Monday, April 4, 2011

Steak Fajitas with Homemade Guacamole

Fajitas are such a quick and easy dinner and a great way to get in a lot of veggies.

I wanted to make a homemade Paleo friendly marinade for the steak because the majority of store-bought fajita seasonings have modified food starch which is just another name for gluten.

I borrowed this recipe from the Paleo Girls.  Has a lot of good flavor and makes me happy knowing that I'm not feeding my family processed garbage.

Ingredients for fajitas:

  • 1 lb steak (You can buy the already prepped fajita meat.  Will make it much easier.  If you want to buy the meat whole, the typical fajita meat is flank or skirt, or you could use a thin sirloin.)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (fresh, always use fresh)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • dash hot sauce
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients, minus the steak, in a large ziploc and give it a good shake to mix.  Add the steak and marinate for an hour.  Do not over-marinate as the lemon juice can start to "cook" the meat.

Slice 2 bell peppers (any color you like, I prefer red, yellow and orange) and one medium yellow onion into thin strips.

Preheat a large skillet on medium-high heat with about two tablespoons of olive oil.

Add peppers and onions and cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove marinated steak and add to the same pan.  Discard excess marinade.

Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes more.

Your steak should be cooked throughout and veggies should be slightly soft.

Chicken and shrimp are also excellent protein options in this marinade.  Chicken should be marinated 30 minutes and shrimp about 15 minutes.

Chicken will need to be cooked about 3 minutes longer than steak.

Shrimp will only need to cook for 2 minutes so let your veggies cook for about 6 minutes before adding the shrimp.

Top with homemade guacamole!  This is a recipe from The Food Network's Alton Brown.

Ingredients for homemade guacamole:

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled (save the pit)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, fine dice
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (If you want to make it extra tasty, buy fresh garlic and grate a clove over a microplaner.  This will give you a strong punch of flavor throughout.)
In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat.

Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.

Using a potato masher (or fork) add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash.  Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.

Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice.

Once your avocado mixture is done add the pit to the bowl.  This will keep your guacamole from turning brown.  I have no idea how it works, but trust me, it does!

Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve with fajitas.

This recipe gives you lean protein, veggies and good fat.  The trifecta!

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Now that the temperatures are starting to rise I love to utilize my grill.

To me this is a perfect Spring dish served up from Elana's Pantry. The flavors are clean and light without being too unassuming.

The rosemary also smells so wonderful while you're cooking!


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed (I used minced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Place cleaned chicken breasts in a gallon ziploc bag.

In a medium bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and salt.

Pour marinade over chicken breasts and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.  Don't over marinate as the lemon juice can start to "cook" the chicken.

Heat grill and cook chicken for 5-7 minutes per side until nicely browned and cooked throughout.

I served this with squash and zucchini that I roasted with olive oil, S&P and paprika.  I cut the vegetables into 1/2 inch thick discs and baked them at 400 for about 15 minutes.  You could also grill these two veggies.  They work fantastically as kabobs.

I baked a couple of sweet potatoes for us as well.  Wash the outside of the sweet potatoes, pat dry and rub with olive oil.  Place in foiled baking dish and bake for an hour at 500.

As a side note, I reserved the marinade and heated it in a saucepan.  I poured this over both the chicken and the veggies for a little added flavor.

This dish was a definite hit for The Hamiltons!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers

This recipe is very similar to my "Fried" Chicken that I posted not too long ago, with a few minor upgrades. I must say, the upgrades are fantastic!

I got this recipe from my best friend who is bound and determined to start cooking healthy for her and her husband. High cholesterol runs in his family and she wants to do everything in her power to make sure her cooking is beneficial to his health. So proud of her for making healthy eating changes!

With that being said, this recipe is super healthy and I only had to make a couple minor changes to make it Paleo. Not to mention I think this recipe tastes much better than traditional fried chicken fingers.


  • Olive or grapeseed oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (I was out of almond flour and used gluten-free breadcrumbs instead)
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
Preheat oven to 425.

