Lemon Pepper Marinated Chicken Wings (Paleo/Gluten Free/Aip Options)

I brag a lot about my kiddos. Truly, I know I am biased but I have really been impressed with my oldest getting interested in cooking. She’s constantly asking to help and I’m always trying to find something for her to do. It may be because some of our favorite shows are Gordon Ramsay’s including Master Chef Junior. They even call the back yard our “garden.” Madison even comes up with some good ideas from time to time.

I ask the kids every week what they would like to eat. I believe this helps them feel like they’re included in the decision and they’re more likely to eat it. This week Madison said, “I want some chicken wings. Please!” A great idea was born and I even added it to my batch cooking for the week.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A pound of Chicken Wings (I used the drumette ones.)
  • The Juice of One Large Lemon
  • Olive Oil (Varies… Add enough to coat, but not drown.)
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (To Taste)

I would have to say my favorite recipes are the ones with the shortest ingredient lists. To marinate this ahead of time, add all of the ingredients into a ziplock or other container of choice. Let marinate for a few hours, overnight in the refrigerator, or freeze until needed. Make sure to defrost under refrigeration the night before if you do freeze them.

Remove the chicken from the bag and toss the left over marinade. There are two ways that you can cook this; under the broiler or on a grill. You choose! But I’m thinking the grill is always the best. You can stress relieve by hanging outside in the sunshine, with your loved ones, and cook at the same time. Just make sure they’re fully cooked in the middle. Remember, the smaller the wings, the less time they take. Cooking times will vary, but if working with your broiler do it in 5 minute intervals, and flip. Return it to the oven until done and desired color.

It’s really that simple. My favorite kind of recipe! I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe. No picture yet, but as soon as I pull out the next batch I’ll be sure to update. Until next time, I’m sending you easy to pull off meals, from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours.

-Ami M. Lee, Batch Cooking Wizard, The Common Sense Cook

Not Every Recipe is A Winner – Common Sense Philosophies

Grilled Shrimp on a Baby Spinach Salad

Not every recipe is a winner. If you’re new to cooking, I think it’s important for you to know this. Now, I admit I do have an uncanny luck with liking most things that I make. My husband was shocked one day when they liked a dish and I refused to eat it because I didn’t like the flavor. It’s rare, but I promise I don’t always like everything I come up with…but my biggest message is…That’s okay!!!

One reason I like doing review blogs on recipes by other bloggers is because I want you guys to know these recipes are accomplish-able. I like to show you guys which recipes I’ve tried. Now…I think my first review was my only negative one and I immediately decided that I did not want to do another negative review. We all have different opinions…We all have our own food issues. For instance…Since going paleo for well over a year now I am not fond of most gluten free bread like products. I have given up on finding a pancake that I like. It’s just a texture issue for me. However, there are several good recipes out there that many people like. My goal is never to discourage anyone from at least trying a recipe.

When you’re cooking you have to be reasonable with your expectations. Not every recipe is going to be right for you. There may even be ingredients that you are just not ready to try. I, frankly, love to try anything and everything. I learned the hard way that I’m not a fan of short ribs. The flavor is just not something I care for. I’ve tried making up my own recipe. I’ve tried other recipes. I’m just not a fan…Again…That’s okay!

The picture above is actually shrimp sauteed in butter, lemon, and pepper. The shrimp turned out really soft and the butter flavor over powered the shrimp. It just didn’t taste good. I was not a fan of the texture either. Grilled shrimp would be a much choice for this salad in hind sight.

Things I’ve learned when choosing and trying recipes:

  • Go for it! Don’t be afraid to try it.
  • Modify when you know what you like. If you know you prefer basil over thyme…Do it! Try it!
  • Recipes are not written in stone. Experiment. Use the recipe as a guideline when you’re comfortable enough to experiment.
  • Keep time in mind. Do you really want to try to master bouef bourguignon on a Wednesday night?
  • Don’t be afraid to make your own recipe! (Have you seen the tab that says “Stuff I Make Up”?)
  • Shop local and in season as much as you can for inspiration.
  • Stay inspired and watch others cook, such as cooking shows, or on YouTube.

