Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Puree

Last week I learned that you can spiralize butternut squash. I mean. This changes my life. Here is a video on that, completely unrelated to the rest of my post:

You can see that you end up with a lot of leftover squash that you can’t spiralize. So, I had the butts of two large butternut squash and some leftover cores that I needed to use. I’m a little tired of just plain old roasted veggies right now, so I decided to step it up a notch by making a puree. It was inspired by this recipe, which I’m sure is delicious as is, but I tweaked it so it would pair better with the pork tenderloin and marinade I planned to serve with it. The pork, by the way, is a variation on this recipe, which is probably my favorite pork tenderloin recipe of all time.

Let’s take a second to look at some of the nutritional highlights of this meal. Pork tenderloin has a similar nutrition profile to skinless chicken breast, which means it is a very lean source of quality protein. It also happens to be relatively inexpensive (I paid a little over $7.00 for a tenderloin that feeds my husband and I two meals each) and very easy to prepare. Butternut squash is also very healthy; it is a great source of vitamins A, C, and B6, and it is also high in potassium and folate, along with other vitamins and minerals. It also contains a lot of the antioxidant beta carotene and has anti-inflammatory and insulin regulating properties as well. This makes it a great grain-free and potato-free source of carbohydrates. Combine all that with a healthy dose of fresh ginger, which is famous for its soothing and anti-inflammatory effects on the GI tract, along with fresh orange zest and juice, and you can see that this meal is as healthy as it is delicious.

Did I mention that this is also a perfect fall dinner? Last night marked a very important seasonal shift in the lives of desert dwellers: the First Open Window Night. My husband and I took our greyhound on a walk around 8:00 last night and I almost wished I had a sweater. So when we got home we opened all the windows, made a cup of cinnamon spice tea, and luxuriated in the first delicious hint of fall in the air. It was a happy coincidence that we had also eaten a fragrant fall classic for dinner. When we were finishing, Chris looked at me and did his best Gordon Ramsay impression, “What a shame. I wish there was a little more.” I have a feeling there will be plenty more of this meal in the future.

Here are all your marinade ingredients, and what it looks like when you are marinading your pork tenderloin.p1000861p1000862

You can see here the butternut squash going into the oven and coming out, when they are glistening and soft and just beginning to brown.

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And here is the final product:p1000868 p1000867

Marinated Pork Tenderloin Ingredients

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin (whatever size works for the crowd you need to feed)
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup marsala cooking wine (or any dry red wine plus an extra tablespoon of honey to be completely SCD compliant)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced sweet onion or shallot
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de provence (no salt added)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Puree Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • dash of cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Marinated Pork Tenderloin Method

  • Combine all marinade ingredients.*
  • Place the tenderloin in a small casserole dish or large bowl, and add just enough marinade to cover it half way. Marinate 1-2 hours, turning over halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, place reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, then reduce heat and let simmer until significantly reduced, about 1 hour.
  • Grill pork tenderloin over medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Let rest at least 3 minutes to continue cooking; then, slice into medallions. Top with a generous spoonful of reduced marinade to serve.

Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Puree Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Toss cubed squash with olive oil and a generous dash of salt. Spread out in a thin layer on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
  • Roast about 40 minutes, depending on size of cube, until the squash is very soft and just starting to brown in some places.
  • Place squash in food processor along with all other remaining ingredients. Process until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

*Note: This marinade is the bomb.com so I purposefully make extra to use later on in the week. It is great on grilled seafood, pork, and chicken. You can even use it as a quick stir fry sauce. Tonight we’ll be using the leftovers to jazz up chicken, pepper, onion, and pineapple kabobs. But, if you don’t foresee another use for it, you can always halve the recipe to prevent waste.

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Portabella Beef Stacks with Garlic Basil Mayonnaise and Wilted Spinach

We went to Costco last weekend with Chris’s mom and sister and we discovered the biggest mushrooms in the world. I had not planned on cooking with mushroom caps, but we couldn’t pass these up.

Is it portobello, portobella, portabello, or portabella? Nobody knows! I looked it up and they are all acceptable variants, but “The Mushroom Council” goes with the double a spelling, so I will, too. I wouldn’t want to cross The Mushroom Council.

