days. Get on it!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

  • Servings: about 10 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet red bell peppers (about 2 pounds), quartered with seeds/membranes removed
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic (skins on)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 pounds of whole tomatoes (about 8 Roma tomatoes or 4 larger tomatoes)
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional if you don’t like spicy dishes)
  • Optional toppings: plain greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, roasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Place oven rack in the upper portion of the oven about 6 to 8 inches from broiler.
  2. Place cut peppers skin side up, whole roma tomatoes, whole garlic, and quartered onions in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the top rack. Broil the veggies, watching carefully, for about 10 to 15 minutes until the pepper and tomato skins are mostly blackened on top.
  3. When the peppers are cool enough to touch, remove the pepper skins by running them under running water. Peel and remove the skin from the garlic as well.
  4. In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, heat the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, salt, and spices.  Puree the soup smooth using an immersion blender. This step also can be performed using a high speed blender or food processor.
  5. Serve soup topped with greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Note – Recipe adapted from Kimberley Hasselbrink’s Vibrant Food.

Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly)

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

I have a divided house when it comes to silky smooth soups that only contain vegetables and no cream. Pureed smooth, they show off the amazing flavor of just the vegetables without anything masking their natural deliciousness. I love them…a lot. They are creamy without being loaded with cream. They are smooth and comforting and light. I want them in my belly.

The other person in this house does not like them because, well…they are creamy without being loaded with cream and they are smooth and light and in his words, “like baby food”. He wants heartiness. He wants carbs. He wants meat. He wants cream. He wants butter. He wants bacon. Do I live with Paula Dean?

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

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

And I craaaave creamy soups that have NO cream but are just ALL vegetables. I love smooth and creamy tomato soup, or carrot soup, or butternut squash soup. And every time I make them, my poor hubs has to eat this nourishing amazing bowl of yumminess and smile and leave ALL the leftovers for me. GOOD. Best lunches EVER. He can have his can of tuna and weird packages of sardines for lunch. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my creamy roasted soups and everyone at work will smell them and say “whoa…what are you having?”. In a good way. At least, that’s how it plays out in my head.

I stumbled on this Parsnip and Apple soup the other day on the most beautiful blog called Golubka Kitchen and I instantly began drooling. I couldn’t get the soup out of my brain box. I adapted it to roast the parsnips and I swapped out the potatoes for cauliflower. I found fennel on sale at the store and so I through it in as well to round out the awesome white soup. I recommend saving some of the fennel fronds and some thyme for topping these delicious bowls of comfort. The soup is also yummy with a good drizzle of olive oil.

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

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

So despite knowing that I have a divided house on smooth and creamy dreamless soups, I MADE it. and I loooooved it. I recommend you do the same, because then you will have a few days worth of amazing lunches and they get stuck with canned tuna.

Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo-Friendly)

Adapted from Golubka Kitchen

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, sliced into 1/2-inch wide slices
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for drizzling on finished soup bowls)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings: thyme leaves, olive oil, yogurt, quinoa

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Place chopped parsnips, cauliflower florets, fennel slices, apple slices, and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat evenly and then spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing at 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven. Place half of vegetables into a blender or food processor along with half of the chicken stock, cumin, and thyme. Blend well for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pureed mixture to a medium stock pot. Blend next batch of roasted vegetables and remaining chicken stock for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer remaining soup puree to stock pot.
  4. Heat soup in stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Add additional liquid if soup is too thick. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Distribute evenly into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and thyme leaves. I added some quinoa to mine for a more substantial dinner.

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

Holy cow…it’s February. Did you know this? It’s February. Crap. Days are passing by me like a freight train.  I’ve been having a tough time keeping up with posting delicious recipes. I’m so sorry. The truth is that I’m holding out on you. I’ve got tons of delicious treats that have been brewing up in this little kitchen of mine as I’ve been dealing with winter blues, cabin fever, and job stress. I just have to sit my butt down, and type them out. So here we go….