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.  If you don't have a wire rack I suggest investing in one.  It will keep your chicken fingers from getting soggy.

Place almonds, flour, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor.  Process until the almonds are finely chopped and the paprika is mixed throughout, about 1 minute.  With the motor running, drizzle in the EVOO; process until combined.

In a bowl, whisk egg whites for about a minute to make them a little lighter.

Coat the chicken tenders in the egg wash first and then dredge them in the almond mixture.  Make sure all sides are evenly coated.

Place chicken tenders on the prepared rack and coat with cooking spray; turn and spray the other side.

Bake the chicken tenders about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

As a side note I bought chicken cutlets and halved them lengthwise to make "tenders".  I also doubled this recipe so we could both have lunch the next day as well!

I served this over a Strawberry Salad.  The only change I made was adding about half a teaspoon of dried thyme to the dressing.  Loved it!!

{Yes, that is a paper plate.  Winning.}

The meal was filling yet light at the same time.  Definitely going into the favorites pile for The Hamiltons!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Herbed Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

The recipe comes from The Healthy Irishman, Gavan Murphy. This is the second recipe of his that I've cooked and just like the first it was very tasty. Using fresh herbs gives the pork such a lovely aroma and flavor.

As far as degree of difficulty I would rate it somewhere in the middle. Not as easy as opening a can of tuna but not as hard boeuf bourguignon (never made it but it sounds tricky). If you have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen it will make this recipe a breeze. Hubby was my sous chef last night and ended up cooking the majority of the meal after I had a small run in with my chef's knife. Remember kids to always tuck your fingers under whenever you are chopping something with a large and very sharp knife. Let's just say this blog isn't the easiest to type today.

Injuries aside this recipe was really fun to make and would be a fantastic recipe for a dinner party because it looks beautiful and more complicated than it actually is.  This recipe serves 3 in our household so if cooking for a larger group use a 3 lb tenderloin and double the recipe.


  • 1 1/2 lb lean pork tenderloin
  • 1 red apple, small dice
  • 1 celery rib, small dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup sage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy (could not find apple brandy on short notice, used apricot brandy instead)
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • sea salt and pepper
  • olive oil
Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and preheat on medium for one minute.

Add apples and celery and saute stirring for one minute. Add a pinch of salt and garlic and saute an additional three minutes.

Once the apples and celery have softened very carefully add the apple brandy to the skillet. If you have a gas stove very slowly tilt your pan until the flame ignites the brandy. If you have an electric stove use a lighter to ignite the brandy. The alcohol will burn and the apples and celery will be infused with the flavor of the brandy.

{Flames should recede after 15 seconds or so}

Once the flames die down remove the mixture to a mixing bowl to let cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

Butterfly the pork loin. Do this by slicing the tenderloin down the middle. Do NOT cut in half. Cut it about 2/3 the way through and then open it like a book. Cover it with plastic wrap and give it a few hits with a mallet or a heavy saucepan to flatten it out just a little bit. We used a rolling pin.

Salt and pepper both sides of the pork loin.

Cut 5 to 6 ten inch pieces of cooking twine and lay them under the pork tenderloin about an inch apart.

Once apple mixture is cool add sage, parsley and lemon zest and mix thoroughly.

Heap the apple mixture onto the pork and distribute evenly.

Grab each end of your top string and tie it in a tight knot around the tenderloin folding it up like a book. Try to keep as much of the mixture in as possible, but don't be upset when some of it falls out as this will happen.

Next tie your bottom string. By tying the top and bottom strings first you will have better success at keeping your mixture from falling out. Continue to tie the rest of the strings.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on high in a skillet large enough to fit your tenderloin for about a minute. Sear all three sides of your tenderloin for one to two minutes or until golden brown. Do not try to sear the side with the opening, your mixture will fall out.

Remove pork tenderloin from pan and place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet, dish or roasting pan.

