Grain-Free Artichoke Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffing

My mother-in-law makes a fantastic sourdough bread stuffing with onions, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s something I always looked forward to at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and to be honest, if she were making it I’d still totally eat it up. Sourdough bread is one kind of bread that has never caused me digestive discomfort after “going Primal.” (It still has the high-carb effect of being hungrier, sleepy, etc, but that’s much more tolerable when splurging than bloating, gas, and pain.)

But buying sourdough in my house is VERY rare, and I wanted to see if I could Primal-ize the stuffing recipe so that I wouldn’t have to feel like it was a splurge or compromise at all. And I did.

It was really, really good. It’s gone now, which makes me sad, but now that I know it works and is awesome, I’m totally going to make it for Christmas.

To start with, you’ll need about half of this grain-free bread recipe, or enough to make about 4 cups of croutons. Cut the bread into cubes about 1”, then put in a 250 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until it dries out and gets a little toasty.

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Meanwhile, dice 2 onions and start sautéing them in about 1/4 cup olive oil.

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Peel and mince 2 garlic cloves.

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And about 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes (the ones in oil in a jar, not the dry crunchy ones in a baggie).

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Also cut up 2 cans or jars of artichoke hearts (in water, not marinated) and add them to the onions once they’re translucent.

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Add the garlic and tomatoes. Heat everything through.

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Now dump the mixture into a 9 x 13” baking dish, along with the croutons. Add about 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, and sprinkle salt and basil to your preference.

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Whisk together 2 eggs and 1 cup of chicken stock.

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And pour it over the bread mixture, then stir to combine.

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Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes,

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then uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.

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Oh my…

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I had to dig in right away. And it made my day!

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To recap…

Grain-Free Artichoke Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of croutons (1” cubes made from this grain-free bread in an oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-30 minutes.)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut-up
  • 2 cans or jars of artichoke hearts (in water)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 eggs
  • salt
  • basil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Saute the onions in the olive oil.
  3. Meanwhile, mince garlic and cut up tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
  4. When onions are translucent, add tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Heat through.
  5. Pour mixture over croutons in a 9×13” baking dish.
  6. Add cheese, salt, and basil. Mix.
  7. Whisk together stock and eggs. Pour over bread mixture and combine.
  8. Bake 30 minutes, covered.
  9. Uncover, and bake 10 minutes longer.

Grain-Free Granola Bars

One of the all-time most popular posts on this blog is the Homemade Granola Bar Recipe. But for over a year now, I’ve been avoiding grains in favor of more nutrient-dense foods. An oat-filled granola bar isn’t going to do me any favors now that I’m grain-free.

Enter: The grain-free granola bar. I took my original recipe and changed it up to reflect my current diet — less sugar, more nuts, no grains. Here you go! (And don’t worry — I’m putting the whole recipe at the bottom, in case you just want to print the recipe.)

Start with 2.5 cups of assorted nuts and seeds. I used what I had — pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), almonds, walnuts, and pecans.

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Scoop out 1 cup of the nuts, and give them a rough chop.

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Dump the other 1.5 cups of nuts into your food processor, and pulse until they’re chopped much, much smaller. Be careful not to pulse too much or you might end up with nut butter! We’re just aiming for a variety of sizes of nut pieces. The smaller bits help make the bars more dense and help them stick together better.

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Stir to combine with the larger chunks of nuts and seeds.

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Add 1 cup of dried fruit. Again, I’m just using what I had — only raisins. You can use dried cranberries, cherries, dates, pineapple, or any combination of your favorites.

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Add 2 cups of shredded coconut. This is NOT the sticky sweet coconut you can buy in most grocery store baking aisles. This is only shredded and dried — pure coconut. I’ll be doing another post on this soon, so look out for that!

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In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup honey, a splash of vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Then some more cinnamon. Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until it starts to bubble like this. Then remove the pot from the burner.

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Pour your honey mixture over your fruit and nuts, and stir to coat it all. At this stage it reminds me of wet playground sand.

