Roasted pear and yellow squash puree

IMG_6278.jpg

Potty training has (haltingly) begun. And so I've renewed my commitment to vegetables and good fats in M's diet. To, ahem, keep things moving. 

IMG_6254.jpg

Even though he's well out of the puree stage, I still like to whip up some seasonal fruit and veggie purees when we have produce that's about to turn. Plopped into a pouch or mixed with some yogurt, they make a great snack and are sometimes the only way to get a largish amount of vegetables into M at once. ALSO, I like to use purees as dipping sauces for whole grain waffles and pancakes in lieu of syrup. It's a fun and sweet way to skip the concentrated sugar at breakfast and focus on the good stuff instead.

IMG_6263.jpg

A couple of notes: Roasting is always my preferred cooking method because I think it intensifies the flavor of fruits and vegetables more than steaming does. In this recipe, we're not looking for much color, so keep an eye on it. Also, powdered ginger works here, but fresh is best.

 

Roasted pear and yellow squash puree

4 medium pears
1 medium yellow squash
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ tsp fresh ginger (or slightly less powdered ginger)

Preheat oven to 375. Wash and roughly chop the pears and squash. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and roast for 15 minutes until the produce is soft and fragrant, but not yet browning.

Place the pears and squash into a blender or food processor. Add the remaining Tbsp of olive oil and the ginger. Puree until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: about 2 cups of puree.

IMG_6272.jpg

Black Bean Soup

Guys, I'm ALONE. Not in the despair-filled, we're-all-ultimately-alone-in-this-life sense, but in the literal, concrete sense. I spent my first night away from M and E last night and it was glorious and bittersweet in equal measure. After a good 45 minutes of looking at pictures of M on my phone and missing him ferociously, I spun around The-Hills-Are-Alive style in my room before falling asleep in my hotel bathrobe at 10:30.

It's a funny time to be away and probably a good test of my anxiety coping skills. After M's injury last week, I'm feeling more protective of him than ever, so this is forcing me to deal with the lingering fear that SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN. Because something will happen eventually- it always does. Although last week I felt panicked realizing that I can't always protect M, I'm trying to remember that I AM protecting him by giving him life skills and resilience and by not hovering and sending him the message that I don't trust him and that the world is filled with danger. Also, his dad is the greatest, so I really need to chill out. 

Anyhoo, this is my first post in some time that wasn't interrupted by a small person with constant demands OR exhaustion from addressing said small person's constant demands. So without further ado: Delicious black bean soup!

A few notes: 15 minutes is a long time for onions to start a soup, but the caramelizing really enhances the flavor of this simple dish. Also, this soup is of a medium thickness. If one wanted a thicker soup, reduce the liquid by 1 cup. Similarly, to thin the soup further, add 1/2 to 1 cup more liquid. I like the textural difference of some pureed and some whole beans, but one could also puree the whole thing for a uniform consistency. Other ways to add texture: Set side some caramelized onions for later topping; add in a small can of poblanos or other roasted, chopped green chilis; top with crushed tortilla chips, cojita cheese, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, etc for faux nachos on top.

Black bean soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
1/8-¼ tsp cayenne
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
S/P

Heat olive oil and butter over a medium flame. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.

Add 1.5 cans of black beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, and using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. Add the other .5 cans of beans, salt and pepper to taste, and heat through again.

Yield: 50 oz or about 5 cups

Burgers! Burgers! Burgers!

Buffalo chicken burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner or game day snacks. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #gamedaysnacks #buffalochickenburger

Buffalo chicken and cauliflower burgers and salmon and sweet potato burgers are on heavy rotation in our house, especially during Whole 30. Throw an egg on top and it's breakfast. Add some roasted veggies or a mashed sweet potato and it's lunch. Chop one up and throw it over a salad for some extra protein with more flavor than plain old chicken or salmon. See? Versatile. Also, both of these are M's favorites.

Salmon and sweet potato burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner and has a hint of sweetness for those sweet cravings that plague every Whole 30-er. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #salmon #salmonburger #sweetpotato

I especially like eating the buffalo chicken burgers on Sundays because they feel like a game day indulgence. If you're heading to a party, make these into sliders or meatballs and bring them with you. No one will know they're Whole 30 and you'll have something great to eat so you can fearlessly be social while also sticking with this re-set you've taken on.

