ENTREES

Paleo Salmon Cakes

This week I’m sharing with you a recipe that is a healthy spin on an old family classic. Gluten free and paleo-friendly, you probably have all the ingredients in your fridge right now for a last-minute dinner. The recipe also doubles well for a Meal Prep Sunday favorite!

On Sundays, I enjoy setting some time aside to plan out my meals. I always make my grocery list after I pick what dishes I’ll be cooking up along with some snack ideas so I have every ingredient on-hand throughout the week. This recipe for healthier salmon cakes is special in that it probably only requires 1 special ingredient to put on my grocery list à canned wild-caught salmon! Pantry-stable and more affordable than fresh salmon from the seafood counter, canned wild-caught salmon is a great protein option packed with healthy fats for a double-punch. This is a great main entrée to slide into meal plan rotation when you want to cut down on that weekly grocery expense without skimping on nutrition or taste.

PaleoSalmonCake1

Growing up, my mom would reach for that can of salmon for a quick and easy weeknight recipe. Warm and delicious, I still consider them one of my favorite meals of childhood especially with a side of green peas and lots of mustard. What a combination.

Luckily, it doesn’t take much to tweak a traditional salmon cake to a healthier version. First and foremost, you’ll want to get a high-quality fish which means that your fish should be sustainably sourced and wild-caught. Classic mayonnaise and breadcrumbs are substituted with an avocado-oil based mayo and ground flax to keep the recipe clean while providing creating a good base to keep the cakes together during cooking.

My favorite way to cook these up is to use my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (linked at the bottom of the page). First, I like to sear the top, bottom and edges. Next, I will finish them up in the oven to cook them throughout. Don’t have a Lodge? No sweat! Use your favorite nonstick skillet. I have also tried cooking the cakes completely on the stovetop, but I have found it’s much less babysitting to just sear them and pop in the oven to finish out the cooking process while doing other things.

Have you ever used canned salmon before? If not, then you may be in for a surprise the first time you pop your can open! Most cans come with the bones and skin included with the salmon meat. No worries, the bones and skin are perfectly safe to consume and actually boost the nutritional intake (hello, calcium and Omega-3)! Most of the bones will “crumble” during the cooking process and the skin will be unrecognizable in the formed cakes so no need to remove them. You will want to first drain the excess liquid using the lid in order to get the best outcome of the recipe below. Enjoy and drop me a comment below if you cook these up!

Paleo-Friendly Salmon Cakes

Paleo Salmon Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1-15 ounce can Wild-caught (Atlantic) Salmon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 TB ground flax
  • 1 TB avocado oil mayo
  • 2 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup shredded or finely diced carrots
  • ½ TB chopped fresh parsley (omit if you don’t have any)
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix in first 5 ingredients as listed. Stir in the chopped onion, carrots, parsley, spices, herbs and lemon until well mixed. Separate the bowl into five parts and form cakes about 1” thick.  Bring burner to medium-heat and prep skillet with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, placing salmon cakes around the edge of the skillet. Flip after 6-8 minutes, or until bottom is adequately seared enough so that the cake will not fall apart upon flipping. Cook other side for 6-8 minutes. While searing, prep a 9” x 13” oven safe dish with nonstick spray. Carefully transfer cakes to dish and let cook for 15-20 minutes.

Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon. Best served warm once out of oven.

Reinvent your leftovers by serving warm or cold leftover salmon cakes on arugula or mixed salad greens with diced cucumber, grape tomatoes and fresh parsley, dressed with lemon vinaigrette – 2 lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil. Store vinaigrette in an air-tight mason jar in the fridge, put on the counter about an hour or so before you want to make your salad. I like my dressing a bit on the tart side. If this is too tart for you then you can always add 1-2 teaspoons of honey to cut the lemon’s bite.

Stock Your Pantry

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Simple Crockpot Meatballs

I have to admit that growing up, I was never a big fan of meatballs. A few months ago, I found myself getting bored with my usual ground meat go-to meals. With a freezer full of meat, there was only one thing to do and that was to find more ways to cook great tasting meals with what was on hand. I am not a huge fan of pasta or Italian-inspired dishes, but I LOVE Tomato sauce. So, naturally, I set out for a paleo-friendly, comforting dish that could marry the two, ground meat + tomato sauce = a full heart & a full belly.