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

First, I will catch you up a bit. Recently I celebrated my 34th birthday. I made the mistake of working on my birthday…what? But my sweet man took me out on an unforgettable birthday dinner to a fabulous french restaurant in Kansas City, Le Frou Frog.  It’s a beautiful and quaint restaurant in the inside….the outside, eeeeh…well, looks like a defunct strip club. I kid you not. But don’t let that deter you like it did me for the past 5 years. If you are ever in KC and are in need of a great dinner and lively night, check it out. My husband got the biggest KC strip I had ever seen, dripping with drool-icious green peppercorn sauce. YUM. I had a chicken roulade stuffed with goat cheese, spinach, and sundried tomatoes. A winning combination. And of course some finger-licking fabulous french sauce poured on top. Love those french sauces. Why can’t I recreate them! Eeeeeerhmergerd. Oh and then topped the night off with my fave, creme brûlée. I died and returned to Paris. It was the best.

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Aside from my birthday and crazy work schedule, I’m in a daily battle and staring competition with my pour chocolate lab, Guinness. I typically take him on daily walks, but my poor sad old man dog hasn’t gone on a walk in over a week because wind chills are below zero in this crazy town. UGH.  WHO LIVES LIKE THIS! And how do people in Canada survive? Or even Minnesota! Seriously. I’m wearing two pairs of long underwear…TWO.

The main thing getting me through this crazy cold winter has been cozy and comfy soups. I constantly crave Pho, day in and day out. I love the fresh cilantro, basil, and bean sprouts that get stirred into the hot delicious bowl of goodness. There is an amazing little Vietnamese place that I frequent called Vietnam Cafe. It’s paradise on earth and in a bowl. But alas, I am no Pho master. So instead, I’ve created a love child soup between Thai curry and Pho…sort of.

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

This Thai Coconut Curry soup is set up like Pho: fill your bowl with “noodles”, pour in the broth curry soup, top with cilantro, basil, sprouts, and siracha. Instead of rice noodles, I use my favorite veg swap, spaghetti squash.  It’s healthy, nutritious, low carb, whole food. It’s good for you. Do it. But…with that being said, you could easily use rice noodles instead.

If you are a bit bored with your regular soup rotation, give this one a go. It’s comforting, lively, and will definitely brighten any gloomy day.

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

Paleo Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Inspired by Bon Appetit and Bev Cooks

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2 Tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15 oz cans of light or full fat coconut milk
  • 6 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken (breast or thighs)
  • Juice of 1/2 large lime
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 10 oz raw mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas, chop into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, leaves torn
  • Garnish: cilantro, basil, chile paste, lime wedges, scallions, bean sprouts

Ingredients

  1. Place spaghetti squash into microwave. Microwave for 5 minutes. Slice in half, remove and discard seeds. Place into a shallow glass baking dish with 1 inch of water. Place back into microwave. Microwave on high again for an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Place most of the sliced red onion into the pan. Reserve about 1/4 cup of red onions for garnish on top of the finished soup. Saute the sliced onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry paste, ginger, curry powder, coriander, and garlic to the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add broth and coconut milk, stirring until mixture is combined. Add chicken and then bring coconut broth to a boil. Add fish sauce, lime juice, salt, and sliced mushrooms and combine. Cook covered for 15 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool so that you can shred it. Shred the chicken (I use two forks).
  4. Bring the soup back to a boil and add the snow pea pods, shredded chicken, cilantro, and basil to the pot. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Using a fork, pull the spaghetti squash “noodles” from the squash. Place about 1/2 cup of squash noodles in the base of each serving bowl. Ladle Thai soup over the squash noodles. Garnish with additional sprigs of cilantro, basil leaves, Thai chile paste, scallions, and/or bean sprouts.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This week is a time to give thanks and to be with those that mean the most to us. It is my favorite holiday. No pretenses. No gifts that weren’t good enough. No wrong sizes.

Just family, friends, food, and laughter.

