Chicken Bacon Deliciousness…..aka Eating your Feelings

chicken bacon mac

Hello friends!!  The past couple of weeks have been spent settling into a routine of sorts.  Basically, that means I’ve been doing nothing but reading and going to the gym.  My apartment is impeccably clean, my laundry is always done, and I’m getting into incredibly bizarre eating patterns.  I spent a good week drinking copious amounts of wine and exploring the outdoors.  Headed to Austin last weekend, and believe it or not, yours truly, Queen of Clumsy, hung out in a hammock!  Now, I don’t mean the kind that you gently just sit into.  This one involved a small bit of climbing and WHOLE lot of trust in both my own balance and weight distribution, as well as the sweet rigging skills of my companion.  In the end, there was minimal squealing, a bit of “NOPE! Not doing that!”, and whole lot of self-doubt, and one solid dose of “Suck it up Meister!”.  I owned that hammock.  Enjoyed it immensely, and then had the most UNgraceful dismount out of it that included hugging a tree, therefore scraping and bruising the crap out of my entire left arm.  Good times. No, GREAT times!

Anyways, I’ve been suffering a mild trip-hangover after returning from Austin, so I’ve been just kind of eating whatever is accessible…..until I ran out of food.  Needless to say, I’ve been wanting to eat all of the feelings.  By now, if you’ve read more than two of my posts, I’m sure you’ve figured out that “eating my feelings” = COMFORT FOOD!!

I made this insanely delicious Chicken Bacon “Mac and Cheese”.  While this isn’t technically Paleo (because it includes some grassfed/raw cheese) you could leave the cheese out and it would still be plenty delicious.  If you can’t get down with dairy, just omit it.  I won’t be offended. 🙂

Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 5-6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, make sure it’s at room temperature
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 6-7 oz. grassfed or raw cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional toppings: crushed chicharonnes (pork rinds), scallions, fresh parsley, whatever your heart desires
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your spaghetti squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, place facedown on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until the outer skin gives a bit when you press on it).
  2. Set cooked squash aside to cool while you prepare your sauce.
  3. In a deep skillet, heat a small amount of oil over medium-high heat and add your diced chicken.  Cook chicken until it is browned and cooked through, about 7-10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet…..I just put mine on a plate to hang out until I needed it again.
  4. Add your diced bacon to the skillet.  Cook bacon until it is crisp, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove bacon from skillet.  You want to leave about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the bottom of your skillet.  If your bacon gave off a ton of grease, pour out some of it.  You want just enough to cover the entire bottom of the skillet.
  5. Reduce your heat to medium low.  Whisk your tapioca starch into your bacon grease until it is fully incorporated.
  6. Add your can of coconut milk to the skillet.  You will want to whisk pretty continuously until it is all fully incorporated.  You will notice that it will thicken pretty quickly, thanks to the tapioca starch!
  7. At this point, whisk your cheese into the sauce until it is fully incorporated and melted.  Also add in your spices.
  8. TASTE!  Now is the time to taste your sauce and adjust accordingly.  ***If you do not add the cheese, you’ll want to bump up your spices some***
  9. Mix back in your cooked chicken breast and bacon.
  10. Shred your spaghetti squash into the pan and mix ALL of the goodness together, making sure everything is coated in cheesy deliciousness!
  11. Pour everything into a rectangular baking dish (I used an awkward sized one, but a 9×13 would work great) and top with whatever toppings you choose…..or none at all!
  12. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until it is all bubbly and golden around the edges.
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before smashing it into your face.  Trust me, the roof of your mouth will hate you otherwise.

Word to the wise, this makes a LOT of food.  Pace yourself on it, because it’s pretty rich and decadent.  WORTH IT!!!  In the mean time, get outside, breath some fresh air, test your limits, and scare the hell out of yourself.  The feeling of accomplishment afterwards is WELL worth the freak out during.

Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

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Summer time….and the living is EASY!

Hey friends!  Well, I’ve officially somewhat settled into my summer “schedule”.  Honestly, it’s really difficult to stay on track with my eating when I have little to no structure or routine.  I’ve actually been pretty proud of myself so far this year.  I’ve been keeping myself to a regular gym schedule which makes everything else about 10 million times easier!  That being said, I’m still drinking a lot more that I’m used to.  I’m by no means getting inappropriate, but I had all but eliminated my “glass of wine with dinner” mentality…..and now that’s back.  Cider on the deck? Sure! Wine while cooking dinner? Yep! Rum buckets at the College World Series? Hell yes!  So yeah, alcohol is back in the mix.  She’s a tricky tricky devil….and makes me feel squishy.  What a dirty bitch.  Eh, I suppose I do it to myself!

