Posts Tagged ‘low-carb’

Grilled Rainbow Kabobs

What’s the best part of summer? Grilling, of course! Once the weather warms up, I try to make it a habit to grill as many meals as possible. To me, grilling is synonymous with summer. I am not one of those people who sends her husband outside during winter in a full snow suit to grill up some steaks. Although, the thought has crossed my mind, I am not going to lie.

One of my favorite things to grill is skewers, also known as kabobs. I think kabobs are so versatile because you can make them solely with meat, with fruits/veggies, or a mix of both. I posted this picture on Instagram and Twitter over Memorial Day weekend and it got a ton of buzz, which surprised me because I hadn’t planned on blogging this recipe. It was just something I threw together at the last minute, but it will probably be a staple at many BBQ’s to come.

Grilled Rainbow Vegetable Skewers or Kabobs

I’ve seen something similar to these floating around Pinterest using fruit, but there is no reason you can’t do the same with veggies. To make these, I tossed everything in a large bowl with olive oil and, after skewering them, I seasoned them with equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt. 

Foods That Are Good For Grilling

Want to make your own rainbow kabobs? You can use the same fruits and veggies I did or mix and match based on what is in season or available. Wouldn’t it be fun to do coordinate team colors at an end of the year BBQ or school colors for a graduation party? Below are some foods you can use to make your own kabobs sorted by color.
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Paleo Jambalaya with Cauli Rice

Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish made with andouille sausage and thickened with rice. This version uses cauli rice and is Paleo-friendly. You could absolutely add rice to this recipe in place of the cauli rice, but I decided to swap out the rice for cauliflower to add more veggies to this dish. The choice is yours! Paleo Jambalaya with Cauli Rice | cucinakristina.com If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I spent my spring break eating my way through New Orleans. The NOLA food scene reminded me of San Francisco in the sense that every place we ate, whether it was a highly recommended restaurant or a side street café, had amazing, fresh, out of this world food. The oysters we had down there were the best I’ve had to date and I am vowing to eat nothing but oysters on my next trip! 

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Green Beans with Toasted Almonds &
Blood Orange Vinaigrette

This recipe for green beans gets a zesty punch from the blood orange vinaigrette. It’s a perfect side dish for a summer BBQ! The blood orange vinaigrette would also make a great dressing for a brunch salad.

green beans with blood orange vinaigrette

While most of the kiddos in Chicago are heading back to school today, I am sitting in my house enjoying a hot cup of coffee with the windows open. Getting Easter Monday off is one of the perks of working at a Catholic school. I mentioned that the windows were open, right?! OPEN. Begone, winter! See you next year! spring is finally on the horizon!

You know what is awesome about spring? The seasonal fruits and veggies that start to pop up at the grocery store and farmer’s markets. You start to see things like asparagus, ramps, peas, and fennel. The sheer RETURN of the farmer’s market is an exciting thing about spring. 

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Irish Stew Over Mashed Turnips

Traditional Irish Stew is made with white potatoes and mutton or lamb. This version uses turnips and beef and is sure to be a winner at your next St. Patrick’s Day party!

Irish Stew Over Mashed Turnips

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, especially in Chicago! For me, it marks the moment when I know we’ve made it through winter. Even though we still have quite a few cold days on the horizon (and sometimes even a bit more snow!), spring is just around the corner and warmer days are ahead of us. 

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Summertime Mango Salsa

This recipe for mango salsa has me dreaming of summer! It’s great on it’s own or as a topping for fish!

Mango and Avocado Salsa is a great topping for fish | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

We are experiencing the 4th snowiest and 3rd coldest winter in Chicago ever. Ever! It’s likely that this is the worst we’ll see for a long time, but if next winter rolls around and tries to compete for any slot in the top 10 “worst winters,” I’m moving. My husband can come with me if he wants to, but if he opts to stay here, I’ll book a visiting flight for June. I simply cannot take anymore winters like this one! When I woke up this morning and looked out the window to see that it was snowing, this was my EXACT reaction.

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8 Great Egg-free, Meat-free Paleo Breakfasts

I’m delighted to share a guest post I wrote for my blogger (and real life) friend, Jenny B, over at Honey & Birch. Every week she rounds-up 8 recipes or crafts that she finds around the web. I was really excited when she asked me to write a post for her and even more excited when we came up with the topic, egg-free Paleo breakfasts.

