Pizza Frittata

The Bachelor is one of my guiltiest pleasures. I literally cringe every time I admit to watching it, but I can’t help being sucked in. My mom and sister watch it, too, and for a long time we would have weekly phone conversations about what was happening in the show, dissecting every interaction and making predictions about what would happen. My parents recently moved to the desert also, though, so now we get to watch The Bachelor together, in real time!

Last Monday night, I had my parents over so we could watch the show, and I made this cauliflower crust pizza for us to eat as we watched. It turned out even better than I expected. I mean, I could actually pick up my pizza. It has been a long time since I’ve had pizza that was both good for me and pick-up-able. Chris is picky about his pizza, so I got him a flatbread instead for his crust, but he thought the cauliflower pizza was as good as his flatbread pizza. You better believe I’m going to make this again, and make extra to freeze for the next time we need a really quick meal.

After Monday’s meal, I had a bunch of leftover ingredients that were already cut up, but I was out of cauliflower. I experimented a little and came up with an insanely easy dinner that used up all my leftovers. More than a recipe to follow step-by-step, this is an idea you can use on those “OMG I am so exhausted and we have nothing in the fridge” days. You can easily adapt it to what you like and what you have on hand, or to keep scraps of this and that in the fridge from going to waste. This can be a quick one-dish meal, or it would be great alongside a green salad or veggies. It’s even fast enough that you could make it in the morning, and feel good about eating pizza for breakfast!

Here are my ingredients. You can see this is not an exact science, people. Literally just a bunch of random leftovers.P1000986

Saute the sausage and veggies.P1000987

Going into the oven, and coming out.

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And the finished melty, saucy product. Like a deep-dish pizza with egg instead of a crust.P1000990P1000993

Pizza Frittata Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons cashew milk, or other “milk” of choice
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
  • roughly 3 cups chopped veggies of choice (I used green bell pepper, purple onion, and cremini mushrooms)
  • 1/3 cup pre-cooked sausage*
  • 7 pepperoni slices*
  • 1/4 cup prepared pizza sauce*
  • handful of shredded cheese (I used a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and fontina)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Pizza Frittata Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron, or other oven-safe, skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add chopped veggies and sausage to hot oil and saute about 3-5 minutes, until veggies are soft
  • Meanwhile, beat together eggs, milk, and nutritional yeast. Season mixture with salt and pepper, just as if you were making scrambled eggs.
  • Transfer the hot, cooked veggies to the egg mixture and whisk together. Then add the other 1 tablespoon olive oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat.
  • Pour the egg and veggie mixture back into the prepared pan and top with slices of pepperoni. Transfer to the oven for 15 minutes, until the eggs are set.
  • Remove the frittata from the oven and spread the prepared pizza sauce evenly over the eggs. Top with shredded cheese. Return to oven until the cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes. Slice and serve!

*Check ingredients to make sure these are SCD compliant. You might have to shop around for brands that comply, but they are out there! I use Aidell’s chicken and apple sausage from Costco (it does list a rather vague “spices” on the ingredients, but I say it’s close enough). I can find nitrate-free, uncured pepperoni and pizza sauce that list only SCD-compliant ingredients at Sprout’s, and I feel comfortable using these, but of course if you feel otherwise you can omit, use homemade pizza sauce, or simply add fresh tomato with spices from your own pantry and olive oil to the top instead.

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Albondigas!

You know how on December 26th or so you start thinking that you never want to eat food or drink alcohol again, like ever?

I exercised a little more control than usual this year. It helped a lot that much of my family has adopted a paleo-ish style of eating. For example, for my sister’s college graduation dinner, which we also celebrated over the holidays, we had: lamb shanks braised in beef broth with fennel, carrots, and onions; julienned radishes cooked in butter; parsnip mash topped with the reduced braising juices and veggies; and kale with bacon, blackberry ginger balsamic vinegar, and pecans.

It was a delicious and special meal that still felt good to eat. But then we followed it with tiramisu and White Russians and, well, you get the idea.

On top of the holiday indulgences, I started getting infusions of a new treatment this week. I read that I should expect to feel very tired for a couple of days. I feel pretty good so far, but I already stocked the fridge with food for meals that Chris could prepare in case I couldn’t. First up was one of our all-time favorite meals, a super-flavorful, veggie-packed albondigas (meatball) soup.

This soup is very adaptable to different dietary restrictions. For example, if nightshades are a problem for you, simply omit the tomatoes. You can also substitute plain ground meat for the chorizo, if chorizo is too spicy or if you can’t find one with acceptable ingredients, or switch out the summer squash for a winter squash or sweet potatoes. We’ve made this soup dozens of times–usually without a recipe and with whatever we have on hand. But the recipe I’m sharing here is our fave.

Chris did the cooking, but I prepped for him. I got out all the pantry ingredients…

ingredients

And chopped up all the veggies. In the back left, I have the sliced squash. In the ugly orange bowl, I prepared all the veggies that will go into the meatballs. In the front left, you can see the mirepoix that will be cooked first. And in the last bowl, cilantro. You can do this ahead of time, too, to make dinner a breeze.

prepped

Here is the final product. Buen provecho!

yum

closeup

Albondigas Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground meat (I used white meat turkey, but any ground meat will do)
  • 1 pound bulk chorizo (beef or pork is fine; just read the list of ingredients to make sure it is legal)
  • 26-28 ounces strained tomatoes (I use the Pomi cartons because they are BPA-free)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and divided
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 summer squash, halved and sliced
  • 8 cups chicken or turkey broth (homemade is best, but this is a great substitute)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped and divided
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 limes
  • Coconut oil
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hot sauce, optional

Albondigas Method

  • Thinly slice 2 and 1/2 of the carrots and 2/3 of the onion. Set the rest of the carrot and onion aside for the meatballs.
  • Heat 1 spoonful coconut oil over medium-high heat in a heavy stockpot. Add carrots, celery, and onion and saute for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add broth and tomatoes to stockpot and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, make meatballs. Grate the leftover carrot and onion and combine in a bowl with half the finely chopped cilantro. Mix the vegetables with the ground meat and chorizo. Season lightly with salt and pepper (go very easy if you are using chorizo, since it is already seasoned). Roll into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter.
  • When the broth boils, carefully drop in the meatballs and gently stir so they don’t stick together.
  • Turn down the heat so it’s just barely boiling. Then let simmer for 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked.
  • Add sliced squash to the soup and cook about 8 more minutes, until the squash are soft. Taste and adjust seasoning of broth.
  • Serve in bowls topped with lime juice, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and hot sauce to taste.

Meatloaf Stuffed Bell Peppers

Is it weird that this is my second meatloaf recipe to post already?

Meatloaf is just so comforting and homey and hard to screw up too badly. Plus I had found a gigantic bag of beautiful bell peppers in Costco, that once again I couldn’t pass up, and stuffing them with meat was an obvious way to use up a bunch of them. The filling is a pretty traditional meatloaf, which cooks a little faster in the bell pepper shells since it is smaller than a whole loaf. Plus you get a little boost of nutrition from the bell peppers and the generous addition of sweet and tangy tomato sauce.

The ingredient list is pretty long, but it’s mostly a lot of spices and, honestly, you probably have most of this stuff in your kitchen right now.

Prep your ingredients.p1000639

This is what the cleaned and halved bell peppers should look like.p1000640

Stuff your peppers.p1000643

On goes the tomato sauce.p1000645

We ate ours with a little spoonful of kefir cheese on top, but this is totally optional!p1000647p1000648

Bell Pepper Meatloaf Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 3-4 bell peppers, any color, halved and cleaned of pith and seeds
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (sharp is better, so parmesan or sharp cheddar would be good options)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • extra shredded cheese, kefir cheese, or creme fraiche (optional)

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cups tomato sauce or reduced tomato juice (use the tomato juice to be 100% SCD legal)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil and blanch bell peppers for five minutes. Place blanched peppers in a roasting pan, hollow side facing up.
  • Combine all other meatloaf ingredients in a bowl and mix until just blended. Divide the mixture between the bell pepper halves and stuff, pressing down just enough to hold the meatloaf mixture together.
  • Combine all tomato sauce ingredients in a bowl and pour over and between the stuffed bell peppers.
  • Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, until a thermometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of the little meatloaves.
  • If desired, top with more shredded cheese in the last ten minutes of baking; or, top with a spoonful of cultured creme fraiche or kefir cheese (as I did) after removing peppers from oven.

Quick Salmon Cakes

I don’t talk to that many people about my diet in real life, because let’s face it, people that go on and on about their dietary restrictions can be boring. But, when I do find someone who is interested and I explain what I should and should not eat, the reaction I usually get is something along the lines of, well…what do you eat?? This question is usually followed with isn’t that expensive? and how do you find the time!? 

I am so grateful that, prior to being diagnosed with Crohn’s, my husband and I had experimented with the Paleo diet and the even more restrictive Whole30. We had done that to lose weight (ha…ha…becoming less and less of a problem every day…!) and it worked well for us. It also forced me to learn how to cook meats (I was previously mostly vegetarian), how to make a lot of new things from scratch, and how to get creative with substitutions. These diets prepared both our palates and skill sets for SCD. The biggest problem I had with Whole30 cooking–and with the SCD–is the amount of time required to prepare for and make meals. It can also be expensive.

I will write more in response to the usual questions in another entry, but one big way we have coped with the challenges posed by preparing SCD legal meals is by becoming super organized about our shopping and meal planning. I can tell you, always, exactly what meals we are going to have between now and my next planned grocery shopping trip. I think ahead by a couple of days so I know if I need to get started on a new batch of almond milk or bone broth. I always make enough of everything so that we have leftovers to take for lunch. We make breakfast for dinner a lot. And I have an arsenal of a few tried and true recipes that are very quick to make in a pinch, and that rely on ingredients that are inexpensive, healthy, and that I will always have on hand–the kind of recipes you can talk yourself into making even when you are getting home late and exhausted and running low on groceries. This is one of those recipes.

Here are all the ingredients you will need.P1000504

Start by finely dicing the onion and cooking in butter over low heat until soft. Let cool slightly. Then place in a bowl and add in all other ingredients. Mix well.P1000505

Use your hands to press the mixture into 6-8 patties. You may notice that the canned salmon has some tiny bones and skin in it. I try to pick out the bones but most cans say that they are edible, and in fact, they do seem soft enough that you won’t notice them once the salmon is cooked. Kind of freaky but…eh…just try not to think about it.P1000508

Heat up cooking oil in pan to medium heat and gently slide in patties. Cook fora few minutes on each side, until golden brown.P1000509

Serve with roasted vegetables (I served with my Mediterranean Roasted Veggies) or salad greens. I had some leftover Everyday Paleo Garlic Basil Mayo so I added a dollop of that to the eat with the patties and veggies. Tzatziki would also be nice. P1000510

Easy peasy!

Quick Salmon Cakes Ingredients

  • 1 14.75 ounce can wild-caught salmon (it should only list fish, water, and possibly sea salt as ingredients. Whole Foods’ 365 store brand works well), drained and flaked
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour or almond meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or other cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Method

  • Heat butter over low heat and add diced onions. Cook on low heat until soft. Let cool slightly.
  • Combine onions with all other ingredients except for cooking oil into bowl. Mix well with hands and shape into 6-8 patties. Try to squeeze out extra moisture as much as possible.
  • Heat cooking oil over medium heat and slide patties into pan. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Serve with roasted veggies (pictured here are my Mediterranean Roasted Veggies) or salad greens, and your favorite creamy salad dressing or dip if desired.

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.

Chicken Enchiladas in Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I am originally from Texas, so I have enchilada sauce running through my veins. Enchiladas are one of my all-time favorite foods, and the food I use to judge every Mexican restaurant. It would seem like a diet that eliminates all grains, most dairy, and canned foods would pose a real challenge to an enchilada-lover such as myself, but really it means I have to get creative.

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, I present one variation of enchiladas that we have made and enjoyed, but there are so many possibilities. The tomatillo sauce featured here is sweet, tangy, and fresh, and I can imagine these being especially yummy paired with shrimp instead of chicken. I’d also like to work on perfecting a homemade red enchilada sauce soon. But, green enchiladas are and always have been my favorite, so I started here. These may not bear much resemblance to the cheese-sauce gooey, gravy-topped Tex-Mex enchiladas of my youth (thankfully) but I feel really good eating these enchiladas knowing they are filled with healthy vegetables and super lean protein. Like, I can eat these and not need a Mexican-food nap to recover afterwards. And Chris says he can’t even tell we’re not using “real” tortillas.

Making every part of an enchilada from scratch is a time-consuming process, so I recommend either making this on a weekend when you have plenty of time or making it in stages. If you use leftover chicken and make the tomatillo sauce and/or tortillas ahead of time it would be a snap to pull together on a weeknight. And, the good news is, it makes a lot so depending on the number of mouths you are feeding you can have leftovers for several meals (and they taste even better as leftovers!).

These veggies will be the basis of your enchilada sauce. Don’t be afraid of the tomatillos. They look hard but the husk just peels right off. Don’t worry if your tomatillos leave your hands sticky–it’s totally normal.P1000546

Roughly chop everything and throw them on a baking sheet. No need to be precise here.P1000547

Throw everything together in the food processor.P1000548

Yummmmy homemade enchilada sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Once it’s cooled a little, add yogurt if you want to. Don’t let anyone near this with tortilla chips…it will be all gone by the time you are ready to assemble the enchiladas!P1000549

Now start on your chickens if you aren’t using leftovers. Nothing fancy, just salt and some seasonings of your choice.P1000550

This is how my grain-free tortillas look. Against all Grain does a great job documenting the whole process, so I will spare you additional pictures. You can see they are not all the same size or shape, but they will work just fine for enchiladas. If your tortillas don’t look perfect, don’t sweat it!P1000551

Saute your remaining onion and garlic and add in your shredded chicken.P1000553

Set up an assembly line with tortillas, shredded cheese, chicken, sauce, and prepared casserole dish. If you have an extra set of willing hands around the house this is a good time to recruit them.P1000554

Fill each tortilla with a little chicken, a little sauce, and a little cheese.P1000555

Tuck your enchiladas into your casserole dish.P1000556

Smother with remaining sauce and cheese. Pop uncovered dish in the oven.P1000557

All done!P1000558

This meal deserves TWO pictures!P1000560

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Ingredients (Serves 6 generously)

  • 1.25 pounds tomatillos, husked and cut in half
  • 1 large onion, peeled and very roughly chopped
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper (or use 1-2 jalapenos instead if you like more heat)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, stalks trimmed off
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup plain strained yogurt (optional)

Against all Grain’s Grain-Free Tortilla Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • butter or other cooking oil

Enchilada Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast (about 1 1/2 large breasts; or, use leftover chicken for a quicker preparation)
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • sea salt
  • Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming spice blend (or substitute chipotle powder, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and any other pepper you like to be completely SCD legal)
  • 1/2 pound cheese, shredded (I used a lactose-free raw white cheddar, but a Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack blend would be nice)

Method

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place tomatillos, onion, bell pepper, and garlic on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined cookie sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.
  • Add all roasted veggies to a food processor, along with lime, cilantro, and spices, and blend until almost smooth or to desired consistency. Add yogurt once the mixture has cooled a bit, if you like your enchilada sauce a little creamier.

Chicken Breasts

  • Coat both sides of chicken breast(s) with spices and sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees.
  • Shred chicken (I use the dough blade attachment on my food processor to make quick work of this!).
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add a bit of butter or cooking oil to your fry pan and cook remaining garlic and onion until soft. Toss with shredded chicken.

Grain-Free Tortillas

  • Prepare your grain-free tortillas. Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 10 minutes, and beat again.
  • Heat up a small pat of butter or other cooking oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan (I use a Bialetti ceramic non-stick frying pan and it’s amazing!).
  • Add 1/4 cup of batter at a time. I find it works best to add a pat of butter to my pan and swirl it around. Then I hold the pan off the heat at an angle and add the batter at the top so that it runs down the pan–the thinner the better. If holes form you can always fill them in with a bit more batter. Set the pan down on the heat to finish cooking (about 1 minute, until the surface looks dull and bubbles form), then gently flip and let cook for another 30 seconds or so. This can take a little practice, but if some don’t turn out beautifully, don’t worry; after all, they are going to be smothered in cheese and enchilada sauce in a minute, so nobody will even know! Stack on a plate until ready to stuff.

Filling and Assembly

  • Assemble your enchiladas! Spoon a bit of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a glass casserole dish and spread thinly. Then, take each tortilla and add shredded chicken, a pinch of cheese, and a smear of enchilada sauce. You want the tortillas full but not so full that you can’t roll them all the way closed, so the exact amount of filling will depend on the size of your tortillas. Tuck the enchiladas into the casserole dish and repeat until all your tortillas are stuffed.
  • Spread remaining enchilada sauce on top of enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. I served mine with crookneck squash and grey Mexican squash sauteed quickly in butter. Serve with extra plain yogurt in place of sour cream, hot sauce, and slivers of avocado, if desired.

 

Leek and Bacon Breakfast Pie

This is another adaptation of one of Against All Grain’s absolutely amazing inventions. I’ve made this a few times and each time made a couple of tiny revisions, not because the original isn’t fabulous, but just to work better with the equipment and ingredients I usually have on hand. I think we’ve finally nailed it. This is a savory, rich treat that I would be proud to serve to at any brunch, or that we will happily gobble up as breakfast for dinner after a rough day. Feel free to play with this recipe–use sausage instead of bacon, add more veggies to the topping, or change up the herbs in the crust.

One thing to note is that this dish is rich in fat and calories. Usually this is not too much of a concern for IBD patients, who tend to be underweight anyway. While I am not underweight, personally, I have lost a lot of weight since being diagnosed with Crohn’s. Some of this might be the effect of the disease, but I also think that my body is better able to appropriately digest and utilize fats and proteins than complex carbohydrates. My husband and I both lost quite a bit of weight while on the Paleo diet, which is also a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet not so different from SCD. I think there is more and more evidence supporting the idea that complex carbs, too much sugar, and highly processed foods are behind weight problems, and that dietary fat (especially from good plant-based sources) is not what makes us fat. More on this later.

In the meantime, make this breakfast pie immediately. Chris kept talking about Heaven the whole time he was eating this, and I take that as a pretty good sign.

Mix up your filling first.P1000518

Then prepare your crust. Throw all crust ingredients into the food processor.P1000520

This is what it will look like when the dough is ready.

P1000521

Press it into a cake pan. Pop it into the oven.P1000522

Now get o work on your toppings. Saute bacon until about halfway cooked and then add shredded leeks. Your house will now smell like heaven. Try not to eat all the bacon and leeks now. You will need them for your pie!P1000523

Your crust should be ready for fillings now. Layer in the cheese and then the bacon and leeks. Pop it in the oven again until the cheese is all melty and delicious.P1000524P1000525

Crack eggs on top. Pop in the oven one last time.P1000526

Devour!P1000527

Leek and Bacon Breakfast Pie Ingredients (serves 4-5 as main dish; more as side)

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold goat or cow milk butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cold water or bone broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg

Filling Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain strained yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used a mixture of fontina and swiss because that’s what I had on hand), shredded
  • 1 leek, cleaned, trimmed of dark green leaves, and shredded
  • 7 slices bacon, diced (to be completely SCD legal, make sure it doesn’t have any sugar or other ingredients in it!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 6 eggs

Method

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add all crust ingredients to food processor with dough blade and process until a ball forms. Press into a 9-inch cake pan (the dough might not reach all the way up the sides, and this is ok).
  • Place the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Mix yogurt, shredded cheese, salt and pepper, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Brown bacon in a pan until halfway cooked; add leeks and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until bacon is cooked but not yet crispy and leeks are softened.
  • Remove crust from oven. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the cheese mixture first, then layer the bacon and leeks on top. Return the pie to the oven for 10 more minutes.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and crack eggs on top. Bake for 15 more minutes, or until the egg yolks are cooked to your liking, and let set for 5 minutes before serving. We like to eat this with a few slivers of fresh avocado. It would also be lovely with fruit and a simple green salad with vinaigrette or roasted tomatoes.

Lemon Shrimp with Tzatziki

This recipe is inspired by Against All Grain’s Lamb Gyro with Tzatziki. I have tried her recipe as is, and make no mistake, it is good. My husband declared it one of his all-time favorite meals (SCD or not!).

But I had a dilemma when I went to the grocery store recently and they were out of lamb. We have been trying to incorporate more seafood, anyway, so I decided to slightly alter the recipe to make it work for us.

Shrimp are a wonderful source of the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrient astaxanthin. This nutrient suppresses inflammatory messages like tumor necrosis factor alpha, which is actually similar to the way common IBD medications like Humira reduce inflammation in the body. Shrimp are also very high in B vitamins, which patients with IBD sometimes have to receive by injection because of chronic deficiencies, along with selenium and protein. They are a good source of iron, zinc, and several other minerals as well.

And let’s not forget that they are delicious and super fast to prepare!

First prepare your marinade by mixing all these ingredients in a large bowl.P1000442

Throw in the raw shrimpies, toss well, and put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to marinate. P1000446

While they are marinating, prepare your tzatziki.P1000443

Combine in a bowl.P1000444

Mix well. I forgot the garlic at first. DON’T FORGET THE GARLIC!P1000445

Once the shrimp have marinaded for awhile and the tzatziki is ready, heat up a large pan until very hot and dump shrimp, along with marinade, into pan. They will cook very quickly so don’t step away.P1000450

Cook, stirring regularly, until the shrimp are pink and curled and the liquid has reduced.P1000451

Serve with veggies of choice (pictured here with my Mediterranean Roasted Veggies) and a generous serving of tzatziki. I tried to make it look pretty for the picture but in reality we mixed it all up and inhaled. This would also be very good on salad greens if you tolerate raw vegetables well.P1000452

Shrimp Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 pound raw, cleaned shrimp, 40-60 or larger
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt free Italian seasoning (or equivalent of basil, oregano, and fennel)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Method

  • Combine all ingredients except the shrimp in a bowl and stir to mix.
  • Toss the shrimp in the bowl until evenly coated and let marinade in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat a skillet until it is very hot. Pour entire contents of bowl into the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are pink and curled with no translucent spots in the middle and the liquid is somewhat reduced.

Tzatziki Ingredients

  • 1 cup strained plain yogurt
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder (or 1 tablespoon grated fresh onion)

Method

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Best if prepared at least 30 minutes ahead of serving so that flavors can meld.

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.

(ALMOST) SCD Legal Meatloaf

I recently saw a post about foods that people from outside the U.S. hate, and meatloaf was one of them. I was surprised—meatballs seem to be an almost universal food, and meatloaf is like a gigantic meatball! While it may offend the refined palates of my international friends, my husband and I happen to both love meatloaf. It’s inexpensive, easy to prepare (although it needs time to bake), and this version is full of healthy veggies. While some people with IBD find red meat hard to digest, it’s important to try to incorporate it occasionally because anemia, or iron deficiency, is also often a problem in this population, and red meat is one of the best natural sources of iron. Without further ado, here is a very basic but pleasing meatloaf recipe:

Here is all the stuff you’ll need for the meatloaf itself:

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Put it in a bowl and mix it all together. Get your hands in there!

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Now press it into your pan. Mmmmmmmm raw beef….

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Next, let’s get the topping ready. Nothing fancy here. Just plop it in a bowl and mix.

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And smear it on your loaf.  Mmmm, smeared raw beef…

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Ok, now put it in your preheated oven until your oven thermometer reads 160 (mine reads 180 in this picture…whoops…it was still juicy!)

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I served my meatloaf with a creamy carrot puree as a side (I’ll post that recipe soon, too!). Buen provecho!

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Meatloaf Ingredients (4-5 generous servings)

  • 1 pound ground beef (grassfed is always better)
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped (I used red because that’s what I had on hand, but green is more traditional)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning*
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Topping Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra concentrated tomato paste*
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix it all around, but be careful not to over mix because the heat from your hands will melt the fat in the meat and cause it to turn out denser.
  • Press the meat mixture into a loaf pan.
  • Mix together all the topping ingredients in a separate bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. Add a little more honey if you like your topping sweeter, or a bit more mustard or vinegar if it’s too sweet.
  • Spoon the topping mixture onto the meat and spread in an even layer.
  • Bake for about 1.5 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. You may want to start checking after about an hour, since the amount of time this takes to cook will vary based on the type of pan you are using, its dimensions, your oven calibration, and so on. I recommend placing the meatloaf on the top rack and a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven underneath your meatloaf to avoid a mess if your loaf pan is very full like mine is.
  • Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. You may notice that this meatloaf is swimming in a lot of juices and does not hold together quite as well as traditional meatloaf. This is normal; it occurs because there are no grains in the mixture to bind the ingredients and absorb moisture, but the flavor is still very pleasing. Just remove slices very gently using a spatula, and you can drain off excess liquid once the first slice or two are out. It is possible that using coconut flour instead of almond flour would yield a drier loaf because coconut flour is more absorbent; I may try this in the future and report back—if you try it, please let me know how it turns out!

*Please note: No canned vegetables are SCD legal. I used them anyway because that’s what I had on hand, and, as I’ve mentioned previously, my goal is to adhere as closely to the SCD as possible without it dominating my life. So, I used canned tomatoes. Here are my recommendations to make the recipe 100% SCD legal: Chop about 4 large tomatoes into large dice. Toss with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and about a teaspoon of Italian seasonings. Roast at 375 until very soft. Process the tomatoes in a food processor until they are just slightly broken down. Substitute this for the canned diced tomatoes. For the tomato paste, simmer plain tomato juice on the stove until it is very reduced and season to taste with salt, then add the honey, mustard, and vinegar; or, substitute SCD legal ketchup and cut back on the honey and vinegar.