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Dump your fruit and nuts into a parchment-paper-lined baking dish (This one is 9×13”). Mine has curved edges, which I’ll talk about later… if you have one with straight edges, like a bar pan, that might be better. Next time I’ll be using my bar pan for sure.

I’ve also thought about using mini-muffin tins to make granola bar “bites” instead of bars.

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With another sheet of parchment (just so you don’t get your hands sticky), press FIRMLY all over the granola. A lot. You really need to pack the ingredients tightly so that your bars will stick together. When you think you’ve pressed enough, keep pressing.

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When you’re finally done squishing everything, it’ll look something like this. Now you have to wait. Wait at least 2-3 hours for it to cool at room temperature, or if you’re more impatient, you could put it in the fridge or freezer. (I froze mine while we ate dinner.)

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When it’s cool, lift the whole shebang out of the pan and put it on a large cutting board. See what happened here because of the curved edges of my pan? My bar is thinner on the edges than in the middle… this makes the edges crumble when I cut them. Not a huge deal, but I’d prefer if that didn’t happen… so next time I’ll either try my bar pan or muffin tins.

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Cut the whole thing lengthwise with a sharp knife. I find that pressing straight down with the knife works better than sawing or rocking with the knife. It gives less trauma to the granola, so the bars can stay intact!

After you cut it lengthwise, cut each rectangle horizontally into as many bars as you’d like.

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And here they are! Packed full of coconut, nuts, and raisins. Nicely sweet (but not super-sweet like the other recipe), satisfying, chewy… so delicious!

Note: If you want your bars to be crunchier, cook your honey mixture a bit longer before mixing it into your fruit and nuts.

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Grain-Free Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Granola Bar Recipe

You will need:

  • 2.5 cups assorted nuts and seeds
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • some more cinnamon

Roughly chop 1 cup of the nuts and seeds. Place in a bowl.

Use your food processor to pulse the other 1.5 cups of nuts and seeds into a finer “chop.” Add to the bowl.

Add your fruit.

Stir in the dried coconut.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Cook until the mixture bubbles, then pour over the fruit/nut mixture.

Stir to combine completely.

Press your mixture into a parchment-lined pan of some sort. Press HARD.

Cool 2-3 hours, then remove from the pan and cut into bars.

bars

How to Make Hollandaise Sauce

One of the best things in the world is hollandaise sauce. I’m not even kidding. On asparagus, for dipping artichoke leaves, over eggs benedict, or as a sauce for fish (or chicken, or veggies, or whatever). You will lick the plate. Unless there’s company over… in which case you’ll lick the plate in the kitchen as you “do the dishes.” If you’re my husband.

And for such a creamy, tangy, impressive sauce, it’s sure easy to make. But you’d never know it unless someone like me unlocked “the secret” for you. (Or if you’re me, someone like my little sister.) That’s because the people who make it tend to say things like, “Well, it’s really tricky, so…” or, “You have to be so careful because if you blink you’ll get lumps in the sauce.” But they’re lying to you to keep you down.

I promise. It’s easy. Don’t get me started on the “packets” though… that stuff is nasty and gross and gets lumpy if you blink. That is the truth. Real hollandaise is easy and delicious and worth the 2 minutes it takes to make (after your water is simmering).

Is that a long enough intro for something with three ingredients? Thought so.

You’ll need:

  • 3ish tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a double boiler or a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water
  • a whisk
  • a bowl (not the same one that’s over your pot)

Start with your butter in your double boiler.
How to make hollandaise sauce

Add lemon juice.

How to make hollandaise sauce

Melt.

How to make hollandaise sauce

Stir.

How to make hollandaise sauce

Now in another small bowl, you have your egg yolks.

How to make hollandaise sauce

When the butter is melted, you need to pour it very slowly into the egg yolks while whisking. You don’t want to just dump it in and then stir otherwise it WILL get lumpy. This isn’t hard to do, but you can’t do it and simultaneously take a picture. So this picture is of everything whisked together.

How to make hollandaise sauce

Now dump that into the double boiler again.