To end this Common Sense Philosophies post, I want to remind you my dear friends, just because the recipe isn’t a winner, doesn’t mean you’re a loser. You are still winning with experience points. Every meal is a lesson and you get a chance three times a day to try again, and learn more. I told my husband the other day, there’s nothing in this world that I wouldn’t want to learn. The day I stop learning is the day I’m ready to move on to the next life to learn something new there.

Keep on cooking friends and come back next time. I have several recipes and a review coming up that I am so very excited to share with you. I’ll be reviewing He Won’t Know It’s Paleo’s Red Wine Pasta Sauce…and I have figured out my AIP Bouef Bourguignon. Thank you guys for your continued support. It is so greatly appreciated.

-Ami M. Lee, Experimenter, Mad Hatter Chef, The Common Sense Cook

Guacamole (Nightshade Free/Paleo/AIP)

Last night was Taco Night here in the Lee Household. Our kids were excited but I was feeling it was becoming a little over done. I am not the kind of person who can eat the same thing every week. Ironically…I used to be, but now my taste buds crave some adventure. I happened to have an avocado in the fridge so I said…Let’s video some guacamole…The rest, is history…

Here’s what you’ll need for this epic guacamole:

  • 1 Avocado (You can use more if you have more than 1 adult and 3 littles.)
  • 3 Small Green Onions (Or 1-2 Large)
  • Salt and Pepper (Omit Pepper for AIP)
  • The Juice of One Small Lemon (Or half of a large)
  • A Couple Dashes of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Cilantro (Add to your liking.)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Mint

This is so easy I feel like giggling. All you have to do is throw all of this into a food processor and blend till creamy. The hard part is trying to share equally with everyone!

I hope you enjoy this super fast recipe. If you’d like to see the video, I’ll link it below. If you don’t believe that my kids could ever like something like avocado…check it out so you can see, kids can love real food too! (No, they weren’t paid for their opinions with jelly beans…I promise!)

I’m sending tangy, yummy goodness from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time and see what this recipe make’er up’er can do next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew (AIP/Paleo Friendly)

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew

If you guys haven’t heard yet, I started a YouTube channel to share some of my recipes! I started off with an introduction and a little bit about myself, and a little bit about Back to School lunches for my 3 paleo kids. For my very first recipe video, I wanted to just do what I do best. Make…Stuff….Up. So I started with a template from a recipe with Mickey Trescott.

This soup not only turned out amazing! It turned into the best soup I’ve ever had in my life…Rivaling even that of my Epic Noodle Soup! I even got all three of my “not soup fans” to eat it up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pound of Beef Stew Meat
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato, peeled and Diced
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 4 Medium Carrots
  • 2 Medium Pears
  • 6 Cups of Homemade Chicken Bone Brother (Or veggie broth…Or whatever you like.)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Cloves of Garlic
  • 4 or 5 Basil Leaves
  • A Pinch of Dried Thyme
  • A Few Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • 1 Splash Apple Cider Vinegar

Turn your pressure cooker onto the brown or saute setting. Heat up some olive oil. Add the beef and let it brown. When it is browned, but not cooked through add the garlic till fragrant. Once that’s done, throw in all those amazing vegetables and pears. Stir it around to evenly distribute everything.

Add all the rest of the ingredients into the pressure cooker. Again, stir everything around to evenly distribute all of those amazing ingredients. Lock your pressure cooker lid and follow the instructions to your machine.

Set the timer for 30 minutes under high pressure.

***PLEASE! Read your owners manual and know how to safely open your pressure cooker!***

Carefully release the pressure valve, or let it release naturally. You choose here, friend. All that’s left after this is to patiently wait for it to cool off…Yes.. That’s the hard part!

I’m going to leave a link below to the YouTube video that goes along with this recipe. I hope you enjoy! If you give it a try leave me a comment wherever comment sections are found. 😉 Make sure you come back to see what this soup loving, paleo mom will make up next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Valencia Orange Roasted Chicken

Whole Orange Chicken

A couple of weeks ago I was inspired by Julia Child in the Melody Sheep video where they make her sing. There’s a part where she says the test of a good chef is a roast chicken. The lemon, the rosemary, the garlic…What treat. Well…So I did just that and it was amazing! My 3 kiddos even enjoyed it! Only problem is…The second time I tried to make this so my husband could have some (he tried the 1st one and actually liked it!) I was out of lemons! I used it to scrub a really dirty old pan and forgot that I needed it for my chicken. So what did I do? Say it with me everybody! I made it up!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) Whole Free Range Chicken (Or do the best quality you can afford.)
  • 1 Large Organic Valencia Orange
  • 1/2 of an Organic Yellow Onion (White would work fine as well.)
  • Fresh Garlic (Use as much as you like. I used two huge cloves.)
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup White Wine
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper (Omit pepper for AIP.)

