Paleo Mussels Marinara with Spaghetti Squash

paleo mussels marinara
Having secured a wonderful variety of seafood at the Bluffton Oyster Company, not far from Hilton Head Island, we've been enjoying our purchases over the past week.  The following was a notch up from our typical steamed mussels.  In the name of convenience, I microwaved the spaghetti squash, which is more energy efficient, and less time consuming, but if you have the time, roasting the squash provides a better quality end product.  We will be eating a good deal of seafood over the coming weeks as we continue driving north along the coastal waterways, frequently combined with  fresh produce we find along the way.

1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded, discard any that are cracked or, if they are open, tap on them, if they do not close when you tap on them discard them
2 large organic tomatoes, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 medium spaghetti squash

Place mussels in a large saucepan in a steamer basket.  Pour the wine in the bottom of the pan and
bring to a low boil, cover the pan and steam mussels until they open, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove all the mussels that have opened and set them aside, cook any remaining closed mussels for a few minutes more, if they still do not open, discard them.  Save the cooking liquid (this will be a combination of the wine and the liquid given off by the mussels as they cook).  Cook it over medium heat, until it is reduced to 1/4 cup, remove from heat and set aside.  Once the cooked mussels have cooled, remove them from the shells, and set them aside. 

In a large fry pan, sauté the garlic and shallots in olive oil until soft, add tomatoes, cook until done.  The final step only takes about one minute, so once the spaghetti squash is ready, scrape the squash from the shell with a fork.  Add the mussels, reduced wine/broth, oregano, basil, salt and pepper to the tomato/garlic mixture, reheat if necessary and serve over the top of the spaghetti squash (or paleo spaghetti of your choice).  Makes 2 servings. 
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Crab Meat Salad with Avocado and Heirloom Tomatoes-Paleo

crab meat salad paleo
The following is more of a non-recipe.  It is so simple to put together and requires so few ingredients it probably wouldn't even be considered a recipe.  As we drove along the South Carolina coast, we had an eye out for a seafood market.  Locating the Bluffton Oyster Company, near Hilton Head Island, we stocked up on shrimp, flounder, oysters, crab meat and mussels. Having scored some avocados and heirloom tomatoes at a nearby market, we had the makings for an outrageously tasty dinner.  The oysters were cooked on the grill as an appetizer, with the following salad as the main course.  By using only half of the crab, we will be able to enjoy Paleo Crab Cakes very soon.

1/2 pound fresh flaked crab meat (remove any cartilage)
1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (to taste)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. gluten free seafood seasoning (or more to taste)
Served over
Organic spring greens
Heirloom tomatoes (or tomato of choice)
2 Haas avocado
Other veggies as desired

Combine crab, mayonnaise, celery and seasoning.  Serve over choice of veggies.  Makes 2 servings.
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Paleo Chicken with Apricots and Fennel

chicken with apricots and fennel- paleo
The following recipe is from my friend and Paleo cook extraordinaire, Gloria Apple.  While it goes together fairly quickly, you need to allow a couple of hours for the chicken to marinade in the spices, so this will not be a dish to throw together at the end of a long work day.  But the actual hands-on time is minimal.  The combination of spices, with the saltiness of the olives, and the sweetness of raisins and apricots is sublime.  Fennel has always been one of our favorite vegetables, so this just gives us another way to work it into the menu.  We enjoyed this plain, but it would work very well served over the top of roasted spaghetti squash.

8 chicken thighs- skinless and boneless
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. paprika

1/2 cup red onion, green onion or shallots, coarsely chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup green olives, chopped

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
20 dried unsulphured apricots, coarsely chopped
Large handful of organic raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries)
Fresh coriander to taste, or ground if fresh is not available
2 cups homemade or gluten free chicken broth
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare chicken ahead of time by cutting each thigh in half and combine with olive oil in large bowl.  Add combined garlic and spice mixture to chicken and toss until well coated.  Place chicken in refrigerator for two hours to develop flavors.  While the chicken is in the refrigerator, chop the onions, olives, and fennel.  When chicken is ready, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Brown thighs on one side for about 4 minutes.  Turn chicken and add onions, olives and fennel and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the apple cider vinegar and cook until vinegar has evaporated.  Add all the remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook until chicken is cooked--5-10 minutes.  Remove chicken and keep warm.  Simmer sauce uncovered several minutes until thickened.  Pour over chicken and serve.  Makes 4-6 servings.
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Paleo Salmon Cake

To say I'm in a rut when it comes to my lunch time menu would be a real understatement.  A salad
salmon cake- paleo
is almost always what I eat, changed up with the type of veggies added, the protein choice and the type of dressing.  Obviously, I enjoy salads or I wouldn't continue to do this year in and year out. But today as I was contemplating what the combination would be, I decided to make something a little different.  Yes, I still had a salad on the side, but instead of putting the salmon on top of the salad, I whipped up salmon cakes.  This only took about 10 minutes, start to finish, and it made 8 cakes, so I have enough for more lunches or snacks.  I used canned wild salmon, but fresh salmon would only take a few minutes more, and would probably yield an even tastier salmon cake.