Anyway, I think the nutritional value of mushrooms is underappreciated. They are an excellent source of selenium and a very good source of most B vitamins. They contain substances that balance the immune system. That is, they don’t just rev up the immune system, which is bad for people with autoimmune disorders who already have an out-of-control immune system; they actually alter the way the immune system works to encourage appropriate and balanced immune response. They also block production of pro-inflammatory molecules, which can help reduce or prevent chronic inflammation. Double bonus for us!

In addition to all this, mushrooms are a culinary delight. They are simple to cook and they develop a wonderful meaty texture and earthy flavor. While they pack a big punch, they are really low in calories. We are talking around 30 calories for an entire mushroom cap, which can make mushrooms a great choice for people who are actively trying to lose weight.

When we got home with our Costco haul I went to work figuring out how best to use our mushroom treasures, and this is what I invented, loosely inspired by Everyday Paleo’s Basil Pork Burgers, which we have made and loved many times.

Prep your veggie ingredients.p1000599

Start with the mayo so you can have it prepped and can keep it refrigerated until ready to serve. I learned to make homemade mayo thanks to Everyday Paleo. Here is her demo. Her basic mayo recipe has never failed me and is one of very few recipes I know by heart! Here I take her basic mayo recipe (already mixed up in the bottom of the food processor) and add in seasoning and fresh basil and garlic. p1000602

Now on to the mushrooms. See what I mean? Biggest. Mushrooms. Ever.p1000596

This is what they should look like cleaned out. You can still see a little texture where the gills were but most of them have been scooped out.p1000597

Here they are ready to go into the oven.p1000598

While they are baking, get your beef patties on the stove.p1000606

And your wilted spinach.p1000605

When the beef, spinach, and mushrooms are all done cooking, assemble!p1000607

Then pull your mayo out of the fridge and add a generous dollop. Devour. This is SCD legal food that is guaranteed to make you totally forget you are “on a diet.” p1000608

Portabella Beef Stack Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 portabella mushroom caps, woody stems and gills removed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
  • olive oil

Wilted Spinach Ingredients

  • 5 ounces raw baby spinach
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon scd-legal balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garlic Basil Mayonnaise Ingredients

  • 1 egg*
  • 1 cup avocado oil (or other mild-tasting oil such as not extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, or a blend of these)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced**
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method

Garlic Basil Mayo

  • Put the egg, lemon juice, and mustard in a blender or food processor. Blend until combined.
  • Add the oil, drop by drop. It will take some time but eventually the mixture will emulsify and thicken. Once it does, turn the food processor or blender off. You don’t want to overprocess.
  • Add the basil, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper. Blend again just until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Portabella Beef Stacks

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each mushroom cap, rub it all over both sides with your hands, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place mushroom caps on a rimmed baking sheet (because they will release a lot of liquid as they cook) and bake for 20-30 minutes depending on size, flipping once.
  • While the mushrooms are baking, combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and shape into 4 patties. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and sear on both sides, until a thermometer inserted at the thickest point reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the beef is cooked to your liking.

Wilted Spinach

  • Heat pan until very hot. Add bacon and cook on both sides until crispy and browned. Remove bacon, tear or crumble it into pieces, and set aside.
  • Turn heat to medium and add diced onions. Cook until soft.
  • Add baby spinach and chicken stock. Toss a few times until just wilted and remove from heat. Add balsamic vinegar.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper until it is seasoned to your liking.

To assemble, place a serving of spinach on each plate. Top with a mushroom cap (hollow part facing upward) and a beef patty. Add a generous dollop of homemade mayo on top, or get fancy and drizzle it across the whole dish.

*I have been eating raw eggs my whole life and have never gotten sick from them. Food poisoning can be especially dangerous for people with IBD, however, so I have recently switched to using pasteurized eggs if I am planning on eating eggs raw or undercooked. If you are serving this mayo to anyone with a compromised immune system, pregnant women, young children, or the elderly, you should really make an effort to acquire pasteurized whole eggs (they sell them at every Sprouts in my area) or look into pasteurizing your own eggs at home, because salmonella can be quite dangerous for these people.

**Combining oil and garlic or fresh herbs can present a real risk for botulism. Plain homemade mayo (without garlic or herbs) can keep for about a week if it is sealed and refrigerated, but once you add garlic and herbs you need to be extra careful about refrigeration and use or discard within 2-3 days. See this article for additional safety tips.