Preheat your oven to 325 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Take your bird, open it up, and make sure you rinse it. Pull out the organ meat package. If you don’t want to use it right now, throw it in the freezer and use later. You can check out my chicken giblet gravy here: https://acommonsensecook.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/chicken-giblet-gravy/ if you try a different version that you think it would pair well with. Waste nothing! If you know how to remove the wishbone from the chicken, this will make carving easier, but isn’t necessary.

Throw that lovely bird into a deep roasting pan, casserole, or dutch oven. Cut the orange in half and squeeze that lovely juice all over the top of the chicken. Add the rind into the chicken cavity with the garlic. Pour olive oil, and sprinkle torn basil leaves, salt, and pepper on the exterior of the chicken. If you want, remove the very tip of the chicken wing and fold it on itself.

Put your bird in the oven uncovered for 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit and the juice, when pierced, runs clear. When it’s done, carefully remove this onto a platter and allow it to cool before slicing.

Plate for Orange Chicken

This plate is a bit of a mess…But this was after a Fit Camp workout. I was a little more than hungry. I had a smidgen of rice with chicken and sauteed onions. The onions were cooked with my typical Asian combo, which I also put on the squash that I roasted. Plus some cool cucumber on the side. We have to live up to that #MoreVegetablesThanaVegetarian hashtag, right?

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I am so happy to have impressed my three little ones and my husband. Nothing feels better than having four happy people after supper (five if you include myself). Try it out. If you do, make sure to come by the Facebook page and share your experiences with me. I’m sending you juicy, amazing chicken from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Come back on Manic Monday where I try to share some of my quicker recipes to get you through any case of the Mondays (even if it isn’t Monday).

-Ami M. Lee, Making It Up All the Way, Chicken Loving, Family Satisfy’n, Common Sense Cook

Manic Monday – Shrimp Noodle Bowl (AIP-Friendly)

Shrimp Noodle Bowl AIP Friendly

It happened one day. Yes… Even this far into my paleo journey, I still get cravings. I think learning how to deal with these cravings responsibly is key! This recipe was inspired by an old favorite Rachel Ray recipe. A spicy shrimp noodle bowl. With AIP and Paleo we can’t do normal glutenous noodles, and AIP can’t do nightshade spices to make it spicy… But, I think I still made a lovely, flavorful alternative that satisfied this craving without jumping head first off the bandwagon.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sweet Potato Starch Noodles (You can find these in an Asian Grocery Store.)
  • Bok Choy (I used baby bok choy chopped into bite size pieces.)
  • Green Onion
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Fish Sauce (A couple splashes.)
  • Coconut Aminos (About a tablespoon.You can use soy sauce, tamari, or other alternatives if you like.)
  • 1 pound of frozen, raw, deveined shrimp (If you have access to fresh, go for it! Then send me some! )
  • 8 to 10 cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock (I bet seafood stock would be great too.)
  • Lemongrass
  • Optional: Chili Flakes are great if you aren’t AIP or sensitive to nightshade based spices.

This might seem like a long ingredient list, but I had most of these in the house already. Throw your stock and seasonings into a large soup pot. Bring it to a boil. Add your sweet potato starch noodles. You may have to cut them in half. Throw in your bok choy and boil according to the package on the noodles. Mine call for 6-7 minutes.

Clean your shrimp, remove the tails if they’re still on. Make sure they are clean and the vein has been removed. You can run them under cool water to help them defrost. I usually do this in a strainer.

You want to add your shrimp carefully. Always keep in mind that you are dealing with boiling water. Be safe! After you’ve dropped the shrimp in, lightly stir the soup. Shrimp cooks extremely fast, so you only want to cook it a couple of minutes until they turn pink. You don’t want to over cook them because they’ll be sitting in the hot liquid and will continue to cook further.