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And whisk for a couple minutes until the sauce thickens and gets glossy.

How to make hollandaise sauce

If it gets a little too thick before you take it off of the heat, you can add a tablespoon or two of the simmering water to the sauce and whisk it in to thin it, or add some more lemon juice.

There you go! Watch for a simple meal idea that uses hollandaise sauce here on Joyful Abode in the next couple days.

Or check out these hollandaise-inclusive meal ideas.

Turkey Burgers and Asparagus with Hollandaise

A Salmon and French Bread Version of Eggs Benedict

Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs, Pico de Gallo, and Hollandaise

Lobster, Mashed Potatoes, and Hollandaise

Spicy Bronzed Chicken – Rub Recipe

Here’s a chicken rub that will make any piece of bland blah meat into the star of your dinner (well, unless you pair it with asparagus with caramelized balsamic onions, but we’ll get to that another day). Every bite will be deliciously tasty, with a little kick.

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

This makes enough rub for 4 chicken breasts. In a small bowl, mix:

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

If you try this rub on fish, let me know… somehow I think it would be pretty tasty.

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Flatten your chicken breasts to about 1/2 inch thick.

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter for each breast. You can either rub the butter all over the chicken and then sprinkle with the seasonings, or you can be lazy like me and do this.

Place the chicken in a pan that’s been heated over a medium burner. Drizzle half the butter over the chicken, then sprinkle with half of the seasonings.

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Then flip the chicken over, and drizzle with the rest of the butter, then sprinkle with the rest of the seasonings. Leave them alone to cook on that side for 5-6 minutes.

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Then flip the chicken over and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Serve with some sort of delicious veggie, with parsley sprinkled over top.

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Yum.

Spicy Chicken Rub and Asparagus w/Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Homemade Pork Breakfast Sausage

This pork breakfast sausage is delicious, easy to make in a huge batch (and freeze some for later), full of protein and flavor, and has helped me start several mornings off on the right foot so far.

You will need:

  • Optional: 1/2 onion
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or real maple syrup
  • Ground cloves
  • Thyme

homemade pork breakfast sausage

If you’re going to be using onion in your sausage, you’ll want to chop it into little pieces… probably smaller than I did.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Throw the onion in a pan over medium-high heat with some oil of your choice. I used bacon grease, because… just yum. You’ll need to check on the onions and stir them every couple of minutes while you prepare the pork.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

You can mix the meat up with your hands, but I don’t like touching raw meat in general, so I use my mixer with the paddle attachment. Put 2 pounds of ground pork in the bowl along with the sage…

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…salt…

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…ground black pepper…

homemade pork breakfast sausage

…and brown sugar or real maple syrup. Keep in mind this one tablespoon is distributed over 2 pounds of meat. It’s not really sweet sausage.

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Then, sprinkle in some ground cloves, maybe 1/4 teaspoon.

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Then, add some thyme. Maybe 1/2 teaspoon but if you’re a fan you can add more. It’s your sausage.

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Whirrrrrr… mix it up. If you’re using your hands, that’s fine but they’ll get ukky.

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By now the onions should be deliciously caramelized. Scoop them up.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

And throw them in the meat, then mix to combine.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Now lay out a big piece of waxed paper if you’d like to make the balls all at once, or you can just throw chunks of it at your frying pan. I recommend the little ball-making approach. Just scoop some meat up with a tablespoon, then scrape it into another tablespoon, and repeat until the meat is vaguely football-shaped.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Then place it on the waxed paper. Of course, if you want, you could use a cookie scoop, your hands, or whatever implements you favor.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

When you’re ready to start cooking, place the little footballs in your pan and flatten slightly. Cook on medium-high heat about 5 minutes on each side, or until the meat is totally cooked through. We don’t want to mess with undercooked pork.

homemade pork breakfast sausage

Paper towels will soak up the extra grease on the outsides of the sausage, but who are you kidding?You’re eating ground pork.