15 oz. can wild salmon, including skin and bones, drain liquid or
               1-pound wild-caught salmon, poached until done, then drain (remove bones & skin)
1 egg
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 medium onion, grated
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. chives or scallions, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 -1 tsp. gluten free seafood seasoning (I use Old Bay)
olive oil as needed to saute

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.  Shape into 8- 3 inch patties.  In a large skillet, pour about a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium high heat.  Once the skillet is hot add the salmon cakes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through.  Serve with fresh cut lemon or sauce of your choice.

Paleo-Almond Butter Cookies

paleo cookie made with almond butter
I haven't done much baking lately.  It's just too darn hot in Florida these days to turn on the oven any more than necessary, even with the AC going.  But, we are going to take a short trip down to Costa Rica for some dental work and a mini get away.  I always pack at least a few paleo-type snacks for our air travel.  Finding suitable food in airports is sometimes close to impossible, so just like the Girl Scout motto, I like to "Be Prepared."  This recipe is a paleo revision on a recipe that we have made for years.  I didn't add the chocolate chips on this batch, so they would travel better, but they are definitely a wonderful addition. 

1-cup natural almond butter (well-mixed & room temperature) creamy or crunchy
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar or honey
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. sea salt (omit if using a salted almond butter)
¼ cup non-dairy chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the egg, coconut sugar, baking soda, salt and vanilla in a small bowl.  Add this combination to the almond butter in another bowl.  Mix together and add the chocolate chips, if using.  Stir until well combined but do not over mix.  Drop by the rounded spoonful on a baking sheet covered with parchment. (A rounded tablespoon will yield 12-3-inch cookies, a rounded teaspoon (not measuring spoon) will yield 25 2-inch cookies.  Flatten the cookie with a fork.  The cookies will spread a little while baking, so be sure to give them a little room.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until soft set.  They will be soft until they have cooled completely.  Using honey will create a somewhat softer cookie. 
Shared with: Fat TuesdayAllergy Free WednesdayGluten-Free WednesdaysReal Food Friday

Paleo Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts

shrimp and artichoke hearts
Since we live in Florida, shrimp is on our menu fairly frequently.  But the following recipe is one that I haven't made in a few years.  Previously, I had served this dish as a gluten free dinner.  With a couple of minor adjustments, it made a tasty paleo dinner, and it was ready in under 30 minutes.  I served it with honeyed carrots, and a tossed salad with mandarin oranges, sliced jicama and chopped walnuts.  We enjoyed it served over spaghetti squash , but it would also work well with sauteed zucchini spaghetti.

1 pound medium to large wild caught shrimp, cleaned and deveined 
1 shallot, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. grass fed butter or ghee
2 Tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup white wine
1 box frozen (defrosted) or 1 can (drained)  artichoke hearts, cut in quarters
salt and pepper to taste

Clean and devein the shrimp.  Set aside.

Prepare paleo spaghetti as desired.  I cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and microwave in a microwave safe steamer pan for 12-14 minutes.  The time required depends on the size of the squash, but check it periodically.  Overcooked squash will be mushy. Coordinate timing so the squash and shrimp will be completed at about the same time.  

Saute the shallot and garlic in the butter and olive oil in a fry pan until soft.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice and white wine to the fry pan over medium heat.  Depending on the size of the shrimp, they will take 3-4 minutes to cook.  When the shrimp is almost done add the artichoke hearts, just to heart through.  Do not overcook the shrimp.  Once shrimp is done, remove from heat. Serve immediately over paleo spaghetti of your choice.  Makes 3-4 servings.
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Allergy Free WednesdaysReal Food Fridays

Mediterranean-style Pork Chops - Paleo

Even though we ate countless olives in Greece and Spain on our recent trip, we never tire of these delightful morsels.  The following recipe, inspired by our travels, was incredibly easy to put together and tasty, as well.  The leftovers were even better the following night.  I've mentioned here before how much I love leftovers, not only because of the time saving aspect, but oftentimes the dishes are improved as the flavors meld together longer.  Gently steaming the pork over the veggies creates wonderfully tender pork chops.  This combination would work well with chicken too.

4 boneless pork chops, butterflied
15 oz. can organic crushed tomatoes
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. capers
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. sea salt or more to taste 
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes in a large fry pan, add remaining ingredients, then place pork chops over the top and cover pan with a lid. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes until pork is tender.  Remove lid and cook an additional 5 minutes to reduce the sauce.  Serve over sauteed zucchini spaghetti.  Makes 4 servings.
Shared with: Gluten free & DIY TuesdayFat TuesdayAllergy Free WednesdayGluten-Free WednesdaysReal Food Friday