Ladle this noodle’ee goodness into a bowl. Slurp up some broth and noodles, and enjoy. I kind of surprised myself with this one because it turned out so delicious. Keep in mind with these ingredients that you can add as much or as little as you like. I think that is one reason why I love soup so much!

If you give it a try, be sure to come show me over on the Facebook or tag me on Instagram @thecommonsensecook. I’d love to see your pictures! As always, don’t forget to come back next time to see what this seafood loving, recipe revamping, Common Sense Cook will reinvent next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Flashback Friday – Predominately Paleo Taco Shells, Two Ways (AIP Friendly)

I mentioned in my Month in Review for February that one of my favorite bloggers recently has been Jen from Predominately Paleo. She shares a wide variety of recipes that are often easily modified (or are) AIP Friendly! Not only that, but even my kiddos who don’t require their diet to be strictly AIP, enjoy many of her recipes.

I had read plenty of her blogs…pinned several. But, when it came to what I actually wanted to do I was a little unsure. The first time I tried this I messed up. I used coconut oil instead and ended up with a thick, hot mess… However, I happened to press some into a cupcake tin and made some amazing taco shell bowls! So if you want cupcake, taco bowls…Switch the avocado oil for coconut oil. Bake for 20 minutes and you’re done. If not…Stay tuned and try another way. It never hurts to know how to use a recipe in more than one way.
Here’s what you’ll need:
⦁ 3 Ripe Plantains (They should be heavily spotted, yellow, or black.)
⦁ 1/2 Cup Avocado Oil
⦁ 1 Teaspoon Garlic Sea Salt (I just used garlic powder and sea salt separately.)
⦁ 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder (left out)
⦁ Optional: 1 teaspoon hot sauce (not AIP)
⦁ Optional: Juice of half a lime.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Add all of the ingredients to a blender. Process until it turns into a consistent, slightly thick batter. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. I decided to add some coconut oil to try to keep it from sticking…but it definitely still stuck on pretty well. If you’re okay with using non stick aluminum foil it does help. (I don’t know how this stuff works, but it’s magic and did help the next time I made these).
Add a spoon full onto the baking sheet and use the back of the spoon to spread it out. Mine ended up being 2ish inches wide making some awkwardly shaped, baby taco shells. I may consider making fewer taco shells and opting for larger ones next time. Try to get them even and flat, keeping the size of your palm a good consideration for size (according to the original recipe that I’ll link below!).
Bake for 20 minutes. You’ll want to carefully try to flip them. I’m wondering if the parchment paper would have done better because I had a hard time flipping these bad boys. A good, flat spatula was helpful. Throw them back in the over for 10 minutes.
Here comes the dangerous part…Are you scared? Don’t be! Set those tacos on a plate. Place the baking sheet on your bottom rack to catch any crumbs or drippy grease. Drape the tacos directly over a bar on the oven rack. I found tongs very useful in helping to bend them without getting my fingers too close to the rack. Jen has some links on her blog to taco racks that are probably much easier and safer to handle that you can check out.
My tacos came out awful crisp and so close to burnt. It’s suggested that they go back in for another 20-30 minutes. I think this will depend on the size. If you have little baby tacos like me, it can be as quick as 10 minutes!
Carefully remove them from the oven with some tongs. I went ahead and left them folded to cool, and dry a few minutes. Add your favorite taco fixin’s and you have an amazing, flavorful taco shell creation that is sure to please! I know that we loved them! It was a little tricky at first, but I think once you get this down, it’ll be Taco Tuesday every Tuesday. Even if you’re not paleo/aip I hope you’ll try out this yummy alternative. Here’s is the link to Jen’s original recipe (http://predominantlypaleo.com/grain-free-taco-shells-paleo-vegan/).
I hope you enjoy this recipe review! Be sure to check out Jen on her website and on Facebook. She is very interactive and just the sweetest and brightest energy I’ve seen from a blogger. I just want to find her and make her my blogging best friend! Make sure y’all come back and see me on Manic Monday where I try to give you guys some of my quicker recipes to help you through dealing with a case of the Mondays!.
-Ami M. Lee, Taco Destroyer, Common Sense Cook

Manic Monday – The Fastest Meatloaf (AIP Friendly)