Mediterranean Roasted Veggies

Ok. Why does anyone ever eat steamed vegetables when roasting them is so easy and the results are tender, flavorful, caramelized deliciousness? You can roast pretty much any veggie, but this recipe is for a combination that I especially like when serving anything with a Mediterranean flare. The sweet peppers balance the earthy eggplant really well. Here are the veggies I will use. Gather and wash them.P1000439 Peel your eggplant and cut it into bite-size pieces. If you have time, sprinkle with salt and set in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. This will help draw out excess moisture and will make it easier to use less oil, but if you are in a rush you can totally omit this step.P1000440 Now chop up the rest of your veggies into similar sizes.P1000441 Toss all prepared veggies in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.P1000447 Spread out in a thin layer on a parchment paper or silicone-lined cookie sheet. The parchment paper or silicone mat helps make clean-up easier but if you don’t have any you can roast the veggies directly on the cookie sheet.P1000448 Bake until tender and slightly browned on edges. Serve with everything!P1000510 Mediterranean Roasted Veggies Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces, and drained if desired
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line a large cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. If the oil seems to be absorbed too quickly by the eggplant, add a little more until all the vegetables have a very light coating of oil but there is no excess in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Spread in a thin layer on prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until all veggies are soft and starting to brown around the edges, stirring every 10 minutes.

Tonight I served this dish with my Quick Salmon Cakes (recipe coming soon)!

Whole Roasted Chicken with Braised Vegetables and Bone Broth

Recently I have gotten into the habit of roasting a whole chicken and making homemade bone broth every week. This process requires a bit of up-front work, but then it makes meal preparations so easy for the rest of the week. One chicken easily feeds my husband and me for 4 meals, and I use the bone broth in the place of water in pretty much every savory recipe I make. Bone broth also makes a really good snack or very light meal, especially during a flare. It is very easy to digest and is full of nutrients that fight inflammation, reduce joint pain, boost immunity, keep bones strong, and strengthen hair and nails. This article among many others provides some good information on the health benefits of bone broth. Interestingly enough, I have found that both traditional and alternative sources strongly recommend broth consumption to IBD sufferers.

I feel like roasting a chicken should be a fairly simple operation, but we are so far removed from the natural state of our food that I feel like most people my age seem scared to buy and prepare a whole bird. I am going to walk you through the process step-by-step, and I promise that you can do it and even your grandma will be impressed with the result!

We normally eat the chicken and vegetables plain for a few meals, and then I use leftovers in recipes throughout the week. This week we used leftovers to make PaleOMG’s AH-MAY-ZING chicken pesto pasta. Since the chicken was already cooked, it was a total snap to throw this delicious dinner together!

Begin with roasting your bird and braising some veggies. Here are the veggies we are going to be using today:Image

 

Leeks have a tendency to collect a lot of dirt as they grow. To clean them, cut off the dark green leaves and the white end. Slice into the vegetable about halfway up the stalk and separate the layers so you can wash between them.Image

Chop off the tops and ends of carrots; then peel and chop in half. Throw the waste from the leeks and carrots into your crockpot for later.Image

Arrange the cut, prepared vegetables and one third of your fresh herbs in the bottom of a casserole dish and add white wine. Drizzle olive oil on top of the veggies and sprinkle a little sea salt and black pepper on them.Image

Prepare your spice rub by processing one third of fresh herbs and all dried spices and herbs in a food processor. Then combine with 3 tablespoons olive oil.Image

Now it’s time to give your chicken a spa treatment. Reach inside and pull out the gizzards. Set aside. Rinse your chicken inside and out with water and then set in your prepared roasting pan. Massage it inside and out with the oil/spice mixture.Image

Stuff the remaining aromatics inside the chicken.P1000463

Go ahead and put the chicken in the oven.Image

Once your chicken is done cooking, carve. If you’re not sure how to carve a whole chicken, this video is pretty helpful.

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Serve with braised veggies.P1000472

Finally we get to the part where you make chicken bone broth! Throw all the bones from the carved  chicken into your slow cooker, along with your veggie trimmings. Also….let’s deal with the gizzards now. I like to add the neck and heart to my broth, but not the liver (some people are quite averse to the taste of liver in broth). The first picture is the neck and heart, which I throw in.P1000464

Did I mention that I used to be a vegetarian?!?  The next picture is the liver, which I throw out. P1000466

Add celery and any other aromatics you want, along with the apple cider vinegar and gizzards. Fill the slow cooker with filtered water up to the fill line. P1000471