My grandmother had seven children. However, I can’t imagine birthing 1 child, much less SEVEN, but my wonder-woman of a grandmother did it.  My father was the fifth. And getting together with all of my aunts and uncles is a tradition that I look forward to every year.  When I was a kid, I loved the large gatherings because I was an only child until I was 11. I had always wanted a sister or a brother. A gaggle of over 30 people enjoying each others company (sometimes), telling stories, and eating together was like heaven to me. Sure there was sometimes drama, but as a kid that all didn’t matter to me. Family mattered.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Needless to say our family gathering for Thanksgiving is large and fun. The house is warm, but the company is warmer.

On Wednesday night, my aunt hosts “Soup Night”. It’s an easy night with hot soups cooking on the stove as guests trickle in for the big event.  Although Thursday is the day to showcase the TURKEY, Wednesday night is the big Paaaaarhtaaaahy.

The beer flows freely.

The wine glasses are poured large.

The stories get loud, the laughter gets even louder, and the guitars strum.

All the while, the soup stays hot.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We ladle another bowl. We pour another drink. We toast to those that have passed. We tell stories of previous Thanksgivings.  We argue about the pronunciation of words and mathematical concepts and whether the seed of an avocado really keeps guacamole from turning brown or not.

All the while the soup continues to stay hot.

That is why soup is the perfect party food. You can mingle and be a great host/hostess and not worry about the food getting cold or over cooked or not being ready at the right time. Everyone can serve themselves and you get to serve yourself another tasty beverage!

This Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple soup is particularly “soup”er easy.  Roast all the vegetables at once, blend the veggies with broth using an immersion blender or food processor.  Aaaaand…wait for it…. Your done. Basically. Just keep it heated. Ok. NOW you are done. There.

Breath. Do some stretches.

Now GO HUG SOMEONE! And get them a drink too! Sheeesh.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful, safe, and memorable turkey day.

Cheers to you and yours.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

Ingredients

  • 1 3 to 4 pound butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic (in the skin)
  • 2 sweet apples, cored and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic (in the skin)
  • 4 to 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare two shallow roasting pans by spraying with nonstick spray or lining with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cubed butternut squash and onion with the olive oil and salt. Place in a single layer on a roasting pan. Place in the oven and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring every once and awhile until the squash are cooked through.
  3. With 20 minutes left on the butternut squash, place the apples on a roasting pan with the garlic cloves and into the oven on a separate oven rack.
  4. Remove cooked vegetables from the oven. Remove the skins from the garlic and discard. Place the vegetables and spices into a dutch oven or large pot with 5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Using a blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender, puree the soup in several batches, adding more liquid (broth or water) if necessary. Return the soup to the pot and heat over medium heat until simmering. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mexican Chicken and Lime Soup

I came down with a horrendous cold last week. My head felt like it was in a vice grip.  Thinking about going on a walk made me too tired.  So all I did was lay on the couch, become a Pinterest addict, and watch guilty pleasures including Downton Abbey, Wes Anderson movies, Lady and the Tramp, and, of course, Varsity Blues.

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The two things I wanted to eat were tapioca pudding (a childhood comfort food) and chicken soup…warm brothy chicken soup.  I didn’t get the tapioca (boooh) but I did get chicken soup. I found this Mexican Lime Soup on Pinterest. This amazing brothy and spicy soup hit the spot. 

Note – Be sure to use fresh limes to obtain the 1/4 cup of lime juice. Oh and serve with a fresh avocado. Game changer! I can also see this easily being compiled into a slow cooker and cooked all day.  DSC_0227

Mexican Chicken and Lime Soup (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Paleo-Friendly, Whole30 Compliant) (slightly adapted from Williams Sonoma)

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 4 limes juiced to yield 1/4 cup lime juice, extra slices for serving
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 3 cups low sodium organic chicken broth (homemade is best)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs
  • 1 teaspoon dried mexican oregano
  • 1/3 cup diced cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, red bell pepper, and jalapeño and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  
  2. Add broth, water, oregano, and lime juice and bring to a full boil. Add chicken. Bring back to a boil, lower heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
  3. Remove cooked chicken from pot with tongs and place on a cutting board. Shred into pieces with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to pot. Turn off heat and add fresh chopped cilantro. Serve soup with diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and sliced limes.