 

I’ve also really been trying to be more spontaneous and go out more.  I became a bit of a recluse over the winter/spring months, and now that it’s summer and there is a TON going on, I’m trying to take FULL advantage of it!  Living life! Because of this, I feel like unless I have food already prepped in my fridge, I’m screwed.  Such is life.  I’ve been just making sure there is some sort of protein in my fridge at all times.  It’s veggies that I’m struggling with making sure I have enough of.  Stupid vegetables and their short shelf life…..

 

A few days back, I promised you something spectacular with that Dill Mayo I made.  Well here it is!  This turned out so insanely delicious.  I just kept it in the big bowl that I mixed it in and I stashed it in my fridge and ate off of it for almost a week.  Hell yes. Easy access!

potato salad

Buffalo Chicken Potato Salad….with BACON!

  • 1.5 pounds cooked chicken, chopped into bite size pieces (I used a cooked rotisserie chicken that I just picked clean!)
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2-3 tablespoons hot sauce of choice (I used Frank’s….and I used way more than that amount, because I LOVE hot sauce!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Dill Mayo…..depending on how saucy you like your salads
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot, put in all sweet potato chunks and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, and lightly boil for 15ish minutes.  You want your potatoes to be tender enough that a fork will poke into them, but not so over done that they smush and fall apart. When cooked, drain potatoes and put aside to cool.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, cut bacon into small pieces and cook in a deep skillet until bacon is fully cooked and crisp. (Feel free to bake/microwave your bacon as well and then just cut it into chunks….didn’t want to heat up the whole kitchen with my oven!) When bacon is crisp, remove it from the skillet onto a paper towel to get some of the excess fat off.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine pulled chicken, cooled potatoes, mayo, and hot sauce.  I would add the mayo gradually.  Start with 1/4 cup, get that mixed in, and the see if you want more.  I HATE super gloppy salads.
  4. When mixed well, mixed in your bacon.
  5. Taste your creation and salt and pepper according to your tastes.
  6. For best results, let this bad boy chill in the fridge for about an hour prior to eating or serving so that the flavors have time to really get into all of the ingredients.
  7. SMASH!!!!  Seriously, chicken, bacon, sweet potatoes……hot sauce! HEAVEN!

I realize it’s not the most colorful dish, but it’s damned tasty!  I ate it throughout the week as a main dish, as a side dish, in some lettuce wraps, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  So really, get AFTER it and live the summer high life! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Now Introducing….the WORST blogger ever!!

Seriously friends.  I’m a giant jerk.  I haven’t posted in almost a month.  To be fair, a WHOLE lot of big stuff has happened in the past three weeks.  For starters, I had my birthday!  Yay.  I’m officially 28, so I guess that’s exciting?  Also, school ended for the year, which is always a chaotic time. So let’s do a little review in pics of what I’ve been doing that has kept me away from all of you lovely folks.  Ready? Go! I’ve been….clean bruises

Beating the crap out of myself at the gym everyday!  Honestly, it’s crazy how easily I bruise.

wildcat 5k 2013

Hey look!  I ran a 5k at my school!  Plus, I didn’t die AND I took 12 minutes off of my previous 5k….that means I finished in just under 33 minutes.  I’ll TAKE it!

road trip selfie

I headed down to Kansas City for a brief getaway.  It was GREAT!  Love that city and I LOVE road tripping!  Speaking of, stay tuned for plenty of talk about my “Tour of Texas” I’m doing in July!

Lastly, and possibly the most important thing I’ve been doing….

yard drinking

Enjoying the HELL out of my summer break!  For real. I’ve been enjoying deck beverages, yard beverages, patio beverages, beverages with friends, with family, and by myself!  It’s been amazing to JUST RELAX…..which I don’t allow myself to do much.  I’m pretty sure I could get used to this!

As you can see, I’ve been a busy busy girl!  I know I’ve said it before, but I am going to post more often.  I promise.  No, I really REALLY promise!  Anyways, regardless of all of the awesome going on lately, there have been a few things kind of bringing me down.  One of these is body image.  I am convinced that I will always struggle with it.  Always, no matter how old I get, no matter how confident I become, it’s always lurking….waiting to pounce at one moment of weakness.  That’s all a different post for a different day….but be prepared, because I feel like it’s going to be coming soon!

