Manic Monday – Paleo Chicken Salad

Paleo Chicken Salad

Lunch has to be my least favorite meal. I just don’t know what to make half the time. I don’t want to cook a full meal, but I need to feed four people. These little kiddo of mine are getting more of the big kid appetites. Day after day…What in the world am I going to feed you little people, rolls across my mind. I was looking through “the pinterest” and happened across a club chicken salad. Lost that recipe and had to do what I do best… Making things up as I go.

On a funny side note…As I sit here blogging and realizing how many times I say that, I can see a whole line of cookbooks… “Paleo Stuff that I make Up.” “Still Making Stuff Up.” or “Making Stuff Up, Too Paleo, Too Fast.” Okay maybe that last one is a little silly… But I do dare to dream.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Package of Chicken Tenderloins (The strips…Or go ahead and cut up the breasts yourself.)
  • 1 Package of Bacon (I do Simple Truth or Oscar Mayer Selects without nitrates and such.)
  • Green Onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Homemade Mayo (Check out my previous blog: https://acommonsensecook.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/paleo-mayonaise/)
  • Lettuce Wraps (Or bread if you do bread. The kiddos enjoyed it as a sandwich.)

Cut up your bacon into small pieces and add them into a pan. Let them get into the cooking about 5 minutes before adding the pieces of chicken. Spread them out into one layer letting the bacon be in between the pieces. Let cook until a little brown on each side…This shouldn’t take much longer than 15 minutes. If you want to make sure it’s cooked through, go ahead and cut one open.

To make the cutting into bite size pieces easier, use a pair of kitchen scissors. Cut them into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Now…This is super simple. You can add many more things that you like into this. You could even add the salad part. ^__^

For the kiddos, I added some plantain chips with some golden raisins. They enjoyed their sandwich and all of them finished. I would feel good sending this in their school lunches and would be confident that they would eat it without Mommy supervision.

I hope you’ll try this out. Feel free to share any other great ingredients we could include in this in the comments below. Don’t forget you can come chat with me on Instagram (thecommonsensecook), Twitter (@AmiLeePhotos), and Facebook (a link is on the side bar >>>). You can also see that I like a lot of things other than cooking! LOL Make sure you come back next time to see what I can figure out for lunch next.

-Ami M. Lee, Lunch Packer, Bacon Lover, Common Sense Cook

Paleo Mayonaise

Paleo Mayo

Now…this recipe is called Paleo Mayo… And yes…That has to be the funnest thing to say out loud. (You just tried it didn’t you?) However, I would like to make a great point. I modified this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo to be “almost” AIP. As some of you may know, I’ve been doing the Autoimmune Protocol since January. Thankfully, I have reintroduced eggs. I’m having some trouble with seed based spices, so mayo was going to be an issue. Most mayo’s use mustard in it. But, I think I came up with a pretty delicious alternative to make this okay if you’ve gotten eggs back in but don’t want to mix reintroductions. Or…if you’re not AIP or even if you’re not even Paleo…this is still really amazing! (And green…)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 Egg Yolks (The yellow part only. Save the egg whites for omelet’s. Make sure they’re room temperature! I pull mine out the morning of wanting to make it.)
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger Powder
  • 4 1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Squeeze Lemon Juice
  • 3 Teaspoons of Vinegar of Choice (I try to avoid white because it’s normally from corn. Red Wine Vinegar worked well. Apple Cider Vinegar is really strong.)
  • 2 1/4 Cups of Avocado Oil (This gives it the green hue. If you try another oil, let me know how it turns out!)

It’s recipes like this that are so delicious and so easy, I wonder why we quit making it ourselves! Add all ingredients except for the oil into a deep mixing bowl. You can do this by hand, but it will take a good long while. I find that my electric “cake” mixer (even though this thing hasn’t touched cake), does a very great job at whipping it up. Whip the first ingredients for 30 seconds until the mix turns golden and frothy. I added all of my oil to an easy to handle measuring cup. You want to add the oil slowly. As it gets about half way through you’ll notice it start to thicken. It should eventually get very thick and almost have peaks or ribbons throughout. It will be just like any mayonnaise like Hellman’s that you remember growing up.