I happen to love eggs, but the two most common things people say when I tell them I’m Paleo are:

  1. I could never be Paleo, I don’t eat a lot of meat and
  2. You can’t eat cereal or bread?! What do you eat for breakfast? I don’t like eggs!

Well, I rounded up some of my favorite egg-free Paleo breakfast options and, by happy accident, they also happened to be meat-free! 
egg-free and meat-free Paleo breakfasts
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Food Blogger Cookbook Swap!

Food Blogger Cookbook Swap

At the beginning of the month, I signed up for a Food Blogger Cookbook Swap, hosted by Alyssa of http://www.EverydayMaven.com and Faith of http://www.anediblemosaic.com. For the swap, I sent a gently used cookbook from my collection to a food blogger and received a cookbook from their collection in return. 

Which Cookbook Did I Get?

Vegetables: The Most Authoritative Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking, with More Than 300 Recipes by James Peterson.

Food Blogger Cookbook Swap

Vegetables by James Peterson

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Turkey and Vegetable Chili

Turkey and Vegetable Chili | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Soooo…. according to Fox Sports, the Superbowl could be played at any point between Friday, January 31 and Sunday, February 3. Really? I thought this was a hoax when I first read about it as I was not aware that you could move the Super Bowl, but apparently this is really a thing. Craziness! Winter can be done now, amiright? I mean, they are talking about MOVING THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL because it is too cold and snowy! Ugh. My brain cannot process that.

BUT! Do you know what my brain can process? Tasty chili. :-) Chili is one of those dishes that lends itself perfectly for preparing on a Sunday and eating throughout the week. It also freezes really well so you can always make a huge batch, portion it out, and have it on hand for a quick mid-week meal. It’s no secret around here that I am a fan of preparing my meals for the week on Sunday afternoon. I get a lot of questions about what I prep and how I do it and I am in the process of writing up a Sunday Food Prep Tips and Tricks post so stay tuned for that. I am aiming to have that posted early next week so you can get a healthy start to the week after stuffing yourself silly with wings and chili at a Super Bowl party. 

I usually make chili with ground beef, but all I had on hand was ground turkey so I decided to give that a try. Much to my delight, it turned out great! In fact, I noticed that ground turkey forms larger chunks when cooked than ground beef which lead to a chunkier chili. Since I did not use beans in this recipe, I appreciated the heartiness of the turkey and will probably continue to use it from here on out. Don’t you love happy accidents? 

Turkey and Vegetable Chili
Serves 6
This chili recipe is highly adaptable! You can use any ground protein you'd like and can add more vegetables than the suggested amounts for a super chunky chili.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons chili powder
  2. 2 tablespoons cumin
  3. 1 tablespoon oregano
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  9. 2 cans of water (I measure using the tomato can)
  10. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  11. 1/4 ounce baker's chocolate (optional)
  12. 2 pounds ground turkey
  13. 1 red pepper, chopped
  14. 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  15. 1 orange pepper, chopped
  16. 4 carrots, chopped
  17. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  18. 1 large white onion, chopped (reserve about 1/3 for topping!)
  19. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the ground turkey and stir frequently to cook the turkey all the way through.
  3. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, water, spices and chocolate and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes to let the flavors combine.
  4. Add the chopped carrots and chopped peppers and simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until the carrots have softened.
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/

Paleo Beef Pho

Paleo Beef Pho | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

When I made the switch to a Paleo diet, one of the things I missed the most was pho. Pho is a Vietnamese soup made with meat, vegetables, and rice noodles. Did you see the Man vs. Food Nation Super Pho Challenge episode? I am fairly certain I could crush that challenge with zero obstacles. 

As I was typing this recipe up, it dawned on me that you could make the broth beforehand, freeze it, and make this soup during the week in smaller quantities and in about 20 minutes. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner! The next time I make this, I will have to remember that.

This is a copycat recipe that was inspired by the beef noodle soup from Penny’s Noodles in Chicago. When I was in graduate school, I used to pick this soup up on my way home from class and it was always so hard not to tear into the bag and eat it immediately! I like to eat this soup alongside a crisp, cold, cucumber salad. 

