Saturday, June 25, 2016

Paleo Pecan Crusted Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles

 Pecan Chicken & Sweet Potato Waffles

What do you know about chicken and waffles?

According to Wikipedia there are two origins of this American classic. 

The first is the “Soul Food” version and involves pairing fried chicken with waffles then serving with the same butter and syrup you’d use at breakfast. 

The second is the “Pennsylvania Dutch" version which combines a plain waffle with pulled, stewed chicken in gravy.  This version is typically found in the Northeastern United States although I live in Philly and never heard of it.

My version of chicken and waffles more closely resembles the soul food variety.  However I did take some liberties to take this classic in a whole new direction.  Instead of plain waffles, I did sweet potato waffles and instead of regular fried chicken I did pecan crusted chicken.  Then to up-the-ante, I made an Asian inspired sweet spicy ginger maple syrup to take this whole dish to the new heights of deliciousness. 

And beyond the updated flavor profile, this recipe is gluten free, grain free, and perfect for the paleo or primal lifestyle.  

Pecan Crusted Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffles
Prep time: 20- 25 minutes

Ginger Maple Syrup Ingredients
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 heaping tsp sambal sauce (or other Asian chili sauce)
  • 1 tsp liquid aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 large chopped scallion
  • ¼ tsp fresh ginger root (grated or finely minced)

Chicken Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans, finely crushed
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 tbs of Adobo seasoning (or other seasoned salt)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 4 chicken tenders

Waffle Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • 2/3 cup milk (or almond milk to keep it paleo)
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp ginger

Video Tutorial: Coming Soon

  1. To make the Ginger Maple Syrup stir together the syrup ingredients and set aside while you make the other components. 
  2. For the chicken combine the crushed pecans, almond meal and adobo seasoning and stir to combine.
  3. Dip the chicken tenders into the beaten egg then dredge in the pecan mixture.  You can do them twice for a thicker coating. 
  4. Fry the tenders in a few tablespoons of oil over a medium heat for a few minutes per side then drain on paper towels while you make the waffles.
  5. For the waffle batter, in a medium bowl beat the eggs then add the mashed sweet potato, almond milk and melted coconut oil and stir to combine. 
  6. In another bowl combine the  almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger and salt then stir to combine. 
  7. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined. (The batter should be pretty thick).
  8. Preheat the waffle maker according to your machine’s instructions then ladle in the recommended amount which for me was ¾ of a cup, close the lid and let it cook according to the directions that came with your machine which for me was about five minutes. 
  9. To serve, spread the waffle with a little butter or ghee if you want then top it with the pecan crusted chicken and a drizzle of the sweet spicy maple ginger syrup.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Smoked Salmon Fettucine with Olives

Smoked Salmon Fettucine with Olives

Shirataki noodles are made from the Japanese konjac yam and they're a miracle indeed.  When 8 ounces of regular gluten free pasta clocks in at over 800 calories vs the same amount of shirataki tofu noodles being 20 calories I think you can understand my joy. 

With summer upon us shirataki noodles are my best friend.  I think you’ll rejoice in this recipe too especially when it’s time to slip on those summer clothes.  Of course the noodles aren’t as good as other gluten free pastas because the texture is a bit more rubbery but it’s a small difference considering the huge advantages in calorie savings.

The trick for me is to keep the sauce flavorful like I’ve done here with the briny olives and smoked salmon.  I also like to toss in some butter at the end to coat the pasta and give the whole dish a nicer mouth feel.  

This meal comes together so effortlessly that it's become a real favorite of mine when unexpected people drop by.  

Living in the city means constant surprise guests so I'm sure I’ll be making this one a lot.  Although I'd probably use regular gluten free pasta for them since it's a far cheaper to feed a crowd that way.

Smoked Salmon Fettucine with Olives
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloved garlic halved
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 10 pitted olives (you need a briny variety like Kalamata)
  • 1 (8oz bag) Shirataki Fettucine (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 oz smoked salmon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • parsley and dill to taste

Video Tutorial: 

  1. In a medium pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and olives and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the shirataki and some salt and pepper and saute for a minute or two then add the smoked salmon, butter and herbs and stir to combine then serve.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cocoa Walnut Truffles

Cocoa Walnut Truffles

When you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to blow your pre-summer shape up plans, these Cocoa Walnut Truffles might just be the solution.   They’re loaded with healthy ingredients like walnuts, flax, and cocoa then sweetened with dates and a little honey. 