On to food.  To be quite honest, I haven’t really been cooking much exciting stuff lately.  Just sticking to the basics of a piece of grilled/roasted meat, some veggies, and some fat.  Pretty boring folks!  But the one thing I have been mildly obsessed with is stuffing sweet potatoes.  It’s SO FREAKING GOOD!  Not to mention super simple!  So I’ll give ya a two-fer on recipes tonight.  I owe you…….big time.  So here are two of my beauties!

pulled chicken sweet potato jalapeno beef sweet potato

Garlic Jalapeno Pulled Chicken

  • 3-4 whole jalapeno peppers, cut in half lengthwise (leave all seeds and ribs IN)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (just whack them with the back of your knife)
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (you could use fresh onion chunks, I just didn’t have any in the house!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound of chicken (I used chicken tenders….they cook faster, but you could sub breasts or thighs….the cooking time might be a bit different)
  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, fill with 4-6 cups of water.
  2. Put ALL ingredients OTHER THAN the chicken into the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. When the water is at a rolling boil, carefully drop your chicken in. Turn the heat back to Medium and continue to boil for about 30 minutes.
  4. To test if chicken is done, simply remove a piece of chicken and split it apart at the thickest part. If it’s not done, just toss it back into the cauldron!
  5. When chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and allow to cool before shredding by hand.

This turned out slightly spicy and totally delicious!  Not to mention, it can be used for any number of other recipes.  In fact, I scrambled some of the leftover chicken into my eggs the next morning!  Boom.  Plus, it was damn good stuffed into a baked sweet potato and topped with fresh guacamole.

Jalapeno Lime Ground Beef

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion (could sub fresh…about 1/2 an onion, just didn’t have any!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. In a deep skillet, brown your ground beef.
  2. When beef is almost cooked through add in the remaining ingredients and mix together well.
  3. Turn your heat back to Medium-Low and simmer your ground beef for 8-10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Taste, and salt and pepper as needed!
  5. Stuff it in a baked sweet potato and SMASH!

Alrighty, well hopefully I’ve gone and made a bit of amends……I promise not to desert you again! Plus, there will probably be a dessert of some sort coming soon.  I will be selling baked goods at a competition being held at my gym on June 29th, so I will be a baking MACHINE in the next couple of weeks!  Lucky you 🙂 Get out there and enjoy your summer! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Apologies, Insanity, and Crockpot Cooking

Holy CRAP!  So it’s been over a week since I’ve been on here…..my apologies.  For real, I feel like kind of a dick about it.  My life went from super calm and peaceful with seemingly TONS of down time to COMPLETELY FREAKING INSANE in the course of a couple of days.  I’ve just been all over the place, putting out fires left and right, and pretty much going into survival mode.

Couple of things to keep y’all updated and give you a taste of what I’m dealing with:

  1. Mexico is a NO go.  Which totally sucks.  Ultimately it was a money thing.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what I do, but while public education pays the bills, it doesn’t always allow for extra expenses…..like a trip to Mexico when the cost of an all-inclusive resort was grossly out of your price range.
  2. Subsequently, due to lack of Mexico trip and lack of funds…..the “Cancun Challenge” is also no longer going.  I am still committed to rocking the paleo way, but I’m allowing myself a drink or two at special occasions as well as a bit of natural sugar every once in a while.  That being said, MINIMAL cheats, again only for special occasions, and still never any gluten.
  3. The end of the school year is rapidly approaching.  As I sit here typing this, I have 14 days with students left.  In that 14 days, we have 2 fieldtrips, final exams, 6 parent meetings, final reports to write on 10 of my students, OH! and I have to find time in there to clean and pack up my classroom.
  4. Toss a couple of roadtrips to Minneapolis in there and I’m quickly becoming an over-scheduled crazy person.

Speaking of roadtrips, I escaped to Minneapolis this past weekend and it was glorious.  I hung out with some of my nearest and dearest guy friends, and had an amazing weekend full of epic deep conversation, excellent food, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, wearing sweatpants, and consuming mass amounts of hard cider and playing on playground equipment.  It was maybe one of the greatest weekends in a very long time!  Here are just a couple of pics from the weekend…..both food related of course.

   paleofail    cincofeast

Those Strongbows were purchased purely because they were the only cider available in a tallboy can….and that pic on the right is the EPIC Cinco feast we made.  It’s all topped off by some freaking delicious bacon avocado pico deliciousness that the boys and I just made up on the spot.  Out. Of. Control.  Did I mention I love those boys?  Because I do…..mostly because we got to cook together, drink together, and they indulge silly ideas like bacon avocado pico, microwaving avocados, and swinging on swings with a drink in your hand.  That’s friendship.  We also made sure to music bomb the bar we hung out in with plenty of Rick Astley, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Miley Cyrus.  Yeah, we’re those guys.