Add this to a glass mason jar and refrigerate it. This didn’t last very long in my house, but it was fine nearly a week out. And a lovely lady named Betsy from a paleo group that I belong to suggested adding some AIP Basil Pesto for a great dip idea! I told her that I could’ve hugged her for such a brilliant idea. I’m even thinking if you’d like to make a spicy mayo, or wasabi mayo…Who knows the 100s of wonderful ideas you could create with this as a base. If you try anything out, come back and share with us! ❤ There’s also a Facebook and Twitter page on the side bar if you’d like to share a picture of what you made with me. I’d love to see it.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’m sending you creamy, dreamy mayo from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Come back Monday for Manic Monday where I try to share all of my quick fix dishes, or more simple dishes to help you get through any case of the Monday’s.

-Ami M. Lee, Paleo Mayo on Everything, AIP Healing, Common Sense Cook

Sweet Saturdays

Last weekend we celebrated my oldest and youngest’s birthdays! Madison turned 5 and Mark turned 3! Can’t believe my babies are growing up so fast. My kids are actually pretty sensitive to gluten and dairy. Rylan and Madison seem to handle it okay, maybe just an icky tummy day and some attitude issues. Mark on the other hand is so extremely sensitive. This was my first year trying to make a paleo birthday party. Madison asked for an apple pie! Proud of that little girl. I also made almond butter cookies from The Paleo Mom and added white chocolate chips, some “chocolate roll-ee balls” which I may share later, and some chocolate dairy free cupcakes. For some reason, I’ve made chocolate cupcakes ever since Madison was 1.

But on to the pie!

Here’s what you’ll need for this tasty apple treat:

  • As many apples as you feel like peeling and cutting. I used about 2-3 lbs of small gala apples.
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A few cracks salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt. It has a higher trace mineral content.)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (If you’re not a cinnamon freak like me, drop it down to 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Start off with peeling all of the apples. Then slide a handy dandy apple slicer and corer over it. This cuts the work in half! But, if you don’t have one of these handy tools (Go buy one at Dollar Tree…works just fine!), just chop them up into bite size pieces.

Add all of your apples into a large soup pot. Add all of the other ingredients and mix well. If you’re a cinnamon fanatic like me and use as much as I listed, it will be very dark. Don’t worry. Stir frequently as the juices of the apples start to come out. Keep it about on medium heat. You definitely don’t want to cook this too fast or too hot. Cook until your apples are soft. This can vary depending on the size of the slices, but really shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. When in doubt, pick a piece out, cool it off a few seconds and pop it in your mouth!

This was absolutely delicious on a gluten free pie crust. Even though the Pillsbury pre-made gluten free pie crust is expensive (I had a coupon of course!) it was very good. Knowing that I was making so many treats, I didn’t mind paying for the convenience. These apples could be a great desert, put in a pie, or put under a crumble.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s a beautiful Saturday here, the farmer’s market was a blast, and I look forward to sending you guys some more delicious recipes. Come back next Saturday and I’ll try to have something else sweet cooked up and ready for ya. You never know what this cinnamon loving Common Sense Cook will have cooked up next. Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. If you try any of my recipes, I would LOVE to see pictures! Hop on over to http://www.facebook.com/commonsensecook Like the page and send me your pictures and comments! ❤

Inspiration for Greek Food

Many years ago a friend of mine decided to come cook with me. I was making the meat and she brought the most amazing berry topped spinach salad. I love both of these recipes and still make them to this day. There’s nothing better than having a friend (even if that friend is your little kiddo) in the kitchen. I decided I wanted to try to make Souvlaki. After all, I’ve been told my looks would pass for a beautiful Greek, my favorite movie is My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I just overall love Greek food.
I love looking to international cuisine for inspiration and this is quite easy to assemble ahead of time. You can use various cuts of pork and pork is usually more budget friendly. Souvlaki is simply marinated pork. It is usually put on pita bread (for all of you non-paleo’s out there), but we just eat it by itself.
Here’s what you’ll need to get this pork marinating party started:
⦁ Pork (Country Ribs, Pork Steaks, Pork Chops…whatever is convenient for your budget.)
⦁ Wine (Red works great and is traditional but we’ve used Moscato before; it’s what we had. Add enough to cover the meat. I can use one whole bottle of cooking wine.)
⦁ Fresh Dill (Eh…Okay don’t skimp on this one. It’s worth it! 2 or 3 sprigs)
⦁ Fresh Garlic (2 or 3 cloves…unless you’re a crazy garlic lover like me, then add until your heart is content.)
⦁ The Juice of One Lemon
⦁ Salt and Pepper
The easiest way to start this is to find a big enough container that has a lid. The longer you let these marinate, the better. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl. The easiest way to get the garlic well minced is to use a cheese hand grater. I have a small hand held one I bought at Dollar Tree that has never failed me. Make sure the ingredients are in between the pieces, especially if you need to stack them. Put in the fridge over night or for a minimum 2 to 4 hours. I left mine in the freezer for four days then let them thaw throughout the day on the counter (with a paper towel underneath for condensation).
You can either cut them into small pieces with some sharp kitchen scissors, or grill them as is. The smaller pieces are better if you would like to wrap them up in some pita. Another good, gluten free, alternative would be to simply use a romaine heart lettuce wrap. If you save the juices, use them to baste the meat as it cooks. This keeps the meat from drying out as easily.
There are so many great ideas for sides. One of my absolute new favorites is sticking some artichoke hearts on the grill with the pork, some onions, kalamata olives and olive oil, salt and pepper. Or cook a spaghetti squash, add olive oil, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, olives, and feta (if you tolerate dairy). I leave off the feta and it’s still pretty awesome!
I hope you enjoy my version of this amazing Greek dish! I’m sending everyone big smiles, warm hearts, and great spirit from my international house of Common Sense. I hope you will come back next week and see where in the world is this Common Sense Cook. Opa!