This meatball recipe is super simple. You can either cook these up in the oven or in the crockpot for an easy cleanup. I have doubled the batch for meal prep and found that this dish is as good on day five as it is fresh off the heat. I think this recipe pairs best with spaghetti squash or roasted broccoli (or a combination of the two!)

Simple Crockpot Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground elk meat 85%/15% fat, or other red meat of your choosing
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB ground flaxmeal
  • A pinch of salt and pepper each
  • 1 tsp each – minced onion, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. I have found that the 85/15 protein-to-fat ratio works best. However, if you have a leaner meat then you may find it helpful to add another egg and possibly add extra flaxmeal at the end to make sure your meat binds well. Roll into 1-inch size balls. Tip:  I like to use a cookie scooper to achieve consistency. Place the meatballs in a non-stick glass dish spacing them a finger’s width apart, if cooking in the oven. Or, prep the bottom of your crockpot with cooking spray and then place the meatballs directly on the bottom, spaced apart.

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups fresh, diced tomato or 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 tsp each – oregano, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, destemmed
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2 TB diced fresh basil

Directions

Stovetop: Saute garlic and onion with 1 TB olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Once softened, add remaining ingredients and let raise to a boil. Turn down on low and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Crockpot: Place all tomato sauce ingredients in crockpot (overtop meatballs) and stir gently to avoid breaking up the meatballs. Let all cook on low for approximately 4.5 hours.

Serve over roasted broccoli, shredded spaghetti squash or both for an easy, Italian-inspired dinner.

Orange-Roasted Cornish Hens with Veggies

Today, I’m bringing you a wonderful recipe for roasted chicken in the oven that will warm your whole house. This recipe also happens to make some of the best parsnips I’ve ever tasted. The secret is in the caramelized orange 😉 Aside from tasting amazing, this is a one pan meal which means there’s minimal cleanup and everything cooks at the same time so less work! Following the recipe quantities as shown below will yield two full dinners and extra veggies to have another night

RECIPE:

  • 2 pasture-raised Cornish hens  *
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, whole
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 4-5 carrots, whole or halved
  • 3 parsnips, quartered
  • 3/4 pound petite medley potatoes, each pierced with fork or cut in half
  • Ghee and olive oil (optional)
  • Bird Spices: onion powder, dried rosemary, dried parsley, sea S&P (Amount of spices will vary depending on how large your hens are and whether you use the same recipe for a full-size chicken.)
  • Veggie spice:  1 TB garlic powder and Sea S&P to taste
  • Meat thermometer

Preheat oven to 375. Pan hens dry with paper towel and remove any innards if they came inside the cavity. Stuff each hen with half the amount of garlic, rosemary and thyme listed above. “Seal” each bird cavity shut with an orange quarter like shown before tying off the legs with kitchen twine. Use the back of a spoon or your hands to cover birds liberally with room temperate ghee and add bird spices listed above. Place hens in the tray breast-side down and roast for about 10 minutes while you get the parsnips, carrots and potatoes ready to add to the same pan.

Prep your veggies while the birds are in the oven getting a jump start on cooking. The vegetables will only take about 20-25 minutes to roast so we only want to add them at the end of the cooking process. Toss in olive oil or melted ghee and add to the pan before seasoning with the spices. Place the 2 remaining orange quarters in the corners of the your pan.

Cook for about 25-/+ minutes until birds reach an internal of 160 degrees when meat thermometer is placed in breast. If the veggies start to look done before the chicken then cover with foil or remove them from the pan. Once all is cooked, use tongs to squeeze your caramelized orange quarters over all the veggies and the birds to get the orange flavor. You can also do the same with the orange in the hens when they’re served. Enjoy!

*You can also try this recipe on a full-sized bird by bumping the temp up to 425, doubling the bird spices and giving it longer to cook through. I would estimate an 1 to 1.5 hours but using a meat thermometer is the best way to gauge when your meat is fully cooked.

2-Way Butternut Squash: Chili + Brownies

My #1 favorite thing about fall is roasted everything. Roasted veggies and roasted chicken are my fave and they just *taste* better coming out of the oven on a cool, autumn day, am I right? I’m currently digging all recipes with roasted squash – pie pumpkins, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and butternut squash.