Cook on high for 2 hours, then on low for at least 6 hours, or up to 22 hours.  Then strain through a colander lined with a piece of cheesecloth into a large bowl. P1000479And there you have it. Beautiful, golden, nutritious bone broth! If you have any solid fat on the surface once it cools, scoop it off with a spoon and discard or use in the place of cooking oil.P1000481

Roasted Chicken Ingredients (serves 4-5, with leftover meat)

  • 1 whole chicken (organic and pastured is ideal)
  • 7-10 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 4-5 small leeks, cleaned with green leaves and bottoms removed
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • several sprigs fresh herbs, divided three ways (tarragon, marjoram, rosemary, and sage are all good choices)
  • 1/4 cup very dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de provence
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Method

  • Preheat oven to 330 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Pour white wine into large glass casserole dish. Arrange carrots, leeks, and 1/3 of the fresh herbs in the dish, with the leeks and carrots to the side and the herbs in the middle. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Remove gizzards from chicken and set aside. Rinse chicken inside and out and place in middle of casserole dish.
  • Combine all dry herbs and spices and another third of the fresh herbs in a food processor. Process until they are a fine powder. Mix with remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil (the consistency should be like a thin paste).
  • Rub the chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff the remaining fresh herbs, lemon, and garlic inside the chicken. If desired, tie legs together with kitchen twine (I never do, but it makes for a pretty presentation).
  • Bake for 3 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Rotate veggies and baste chicken with juices about once every hour. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Chicken Bone Broth Ingredients

  • Raw chicken heart and neck (optional)
  • Bones with a bit of meat still on them from roasted chicken (smaller ones snapped, if possible. Yes, I am a monster.)
  • Vegetables (for this batch I used trimmings from 7 carrots, plus 2 more carrots cut in half, trimmings from 4 small leeks, and 3 celery stalks cut in half; at a minimum you should use leeks/onions, carrots, and celery, although other vegetables can be added and the ratios adjusted to taste)
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cold filtered water (enough to fill slow cooker to fill line)

Method

  • Add all ingredients except for parsley, salt, and pepper to slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours.
  • Cook on low for 6-22 hours.
  • Turn off heat and add parsley; allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain through cheesecloth and colander.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to five days, or in the freezer for several months.

Creamy Carrot Puree

I paired my meatloaf with a carrot puree. I got the inspiration from Nom Nom Paleo’s Cauliflower and Carrot Puree. I love me some cauliflower fauxtatoes, but cauliflower, broccoli, and members of the cabbage family can be harder to digest than other veggies. Soft cooked, pureed veggies are easy to digest, and cooked carrots are especially belly friendly. So I decided to leave out the cauliflower and tweak the recipe a bit.

But forget about your bellies and let’s focus on your tastebuds. This puree is rich, creamy, and decadent tasting. It’s full of nutrients. It can be prepared in a single pot. The carrots make this side dish sweet and earthy, while the yogurt adds a pleasing tang. And to be honest, I would rather eat this than mashed potatoes any day of the week. Even on Thanksgiving. Chris, who doesn’t even like carrots that much, asked for seconds!

Chop your veggies and get out your butter and chicken stock first. Image

Throw that all in a pot.

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When everything is cooked and soft, remove from heat and plop the yogurt on top.

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Blend away!

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YUM.

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Carrot Puree Ingredients (3-4 servings)

  • ½ large onion, cut into large dice
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8-10 carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • ½ cup chicken stock (homemade bone broth, if you have it)
  • 3 tablespoons goat or cow milk butter
  • ½ cup plain strained yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  • Heat a stockpot over medium high heat and add the butter. I used goat butter because it’s extra delicious (don’t tell Chris! He hates goat everything!), but cow milk butter would work as well.
  • Add all the chopped vegetables and the chicken stock to the melted butter.
  • Once the liquid boils, cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Check on them occasionally to make sure the pan is not dry. Ideally by the end of the cooking time the stock would be reduced almost to a glaze, but there would be no burnt spots on your veggies.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add in strained yogurt and process with immersion blender until smooth. Please note: If you add in the yogurt when the vegetables are still very hot or reheat leftover puree, you will kill off most of the beneficial bacteria; but, since the lactose in the yogurt should have already been digested by the bacteria, this is still preferable to using other dairy products. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Voila. You have a simple, nutrient-dense, comforting dinner. You could feed this to your family and to your friends who don’t even know or care what SCD is. They’ll be happy, full, and everyone’s tastebuds AND tummies will thank you!