{Notice the lack of aluminum foil in my pan.  This was a poor choice.}

Add chicken stock or water to the bottom of the pan. Lean pork tenderloin can tend to dry out easily so by adding the stock or water you will ensure a much more tender and juicier result.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Internal temperature of the pork should be around 160. I like mine on the medium side so a temp of about 170 should be well done.  This tenderloin was about 175 and was more done than I would have liked, but still tasted fantastic.

Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving. This enables the juices to redistribute back into the meat. If you carve the pork immediately it will be dry and you will lose the majority of the juices.

{This is why you use aluminum foil.  That stuff is not easy to remove once baked into the pan.}

To carve simply remove the strings and cut every inch to two inches depending on how large you want your slices.

I served this over roasted asparagus and cauliflower because they were in my fridge and I needed to use them.

To do this I simply chopped up the veggies, coated them with a little bit of olive oil, s & p, and paprika and roasted them for 15 minutes at 400. I also broiled them for a couple of minutes at the end to get a nice brown color on top.

While everything tasted lovely together I feel the dish was a little too green and off-white and needed a bit more color. Next time I serve this I will use some more colorful veggie combinations like butternut squash and cauliflower, or carrots and pearl onions, or beets and artichokes. Whatever veggies you use I would suggest a simple roasting recipe like the one I used. The pork has a lot of flavors and you want to make sure that your veggies compliment yet don't distract from the star of the plate.

This recipe definitely goes in the list of favorites for The Hamiltons.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Fried" Chicken and Strawberry Salad

Last night, as I was trying to come up with something for dinner, I came across this recipe from The Healthy Irishman, Gavan Murphy. I was in the mood for salad and something kinda on the lighter side. I know what you're thinking...fried chicken is light?? Well when you get it from Zaxby's and drench it in their sauce made from baby's laughter and rainbows then no, it isn't light. This recipe however is baked instead of fried and the crust has such a nice light texture and flavor. I changed his recipe up just a little bit to suit my tastes. It is not 100% paleo but it is gluten, dairy and soy free and it's a breeze to make. As a side note, my sweet husband told me it was one of the best dishes I've ever cooked for him.

Ingredients for "Fried" Chicken:
4 chicken breasts
2 cups gluten-free breadcrumbs, I used Glutino brand from Whole Foods (unavailable at Publix)
3 egg whites, whisked for one minute to lighten
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
grapeseed oil spray

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine breadcrumbs, paprika, sea salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix well with a fork.

Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise.

Dip the chicken breasts in the eggs and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs until all sides are covered. With a clean hand make sure to pat the breadcrumbs into the chicken so they stick.

Place on baking sheet lined with tin foil.

Spray the breaded chicken breasts with grapeseed oil. You can also use olive oil spray, I just had grapeseed oil spray on hand.

Bake for 20 minutes. I baked mine last night for 25 to 30 and I feel they were a tad to dry. So check the internal temperature at 20 minutes and cook longer if needed. Internal temp should be 165.

Feel free to experiment with different spices for the breadcrumb crust. Add a little cayenne or red pepper flakes for some heat or some oregano and thyme for an Italian flair. I also just recently purchased Herbes de Provence and they have such a wonderful flavor and aroma I think they would be lovely in this dish. While the dish tasted fabulous with above ingredients, consider it a template and get creative.

Ingredients for Strawberry Salad:
Strawberries, washed and sliced
Mixed Greens
Walnuts, sauteed in a hot dry pan until golden brown

Mix ingredients in a large bowl and top with dressing.

Ingredients for Strawberry Salad Dressing:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar (if you don't have aged, regular will do just fine)
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 to 2 tsp agave nectar or honey (I used one teaspoon because I prefer tangy, but if you like sweeter add an extra teaspoon)
pinch or two of sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well mixed. You can also throw all of the ingredients into a cup with a lid and give it a good shake.

Another ingredient I LOVE to add to the balsamic vinaigrette is thyme. Add a teaspoon at a time to the above mixture until you are satisfied with the taste. Thyme has such a wonderful savory and slightly spicy flavor profile and gives the dressing an added punch of flavor.