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I put a bunch of these in a tupperware in the fridge, and pulled out a few at a time for my breakfasts. I just warm them up (usually 3 pieces) for about 2 minutes and they’re good to go. Add some fruit and cottage cheese or an egg, and yum!

In case you’re wondering, this recipe makes about 30 small patties. The nutritional information (per patty) is as follows.

  • Calories: 92.8
  • Total Fat: 6.3 g
  • Total Carbs: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 7.8 g

How to Steam Broccoli in the Microwave

Honestly, I don’t understand when people say, “I don’t like vegetables.”

Like vegetables are a whole group of unappealing foods or something… and they’re all the same.

But in my opinion vegetables are some of the best things EVER. Especially when they come from your own garden or from a local farmer. They are so fresh and delicious, flavorful and crisp!

Oh wait… flavorful and crisp. Maybe THAT’s why people “don’t like vegetables.” They have only had improperly cooked veggies and/or canned ones — bland and mushy. If you can’t get fresh veggies, frozen is the next best thing. And if you overcook your vegetables, you may as well be eating wet sponges. Gross!

So the lesson here is cook your vegetables properly! Steamed broccoli, for example, should NOT be squishy. You should be able to bite it with your teeth and have it actually break, not rip and leave strings behind. My dad’s rule, which works quiet well, is that when you begin to be able to smell the vegetable it’s done cooking.

So here we go!

Step 1: Cut the florets off of the stem.  They don’t have to be the same size as each other, but they should be small enough to be a comfortable bite. No one wants to have to cut their broccoli once it’s on their plate.

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Step 2: Rinse the broccoli, just in case there’s anything you don’t want to eat on it. Don’t worry about trying to get all of the water out; you need a bit of water for the broccoli to steam!

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Step 3: Place broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl or casserole dish, and cover. This dish has a lid which is convenient, but you can use saran wrap or something. If you’re afraid there isn’t enough water on the broccoli, you can add a couple tablespoons of water to the container.

steaming broccoli

Step 4: Microwave UNTIL YOU CAN SMELL THE BROCCOLI. This usually takes about 6 minutes in modern microwaves. Since I got my microwave off Craigslist 2 years ago, and it’s probably about 8 years old, mine takes 8-10 minutes to cook.

See how it’s just a bit darker green and a bit less opaque? That’s perfect. It’s still structured, crispy, and flavorful.

steaming broccoli

One of my favorite toppings for hot steamed broccoli is lemon pepper. Of course, it’s fantastic on its own, too.

Are you a fan of vegetables in general? Which is your favorite, and what is your favorite way to cook it?

Steamed broccoli is high on the list for me, but blanched or roasted asparagus is up there too. I also love cauliflower, raw carrots, raw red/yellow/orange bell peppers, zucchini… man, I’m just a fan of vegetables in general.

How to Cut a Bell Pepper the Easy Way

I used to cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, rip out the seeds and the stem, rinse the loose seeds off in the sink, then cut it up… That’s simple enough, but honestly, this way is even nicer because you don’t have to deal with the seeds at all. I think after cutting 3 bell peppers up, only one little seed had made its way to my cutting board. Very nice!

How to cut a bell pepper

First, slice off the top… just a thin little sliver.

How to cut a bell pepper

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How to make Flaky Pastry Pie Crust – Step by Step with Photos

I’ve posted a few times about things cooked in pie crusts: Tomato pie, Tomato Pie Again, and Zucchini Quiche.

And I promise there will be more.

So I figured it was about time to make a pie crust tutorial. I think if my mother-in-law hadn’t shown me how it’s done, I wouldn’t be so good at it! It’s not that it’s a hard recipe or anything (it’s super-easy) but if you’ve never seen each stage of the crust’s being, you might think something is going wrong and end up adding too much water, kneading (don’t knead!), or other crust-destroying things.

How to make a pie crust and grape pie

So let’s start, shall we?

Recipe for a double crust for an 8-9″ pie

Find your flour, a medium bowl, a sifter, and a measuring cup.

How to make a pie crust and grape pie

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