A Surprising Pie

It could be said that I’m a little obsessed with pie and it may be genetic. We received a box in the mail and Madison asked if it was pie! Funnily, the relative who sent the first box ended up sending another box that actually had pie in it! I even have a love for Shepherd’s Pie! My favorite recipe is from Gordon Ramsay. The lamb, the potatoes, the Parmesan! The only bad thing is, his recipe is definitely not friendly for our dietary needs of dairy and gluten free. So what did I do? I made stuff up…literally.
Now, I am a big stickler that a Shepherd’s Pie is lamb and a Cottage Pie is beef. The store I happened to be at didn’t have lamb. So what do I do? I picked up ground bison! Ground bison is so yummy and is available at Wal-Mart and Kroger. It is a little pricey but has very little fat and has a beautiful flavor. A paleo lifestyle seeks to eat many kinds of animals and I’m eventually going to work on the snout to tail idea.
Here’s what you’ll need for this unconventional pie:
⦁ 2 lbs of ground bison (or more depending on your family size)
⦁ red cooking wine (It’s always best to go with something you’ll drink but cooking wine works just as fine.)
⦁ bay leaf
⦁ garlic
⦁ mushrooms (portobella is my favorite)
⦁ carrots
⦁ Salt and Pepper
⦁ 4 Sweet Potatoes
⦁ Bay Leaf
⦁ onions
⦁ red bell pepper (optional)
This pie is full of plenty of veggies and deliciousness. Take all of the veggies and finely chop them. Get them as small as you can so they’ll almost “blend in” with the meat. Cook those onions down with some salt and a smidgen of water till they are soft. If you tolerate butter, add just a bit of grass fed butter (like Kerrygold) and caramelize them. Add all of your veggies in with the ground bison. Mix it well and get the veggies evenly distributed in a big pot or pan. Add your seasonings and the red wine and let the sauce coat the meat and veggies. Cook it down until the bison is browned and the sauce is absorbed and/or evaporated.
While this is going on, cut up those sweet potatoes and throw them in a big pot of salted water to boil. They’re done when you can stick a knife through them and it easily slips off. Carefully transfer the sweet potatoes to a big bowl and add some bay leaf, garlic, salt, pepper, and some finely chopped red bell pepper if you have it. Take a whisk and smush the mixture until it makes a type of orange mashed potato.
Now, I left my meat mixture in the fridge for a few days to prep ahead of time. This really saved me time because all I had to do was the step with the sweet potato mash. Add your meat mixture to a casserole dish (this is the part you can do early…don’t do the sweet potatoes early). Top the meat mixture with a thick layer of the sweet potatoes. Throw it in the over at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes depending on if you had your meat in the fridge or made it fresh. The potatoes should turn a lovely brown and golden orange color. Dish it out on a plate and you’ll be in paleo meat pie heaven! The recipe I used from Gordon Ramsay definitely had complimentary flavors to go with the sweet potatoes.

This pie is approved by even my pickiest kiddo!
Whether it’s pecan, shepherd’s, or any other kind of pie, I’m sending you a good smelling home and fully satisfied tummies from my house to yours. This crazy pie lady, common sense cook is cooking up some great things and I hope you’ll come back and enjoy another recipe with me next week.