For presentation purposes I heaped the salad mixture on a plate and then sliced my chicken breasts on a bias and placed on top of the greens. This also makes it convenient for whomever is eating it as they won't have to cut up their own chicken.  The camera on my phone isn't working so I didn't take a picture, but here are a couple of shots of Gavan's completed dish.

{As you can see, he used a variety of cuts of the chicken.  Always an option but I prefer white meat.}

{Images via Gavan Murphy}

I was very happy with the way the dish turned out and will definitely be getting some more inspiration from The Healthy Irishman.

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Deadlifts and Double Unders

I realized today that I have been so focused on Paleo that I have been neglecting the Crossfit aspect of my blog. So for those who are just interested in the Paleo recipes this may not interest you, but for those looking to gain a little knowledge read on.

Our WOD (Workout Of the Day) today at Iron Tribe Fitness goes as follows:


Max double unders in 2 minutes
Max hand-stand push ups in 2 minutes
Max double unders in 2 minutes

For those unfamiliar with Crossfit this probably makes no sense, but essentially what it means is that I am looking to find my 3 rep max in deadlifts. That is to say, I'm trying to find the heaviest possible weight that I can deadlift three times. This is not one of my favorite exercises because I feel I have a weak back so I try to learn as much as I can about this lift in order to help my technique and keep me safe while lifting. I found this article in the Crossfit Journal and wanted to share it with all my fellow Crossfitters. Hope this newfound knowledge helps you to improve your deadlift even if only a little. Because let's face it...every pound counts with Crossfit.

As for the bottom half of the WOD, I will have to perform as many double unders (jump rope passing under my feet twice with every jump) as possible in two minutes, then as many hand-stand push ups (probably self-explanatory) in two minutes and then back to double unders for the last two minutes.

The reason this portion of the WOD excites me more than it use to is because my sweet hubby bought me an Again Faster speed jump rope for Valentine's and it has greatly improved my double under technique. They're still very difficult but with every WOD that comes along featuring double unders I know my technique will improve. I cannot say enough about how having the right jump rope can make all the difference.

So if you're an Iron Triber reading this, then good luck with the Deadlifts and Double Unders! Let's set some new PRs!!!

Mustard and Lime Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of Elana's Pantry. She runs a gluten free website and is often a source I go to for yummy, healthy Paleo recipes. This dish has great flavor and is one of the hubby's favorite Paleo meals. It's also nice since the weather has been feeling a lot more like spring, so it's not too cold to fire up the grill. If you don't have a grill I'm sure this would taste yummy baked as well.

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp pepper

Combine lime juice, cilantro, mustard, olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender until well combined.

After cleaning your chicken breast pat them dry with a paper towel and place them in a ziplock bag.

Pour mustard and lime into the bag with the chicken and move around until well coated.

Marinate in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours. Do not over marinate as the lime juice can start to "cook" the chicken.

Remove chicken from bag and grill 5 to 7 minutes per side or until cooked through.

If you are like me you love sauces so I reserve the marinade and cook it in a small saucepan to add a little extra sauce once the chicken comes off the grill.  Make sure you heat the sauce well since it was hanging out with uncooked chicken.  The sauce is very tangy, however, so use just a little bit at a time.

As a side dish I usually serve sauteed peppers and a baked sweet potato.

For the peppers cut off the top and bottom and remove the insides, making sure to cut off the ribs.  If not removed they can make the pepper taste bitter.

Slice them up and saute over med-high heat with a little bit of olive oil.  Don't use too much olive oil or you won't get a nice brown on the peppers.

Saute for a few minutes.

They don't need any salt and pepper.  The peppers are yummy all on their own.

For the sweet potatoes, rinse and clean them then pat dry with a paper towel.

Rub them with a little bit of olive oil and place them in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil.

Bake at 500 for about an hour.

This is probably one of my favorite dishes I've done so far.  It's super easy and has a lot of great flavors.

Hope you enjoy!