Enough rambling….on to food!  I am going to apologize in advance for this picture, because it looks really gross.  I promise, it’s so ridiculously good though.  I just suck at taking pics.  Not to mention this is SUPER easy.  I prepped it at night and let it cook overnight so it was ready in the morning.  Boom.  Instant lunches ready to go!

chickenpicatta

Crockpot Chicken Picatta

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into large chunks
  • Juice of 3-4 lemons
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ghee (or grassfed butter if that’s your thing!)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large pieces
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons capers, plus some of the liquid from the jar…about 1 tablespoon
  1. In the bottom of your crockpot, put your onions and garlic.
  2. Layer your raw chicken in on top next. Season it with some salt and pepper, to your tastes. (You could put your chicken in frozen, just add about 2 hours onto your cooking time).
  3. On top of your chicken, add your capers, lemon juice, and chunk up your ghee and make sure you evenly distribute it.  It’ll help it melt more evenly.
  4. Cook on low for about 6 hours.  If you are going to go longer than 6 hours, I would add in some additional liquid.  Probably 1/2 cup – 1 cup of chicken stock.
  5. Serve it up with some spaghetti squash and enjoy a buttery delicious CRAZY STUPID EASY meal!

There it is folks!  I promise to try to get on here more than once a week.  That’s just rude on my part, and I apologize for being a dick like that.  In the mean time, cheers to good friendships, good food, and letting out your inner kid! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Prosciutto and Sage Chicken Roll Ups

chicken and sage rolls

I’m officially on the downhill slide of my first 30 days of my almost 90 day Cancun challenge!  Honestly, I feel like I’m somewhat over the sugar urges.  I haven’t wanted to smash on sweet stuff in almost a week…..despite having a plate of homemade cupcakes on my kitchen counter!  Now THAT, my friends is willpower!  I just keep looking at them and thinking…..you know you don’t want that, and it won’t even be that satisfying, AND you’ll feel like crap afterwards.  By the time I rationalize all of that, I’m usually good!

Now salt?  That is where my bizarre food cravings are kicking into high gear.  Maybe it’s the fact that my allergies are kicking up because it’s FINALLY maybe starting to really act like spring here!!  But for some reason, I can’t seem to get enough salt!  Everything I make is tasting bland, and I’ve NEVER been someone who reaches for the salt shaker…..weird.  I’m sure I have some sort of imbalance going on inside of me, but whatever, I’m just gonna ride it out for now!

Speaking of the weather finally turning around here…..it was ACTUALLY sunny today!  And somewhat warm!  And as we speak, I’m watching a full-ish moon rising in a CLEAR sky.  Simple pleasures, folks.  I swear, the fact that it was sunny today improved my mood hugely.  By the end of the week, it’s supposed to be almost 70 degrees!  That’s damn near flip flop weather…..which means I need to get it together and go get a pedicure.  Ain’t NOBODY got time for unpolished toes.  For real.

Alright, food for tonight.  My mom used to make these chicken roll ups with prosciutto, sage, and then some sort of cheese.  Then she’d make a wine and mushroom gravy for them……needless to say, they were off the chain!  So I was feeling a hankering for these bad boys.  I just left out the cheese (duh….) and skipped out on a sauce, mostly due to time constraints.  These turned out great!

Prosciutto and Sage Chicken Roll Ups

  • 4 large chicken breasts, pounded out to about 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 oz. prosciutto
  • 1 oz. package of fresh sage……or about 30ish sage leaves (you could use ground sage here, but fresh is much better! If using dry, use between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon per roll, depending on how “sage-y” you like it)
  • toothpicks
  • garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, celery salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Lay out you pounded out chicken breasts and lightly sprinkle the top side with each of the spices….NOT the sage though, save that for later!
  3. Layer 2 slices of prosciutto on each piece of chicken.
  4. Next, evenly arrange your sage leaves (or dried sage) over your prosciutto.
  5. Roll your chicken breasts up with all of the goodies inside and secure with 3-4 toothpicks.  You want to make sure that you roll them tightly and tuck any exposed goodies in on the ends.  Get good and messy with this!
  6. Lightly sprinkle the outside with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  7. In a deep skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
  8. Lightly brown the chicken rolls in the coconut oil on all sides. You will want to give them about 2-3 minutes per side.  This might get kind of funky with toothpicks sticking out every which way….just do your best to get as much browning on there as possible!
  9. Once you have browned as much of the outsides as you can, place chicken rolls on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.  This will depend on how thick your chicken rolls are and how long they actually cooked in your skillet.  Use a meat thermometer to check (or do like I did and at 15 minutes, pull one out and cut it in half…..if it’s still pink, keep cooking!)
  10. Remove them from the oven, remove the toothpicks and devour!

I served mine sliced over some sauteed and steamed kale with sundried tomatoes.  It was insanely delicious and took me right back to my Mama’s old favorite! Seriously, the browned chicken breast, the salty slightly bacon-y flavor from the prosciutto, the earthy sage….MMM!!!  So good!  Hope you enjoy them!  They are a total “WOW!” meal as well because they look really pretty….so get after it! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister