Paleo Recipes for Modern Day Cavemen

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ground Beef

Happy New Year Cavemen Gourmet fans! Hope you all enjoyed the holiday season – it always goes by too fast doesn’t it?!  This year my resolution is to cook (and post) more.

Last week, I made acorn squash for the first time and my husband and I are now big fans. They are easy to cook and sweet (but not too sweet like sweet potatoes or butternut squash can be at times) and have such a nice flavor you wonder if they are paleo! The great thing is they have a decent amount of protein per serving as well as Vitamin B6, C and E!  I’ll definitely be using this more as a potato/starch replacement.  Who doesn’t like sweet goodness? Speaking of awesome goodness, I may be in a Chris Cornell phase

Ingredients
Serves 4-5

3 acorn squash, medium sized
1lb ground beef
1 large sweet onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper

Directions
Cut your squash in half and take out the seeds. Then place on a roasting pan and bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes or until tender.

While the squash is baking – saute the onions and ground beef on medium heat with the other dry ingredients until browned.  Once the squash is ready, stuff the squash with the beef filling and bake for another 15 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

This is a simple recipe and can be made even more simple if you want to cut out the baking time. You can microwave the squash (roughly 10-15 minutes ). The difference is baking will allow the squash to carmelize but if you don’t mind the slightly dryer taste of squash in the microwave – go for it!  The next time I do this dish, I may add sliced mushrooms and/or tomatoes. I’m starting to drool thinking about the options…

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Shisito Peppers

I have loved shisito peppers for the longest time but never thought to post them as a ‘recipe’ until I started seeing them on some New York restaurant menus. One thing I love about New York dining is the food trends. You know – the “IT” dish that spring up on every menu when a new hot spot opens up. There was the miso cod, then the lobster mac and cheese, then the oxtail and bone marrow dishes a couple of years ago.  Heck, even the occasional vegetable made the list like ramps when the ‘farm to table’ restaurants couldn’t get enough of the stuff!  Generally, I only saw shisito peppers on the menu of Japanese restaurants. Now – they’re white hot and I’ve seen them on dozens of menus in a variety of cuisines.

They are without a doubt the easiest things to make. The only hard part is finding them in your local grocer because they’re somewhat hard to find. The peppers are great for an appetizer or the after school/work snack but just be careful to give them to kids. Typically, they are as mild as bell peppers but every once in awhile you get a spicy one that may not be good for children if they aren’t used to it!
Ingredients
Serves  1-2

20 shisito peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt

Directions
In a frying pan, heat to high and add olive oil.  Toss in shisito peppers and mix in the pan until they are blistered, about 5 minutes. (I personally like my shisito peppers soft but feel free to sauté for less time if you want it a little bit crunchier).

After the peppers have cooked, remove from the pan and transfer to a  plate. Sprinkle kosher salt.

Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Nuts with Sea Salt

Happy Halloween to my favorite cavemen!  Recently, my husband was craving something sweet and specifically – chocolate.  I didn’t have much time (or ingredients) but whipped up this really tasty paleo candy to satisfy his cravings.  It’s one of the most simple recipes ever! I’ll probably make a better batch and be more creative this winter once the weather gets worse, but this was a fun experiment that turned out really well.  I wouldn’t necessarily give this to the neighborhood kids on Halloween night, but it’s good for the primal trick or treaters!

Ingredients
3.5 oz Unsweetened Dark Chocolate
1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup honey
Course Sea Salt
5oz Nuts of your choice

Directions
In a small sauce pan, heat the orange juice on medium heat. As it starts to simmer, reduce heat to low and add the chocolate. It should take a few minutes for the chocolate to completely melt, but once it has, slowly pour in the honey while stirring the melted chocolate.

Once the honey, chocolate and orange juice are mixed thoroughly, give it a taste. (My husband has been paleo for a year and a half so I knew this combination would be good for him because he hasn’t had sweet things outside of fruit in a really long time! For others, it may still be too bitter and you can add more honey or orange juice here.)  Now the fun part!

Take the nuts of your choice (I used pecans and cashews because that’s all we had at home but next time will add macadamia nuts and almonds) and drop them in the chocolate.  Mix the nuts around until they are fully coated and then scoop each one out with a fork and place on parchment paper.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on each nut – trust me it’s worth it. The salt is the best thing about this recipe and adds a surprising and savory aspect to make it feel like you’re eating real (paleo) candy!

Put in the refrigerator and let cool. Once the chocolate has hardened a bit in the refrigerator – gobble them up! Hope you enjoy this treat for Halloween.

 

 

 

Cucumber, Turkey and Avocado Roll

Greetings from London! I have been traveling a bit and am reminded daily of how hard it is to eat well while on the road. This easy recipe is a great snack for any roadtrips or flights (especially with those dreadful airline meals!).  As simple as this recipe is, you’ll love the amazing combination of texture and taste!

Ingredients
Serves 2
2 cucumbers
8oz sliced turkey breast
2 ripe avocado

Directions
First, peel your cucumbers. I like a tiny bit of skin on mine for the added texture but you can do however you prefer. Then cut your cucumber in half (not lengthwise!).  Next, with a sharp paring knife, make an initial indentation lengthwise and start cutting the core of the cucumber out, creating a hollow log shape out of the cucumber.

Next, core and slice your avocado in quarters.  Once that is done – simple layer the turkey in the cucumber and place the avocado in the turkey. Voila! You have yourself a fresh, paleo snack that’s refreshing and delicious! Feel free to add some basil or other herbs to add more flavors. I keep this simple because my husband loves the basic saltiness of the turkey next to the crunchy cucumber and the creamy avocado.

Cheerio!

Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad

My favorite culinary curmudgeon, Anthony Bourdain, doesn’t call roasted bone marrow “Butter of the Gods” for nothing. It is one of my absolute favorite dishes and incredibly simple to make at home (and much cheaper than getting at a restaurant!).  Bone marrow is rich in fat and protein and has a soft and gelatinous texture.  I wouldn’t recommend eating it morning, noon and night, given it’s fat content but I think it’s great on occasion – especially since most of the fat in marrow is monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats).  When you take your first warm and buttery bite, it’s a slice of heaven. Just like this acoustic version of My Hero from Dave Grohl. Is there anything more awesome? Very hard to beat…

Ingredients
Makes 2-3 servings
6 three-inch pieces of marrow (approximately 3-4 pounds)
1 bunch parsley leaves
6 oz cipolline onions
6 oz cherries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
course sea salt
pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line your baking pan with aluminum foil because the marrow and fat will leak out during the roast! Place the bones standing upright. Add the onions as well since they’ll be sweet like candy when they’re roasted. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes. (That’s right – you don’t have to add/season/do anything to the bones!)

While the bones and onions are roasting, mix the parsley leaves with chopped cherries. (I know that Anthony Bourdain’s favorite meal includes parsley salad with capers but I didn’t have any when I was making this so I included cherries to add some tartness. It worked great but feel free to add capers instead.) Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and course sea salt and pepper to the salad.

After 20 minutes, your marrow should look softened and loose (shouldn’t be liquified or you’ve gone too long). Take the bones out and set up standing on a plate. Take your onions and chop up 3oz and add to your salad and mix. Set the remaining 3oz on your plate. 

These are a bit challenging to eat if you don’t have the right utensils so make sure you have a slender spoon (or chopsticks!) so you can scrape the buttery goodness out. Enjoy!

Lamb and Vegetable Kabobs

I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ll get better – it’s been hard when the Summer has been so consuming in a good way. Who doesn’t want to be outside with the sunshine and playing all of the time? One thing that I love doing in the summer time is grilling. Nothing beats natural meats and veggies with some good ol’ sunshine.  Ok fine, maybe some Rock and Roll playing in the background. (Warning to CG fans: I might be in my John Bonham phase right now…) 

Ingredients
Makes 5-6 servings
1 1/2 pounds of lamb cubes
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 large red peppers, cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered

Directions
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, onion powder, thyme, paprika and garlic in a baking dish. Add the lamb cubes, cover and refrigerate overnight.

If you’re using wooden skewers – soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. This will prevent them from burning on the grill.  Drain your marinade from the lamb and start building your kabobs. Try peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggplant – whatever you want!  We chose onions and red peppers for this grilling session.

Once your grill is ready, place skewers on grill (or you can do in grill pan). I like my lamb medium rare so this would be just 4-5 minutes on high heat (about 125 degrees for medium rare, 130 degrees for medium, etc).  Once the lamb is cooked to the level you desire, sprinkle the fresh chopped parsley on top.

That’s it! Serve and Enjoy!

Pear Coconut Cobbler with Walnuts

This dish is very simple to make but great for that sweet tooth fix that my husband craves. Feel free to add raisins or apples or anything else to it. Most likely I’ll make several versions of this to see what works best but for now – I’ll keep it simple!

Ingredients
Makes 3-4 servings
3 pears, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix your sliced pears, coconut flour, shredded coconut, cinnamon and almond extract together. Then, in a separate small bowl, mix the honey and chopped walnuts together. 

In a medium sized baking dish, spray the bottom of the dish with your favorite cooking spray (sometimes I brush with a bit of walnut oil instead).  Add the pears to the dish and sprinkle the walnut honey mixture on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  You can serve hot or cold! Enjoy!

Mango Kiwi Fruit Salad

Happy One Year Anniversary to Cavemen Gourmet! Thank you for all of the support and positive comments. Hopefully I can make more time this year to post more delicious paleo recipes!

I recently came back from London on a work trip and was inspired to make this dish. After a heavy meal I had at a work dinner, I decided to get something light for dessert and opted for a mango kiwi tart. I was amazed that it was just a bowl of the fruits mixed up and surprised that the simplicity of the two could be so delicious.  Although it’s technically just fruit salad, this dish is an amazing combination of flavors and textures.  You can easily make this dish by sloppily chopping up kiwi and mango in 2 seconds. But something about dicing it ever so finely into tiny squares and the combination of sweet and sour makes this a perfect dessert ‘pudding’. The marriage of kiwi and mango flavors is surprisingly balanced and also provides a pudding-like texture after you mix the two thoroughly. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

Ingredients
Makes 3-4 servings
6 kiwis
2 mangoes

Directions
Peel both fruit with a sharp paring knife.  Cut each fruit into small cubes (think the size of tomatoes in salsa). Mix thoroughly and put in refrigerator before serving. Best served chilled….enjoy the taste of summer!

Note: this is also delicious if you add some coconut flakes or chips.  Reminds me of a tropical vacation!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I loved stuffed bell peppers. It’s one of my favorite dishes and my mother in law made some a couple of weeks ago which gave me an idea of making a paleo version.  I modified her recipe by taking out the rice and it ended up being terrific.   My husband raved about it and said it was one of the best things to come out of our kitchen.  But I should caveat that with the fact that he says that with a lot of my dishes, so much so that he is starting to remind me of Ina Garten’s husband, Jeff, who takes a bite from one of Ina’s dishes at the end of a Barefoot Contessa show and always acts like he just took a bite out of heaven.  But I’ll take a thumbs up any day.

Ingredients
Makes 4-6 servings
5 bell peppers of your choice (I love all but green)
1lb ground beef
1 large sweet onion, diced
8oz sliced and diced mushrooms
3 medium tomatoes, diced
3oz tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Sriracha (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the top of each bell pepper about one inch from the top and remove seeds in the center.  Add the bell peppers in a boiling pot of water for 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large pan on medium heat, saute your chopped onions and mushrooms for roughly 5 minutes until browned.  Add ground beef and stir until lightly browned, not fully cooked.  Reduce heat to low and then add the minced garlic, tomato paste and diced tomatoes and stir thoroughly.

In a medium sized baking dish, line up your peppers so they are standing upright. Fill in your bell peppers with the meat and vegetable mixture.  Add 1/3 cup of water to the bottom of your baking dish.  Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes (or even longer depending on how tender you like your bell peppers).  You can serve immediately (but these are my favorite as leftovers). Enjoy!

Banana Nut Mini Muffins

The other day I was making my paleo blueberry muffins as a dessert for my husband. I didn’t bother looking at my recipe and just decided to wing it and bake from memory. Bad idea bears.  I ended up accidentally using 1 tablespoon of salt versus the teaspoon that the recipe required. Suffice today I made salt muffins with a side of blueberries.  But the good news was I quickly made another batch of muffins so I didn’t feel like a huge culinary disaster.  This recipe uses no salt because of the self-induced trauma I went through…

Ingredients
Makes 24 mini muffins
1/2 cup coconut flour
6 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2/3 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
2 bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together with  a whisk – do not add the bananas until you have a smooth batter. Once your mixture is creamy smooth without any lumps, add in your diced bananas and slowly mix.

Pour the batter into muffin tins (I only have mini-muffin pans but use whatever you want!). Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  My husband liked this better than the banana nut bread I made awhile back. I think it’s because of the bite size nature of these mini muffins. Great for a light snack between meals or a dessert.  Enjoy!

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