And to keep things interesting I rolled them in nutty hemp hearts otherwise known as the most buzzed about super-food on Instagram.

Alright I made up that last part but it sure seems that way.  You hardly see a yogurt bowl or smoothie on IG that isn’t topped with hemp hearts.  And if you haven't heard of them, they're basically just shelled hemp seeds and touted as little nutritional powerhouses. 

According to the Manitoba Harvest website: 
  • Per 30 gram serving, Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of Omegas.
  • Hemp Hearts have more protein and omegas and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax.  

The only real drawbacks are that they are on the pricey side and they can be difficult to find.  Actually I had no trouble finding them.  My local supermarket, ShopRite, has plenty in stock but others have reported less luck trying to locate these little guys.  If you find yourself in this subgroup you can always pick up some Hemp Hearts at Amazon by clicking right HERE.

Of course you can always skip the hemp hearts entirely and roll your truffles in cocoa or finely chopped nuts instead.

Cocoa Walnut Truffles
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: makes 12 balls

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 8 large pitted medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • hemp hearts  (1/2 cup or so to roll the balls) 

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Grind the walnuts in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped.
  2. Add the dates process until the nuts and dates are well chopped and combined.
  3. Add the cocoa, flax, honey, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt and process until the mixture is well combined.
  4. To test the consistency of the mixture, pinch it between your fingers to see if it holds together well.  If it’s too sticky add a little more flax or nuts and if it won’t form a ball add more dates or honey. (You can also taste it and if the mixture isn’t sweet enough you can adjust here too)
  5. Form the mixture into 1 inch balls then either refrigerate them and serve as-is or roll the truffles in either hemp hearts, finely chopped walnuts or cocoa powder if you want.
  6. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a few weeks if they last that long.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham

Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham

We all think of glazed ham for the holidays.  If you're putting together a menu for Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter, ham often tops the list.   But it doesn’t often occur to us that ham is a nice choice for those less formal holidays like Mother’s Day or even a cookout or barbecue. 

Why not?  Ham is simple to prepare and can feed a crowd without too much effort. 

You can toss the ham in the oven early in the morning and have it carved and ready by mid-morning when the guests arrive for your holiday brunch.  Add scrambled eggs or a frittata with some biscuits or muffins and the menu is almost complete.  You can figure out what else to serve.

Hope you all have a Happy Mothers Day this weekend.

Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 2.5 hours
Servings: 10-12

  • 10 lb ham (I used a bone-in shank portion)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 8 whole cloves

Glaze Ingredients
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with it’s juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp A1 steak sauce
  • 2 tbsp mustard (I used Dijon mustard)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF (or 163ºC) and add a baking rack to a large roasting pan.
  2. Place the ham (cut side down) onto the baking rack and score the ham to allow better penetration of the glaze.
  3. Pour the water over the ham followed by the orange juice then toss the cloves into the liquid in the bottom of the pan and use a basting brush to brush some of the clove flavored liquid over the ham and bake it for 30 minutes before basting again. 
  4. To make the glaze, stir together all of the glaze ingredients and set aside.
  5. Once the ham cooks for 30 minutes baste with the pan juices only every 20 – 30 minutes for the first 1 ½ hours then for the final hour brush over the pineapple glaze every 20 minutes (total of 3 glaze applications) and if at any point the ham starts to get too dark add a tinfoil tent to shield it from burning as it finishes.
  6. Let it rest for 20 minutes …and to carve.

My caving procedure: 
  1. Since the bone runs straight through from top to bottom,  I leave the prettiest side of the ham untouched and on the bone then I cut the other side straight down from top to bottom (as close to the bone as possible) and remove a large boneless chunk.  (see video tutorial is you need clarification)
  2. Next I place the pretty piece ham (that contains the bone) onto your serving dish and slice the other section into pieces to fan around the centerpiece.
  3. Spoon over some of the pan juices then either serve or cover with foil to keep it warm.


The cooking instructions on my ham stated to cook the ham for 10-15 minutes per pound.  Since my oven runs cool I cooked the ham for 15 min per pound or 2.5 hours for my 10 lb ham.  Consult the instructions on your package and adjust the cooking times of this recipe accordingly.  
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