It’s safe to say that my pressure cooker may be the star of Manic Monday. I talked last week about my dear love the pressure cooker. This week I want to tell you about my crazy meatloaf idea. You may have seen my many ways to do meatloaf. I can do a whole loaf…I can do mini meatloaf, I can hide veggies or eat it plain.
With this loaf I want you to feel free to make it how you like it. I’ve just discovered that my family (especially my husband), best responds to a very plain meatloaf. My husband has said for years…Babe…It’s a meat….loaf…or a loaf of meat! So here’s what to do when you’re hungry caveman and cave babies are hunting for a meatloaf and need it fast!
Here’s what you’ll need for the fastest meatloaf ever:
⦁ 3 Pounds of Ground Meat (beef, pork, or a combination)
⦁ 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder or fresh
⦁ 1 Teaspoon of Salt
⦁ 2 Teaspoons of Bay Leaf (Other herbs like parsley and basil are great.)
⦁  Stock/Bone Broth/Water

Feel free to add anything else to that ingredient list. We just happen to like to keep it simple.
Three pounds is a lot of meat. You may not be able to fit all of it in your food processor. With this being an AIP friendly recipe, we are not using bread crumbs or eggs for binders. I found it very difficult to bake a meatloaf that I formed without it being crumbly. How did I fix this? Add your meat and seasonings in batches to your food processor. You want to process it until it’s well blended and is a consistent texture similar to sausage.
Add this seasoned sausage like mixture to a bowl or plate and form into a loaf. Add the wire rack into the bottom of your pressure cooker and fill the water (stock or broth) up to touching the bottom of the steaming rack. Place your meatloaf on top of the rack.
Set your pressure cooker to high pressure for 30 minutes. It will take a little longer than 30 minutes to cook because it takes about 15 minutes for it to get to pressure. But, that is still a lot less than the normal baking for an hour to an hour and a half. The result is a juicy and flavorful loaf that is well blended and slices beautifully.
If you’re family likes ketchup (not AIP) then pull it out and slap it on top. If you prefer to have it warmed up on top or have a tomato sauce alternative, slice the loaf and lay it out on a cookie sheet. Throw it in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
I feel obligated on every pressure cook post…prepare yourself…

**READ THE OWNER MANUAL AND LEARN HOW TO SAFELY AND PROPERLY RELEASE THE PRESSURE FROM THE MACHINE!!!*** It doesn’t take but a few minutes to get to know how to use your unit. I usually quick release, but it will be fine if you naturally let the pressure release.
I hope you enjoy this quick, quick recipe. I thought I was a little bit crazy for wanting to put a 3 pound meatloaf in a pressure cooker, but I’m so glad I did. So go ahead! Give this crazy, hippie skirt wearing, pressure cooker diva’s meatloaf and let me know in the comments, on twitter, or Facebook how it turns out!
-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Manic Monday – Five Minute Pickles (AIP Friendly)

Stuffed Chicken Breast with 5 Minute PIckles

My kids and I love pickles! The hard thing about being AIP is reacting to nightshades or seed spices that can be in conventional pickles. Also, if you check the labels, a lot of cheap pickles use yellow coloring! I played around and tried to make some refrigerator pickles and it turned out okay… Don’t get me wrong they were edible… But it missed that crunch. I was watching a cooking show and someone mentioned making some five minute pickles. What!? 5 minutes? So this recipe takes a little longer than 5 minutes with prep…but it’s well worth it!

Here’s what you’ll need for this quick pickle:

  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar (You can use white vinegar but it’s often not paleo/aip. Check to see what it’s made from first.)
  • 2 Rounded Teaspoons of Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Clove Minced Garlic (I use a microplane.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Dill (2 tablespoons fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large cucumbers (or 4 kirby or mini cucumbers)

Add vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic into a sauce pan. Bring it to just a simmer or until the sugar is dissolved. Peel your cucumbers and add them to a bowl with the dill, and bay leaf. Add the vinegar mixture over the top and set in the fridge to cool for a minimum of 5 minutes or until you’re ready for them. These need to be eaten when they’re made though.

These have a real bite to them and are so crunchy! Even my kiddos didn’t mind the spicy vinegary flavor! The best thing is that while this recipe is AIP, you can make this your own! I took the recipe from Rachel Ray for quick pickles as a general idea. Here’s a link to her original recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/quick-pickles-recipe.html).