Butternut squash has a subtle sweetness and great texture to compliment a hearty soup, plus you get an extra nutrient punch. This squash is so versatile that I’m also finding it’s  a great pumpkin substitute when I don’t have any pumpkin puree on hand. This post shows you how toput your squash to work and create two yummy recipes all at once. If you prefer or already have squash on hand, you can use frozen butternut squash or canned puree and skip to the recipes further down on the page.

RoastButternutSquash

How To Roast: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut length wise with a sharp knife and scoop out the inside membrane, seeds and all. Place the two halves open-side down on a cookie sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, and then flip carefully using a set of tongs. Check in 10 minutes increments from here. The squash is well roasted when the inside can be pierced or lightly mashed with a fork. Let cool on the pan before scooping out the golden squashy goodness.

If you’re not ready to make any dishes with your roasted butternut squash then you have two options. Option 1: Once cool, you can use a knife to make a checkerboard pattern within the inside of the squash. Be careful not to cut the skin, if possible. Use a big spoon to scoop the cubes into a freezer friendly ziplock bag. Option 2: Use a spoon to scoop squash out and place in a blender. Puree on high until it reaches a smooth consistency, much like canned puree. Freeze in a baggy until ready to use.

Butternut Red Pepper Mushroom Chili

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Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

2 TB olive oil or ghee

4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

1.25lb ground elk (or meat of choice), I like 85%

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

8 oz sliced mushrooms

14 oz can or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes (with juice)

1 TB canned tomato paste *

3 cups bone broth to water mixture (I use 1 cup homemade bone broth + 2 cups water works well with the 15% fat ground meat)

2 cups cubed or pureed butternut squash

Spices:

3 TB chili powder

2 tsp ground paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

1.5 tsp ground cumin

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.       Coat a deep stew pot with 1-2 TB olive oil or ghee and heat on medium-high.

2.       Add chopped onion and garlic to sauté until softened.

3.       Add ground burger and cook for about 10 minutes or until browned.

4.       Add sliced red peppers and mushrooms to pot. Stir until softened.

5.       Add 1 cup of desired broth/water mixture and stir in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.

6.       Add seasoning, tomatoes, butternut squash and remaining broth/water mixture. Give it a good stir to mix and cover with lid to raise to a boil.

7.       Once at a boil, lower to medium heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs before serving.

So now, your main course is simmering and you are ready to prepare some desert! You can either continue onto your baking excursion or save the remaining butternut squash for another day. Roasted squash will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days before you want to decide to use it or freeze it. Try this recipe for Butternut Squash Protein Brownies below.

These brownies have no refined flours or sugars, only good-for-you ingredients. As always with protein, I recommend using a high quality protein powder because it is easy to find ones with a lot of junky ingredients. My favorite brand of protein powder to bake with is Tone It Up from Target (also sold as Perfect Fit) because it doesn’t make a recipe fall flat like a lot of other powders I’ve experienced.

Butternut Squash Protein Brownies

Making this Recipe Soon? I’ve linked most of the ingredients below to help you stock your pantry!

Wet Ingredients

3/4 cup butternut squash puree (if you’re using homemade roasted butternut squash then I recommend using a blender or food processor to achieve proper consistency)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

3 TB coconut flour

1/4 cup chocolate protein powder

1/2 cup fine ground almond flour

1/3 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

1.       Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prep your 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil.

2.       In a small bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips.

3.       In a larger mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients.

4.       Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet bowl until well incorporated.

5.       Carefully fold the dark chocolate chips into the batter.

6.       Pour batter into the baking dish. Give it a few shakes and shimmies to release any air bubbles and slide into the oven for 23-25 minutes.

7.       Topping (Optional):  1 TB melted coconut butter/coconut manna, 2 TB almond butter and a couple extra tablespoons dark chocolate chips. Before you pull the brownies from the oven, go ahead and use a small dish to microwave melt your coconut butter and almond butter. You can do them separately or mix them together, but be sure to slowly heat up the coconut butter as it does burn fairly easily. Once your brownies are ready then use a spoon to drizzle your coconut and nut butter. Finish off with either cacao nibs or more dark chocolate chips.

BSBrownies

Leave me a comment below if you give either of these recipes a whirl! I’m happy to hear how they turned out 🙂