You’ll notice this recipe calls for star anise. Personally, I think that is a key flavor in this dish and should not be omitted. Star anise has a licorice flavor and adds a good layer of flavor to the broth. You can buy star anise online here if you cannot find it in your local grocery store.

My grocery store sells packaged chop suey meat. If your grocery does not sell chop suey beef, you can use stew beef. You’ll need to cut the stew beef into very small pieces before you cook it.

Paleo Beef Pho
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 star anise
  2. 6 whole cloves
  3. 1 whole cinnamon stick
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
  6. 1 shallot, minced
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  8. 1 lb. chop suey meat
  9. 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  10. 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  11. 4 stalks of kale, chopped
  12. 1 tablespoon chili paste (2 tablespoons if you want an extra kick)
  13. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  14. 6 cups vegetable broth
Garnishes
  1. Thinly sliced radish
  2. Lime
  3. Cilantro
  4. Green onion
  5. Bean sprouts (not strict Paleo)
For the broth
  1. In a pan over medium heat, toast the cloves, star anise, and cinnamon until fragrant to open the flavors. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove the spices from the pan so they do not burn and set aside. (See note).
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the shallot, garlic, and ginger in the coconut oil for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly so the garlic does not burn.
  3. Add vegetable broth and spices and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours.
For the soup
  1. Fish the whole spices out of the broth. Add the beef and bring the soup to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the mushrooms, broccoli, and kale. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  3. Add the chili paste. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning. If the soup is tasting a bit flat, add a teaspoon of sea salt to bring out the flavors.
  4. Serve with any or all of the garnishes above!
Notes
  1. I use ground cardamom in this recipe because I did not have whole cardamom. Ground spices burn quickly; therefore, I do not toast the cardamom. I just add it right to the broth in step 3.
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/

How To Shop For And Trim Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts. People love ‘em or hate ‘em. I, myself, am a sprout lover. I eat brussels sprouts two to three times a week. Sometimes I have them alongside eggs for breakfast and other times I have them as a side dish with dinner.

If you are a sprout hater, I beg you to try one of the recipes at the bottom of this post and surely you’ll change your mind! One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is browned in ghee and bacon fat, seasoned with salt and pepper, and tossed with dried cranberries and toasted almonds. Simple, colorful, and delicious.

How to Shop for Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are usually sold individually; however, during the fall when they are in season, sometimes they are sold on the stalk. How cool do they look on the stalk? I have unsuccessfully tried to grow brussels sprouts in my garden for the past two years. Perhaps this is the year! :-)

If your local grocery store or farmer’s market is selling the sprouts on the stalk, do not be intimidated! They are easy to remove and you do not need any fancy or special equipment to do so. 

Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk

To choose a “good” sprouts, pick them up and give them a little squeeze. The leaves should feel tightly packed especially around the base. You will be trimming off the bottom and if the leaves are loose around the stem, you’ll lose some of the good leaves along with the dirty ones.

Trimming brussels sprouts

How to Trim Brussels Sprouts

If you buy brussels sprouts on the stalk, you can snap them off by hand before you begin to trim them. I never wash brussels sprouts before I cook them. Is that gross? I don’t feel much of a need to wash them first because you end up removing all of the dirty outer leaves as you prep them for cooking. After you have removed the outer leaves, if you’d like to wash them, you can give them a quick rinse under cold water.

Trimming brussels sprouts

Trim a small portion off the bottom of the sprout. Some of the leaves may fall off on their own, that is ok. 

Trimming brussels sprouts

Pull the outer leaves off until you see lighter green, shiny leaves. You’ll also want to remove any yellow, bruised, or dirty leaves. 

Trimming brussels sprouts

Now, you are ready to cook them. You can roast them, grill them, sauté them, steam them, or pickle them. They are such a versatile veggie and so tasty when prepared correctly! In the picture below, I halved them, because I was about to toss them in olive oil, season them with this spice blend and roast them for 25 minutes at 375˚. 

Trimming brussels sprouts

Ready to tackle the sprout on your own? Check out these awesome brussels sprouts recipes:

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