The salmon and sweet potato burgers are clutch when I'm craving sushi. We're lucky that M loves salmon, so it's not hard to stack his diet with Omega-3s. But I hate the way the salmon smell lingers in our small apartment when we cook it on the stove, so this recipe utilizes canned wild salmon that, frankly, doesn't necessarily smell better, but definitely smells less.  

Buffalo chicken burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner or game day snacks. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #gamedaysnacks #buffalochickenburger

Did I mention that I FINALLY had success making my own pickles this weekend? I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe, but swapped out dill for a few cloves of smashed garlic because I hate dill.

Salmon and sweet potato burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner and has a hint of sweetness for those sweet cravings that plague every Whole 30-er. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #salmon #salmonburger #sweetpotato

On the side, we've been serving sweet potato, purple carrot, and delicata squash fries. To roast, heat the oven to 425, cover your pan with parchment paper, spray the paper with olive oil, toss your vegetables onto the trays, add a few glugs of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt, and roast for 20-25 minutes, until you get the browning you want on the outside. I check them after about 10-15 minutes and give the tray a good shake to flip some pieces over. I've heard that one trick to getting crispier oven fries is to heat the pans ahead of time, but I never notice enough of a difference to warrant the extra step. But if you try this, let me know how it works!

Buffalo chicken burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner or game day snacks. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #gamedaysnacks #buffalochickenburger

Buffalo chicken burgers (Whole 30)

1 lb ground chicken
1 cup riced cauliflower
½ medium red onion
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup almond meal
1 egg
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp clarified butter
3 Tbsp Frank’s hot sauce

Add chicken, cauliflower, onion, garlic, almond meal, and egg to a large bowl and combine using your hands or a spatula. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the hot sauce and stir to combine. Form into 6 equal patties using a 1/3 cup measure.

Coat your pan with 1 tsp clarified butter and heat over a medium low flame. When hot, add chicken patties and turn up the flame to medium. While the first side is browning, sprinkle some of the clarified butter/hot sauce mixture onto each patty. When the first side has a good sear, flip the burgers over and coat the other side with clarified butter/hot sauce. After 2-3 minutes, check the sear. If brown enough for you liking, turn the flame down to low, cover, and let cook for 8-10 more minutes. When meat thermometer has reached 165, your burgers are done. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the meat reabsorb some of the juices. 

Yield: 6 burgers

Buffalo chicken burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner or game day snacks. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #gamedaysnacks #buffalochickenburger
Salmon and sweet potato burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner and has a hint of sweetness for those sweet cravings that plague every Whole 30-er. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #salmon #salmonburger #sweetpotato

Salmon, sweet potato, and sage burgers

2 cans boneless, skinless wild caught salmon, 6 oz each
1 large sweet potato, roasted or microwaved (7-8 oz)
2/3 cup almond meal
1 tsp dried sage
2 eggs
2 Tbsp dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and smash with a fork. Mix very well. Heat a large sauté pan over a medium flame. Shape into 6 patties using a 1/3 cup to scoop out equal amounts for each patty and sear on one side. Let cook until there is a good browning on one side and then carefully flip. Cover the pan and turn the flame down. This will allow the burgers to steam a bit and cook through while also browning the outside.

Yield: 6 burgers

Salmon and sweet potato burger | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant burger is perfect for lunch or dinner and has a hint of sweetness for those sweet cravings that plague every Whole 30-er. Throw an egg on top and it could also be breakfast. #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #burgers #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #lunch #lunchrecipes #salmon #salmonburger #sweetpotato

15-minute chicken

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Ooof. This is the part of Whole 30 in which I just want to take a LOOOOOONG nap. I think my intense holiday cookies-for-breakfast habit is making this first week tougher than any of my other rounds. I haven't wanted to cheat...actually, I totally wanted a slice of pizza yesterday. Nevermind. So, I've wanted to cheat, but haven't because I have the vision of how great I'll feel in a few days dancing in my head.

What helps during these tired, saggy days at the beginning is having a few really fast recipes ready. We also bought a pressure cooker last year, which has been incredible during Whole 30 because we don't even have to "set it and forget it." We can literally forget it and then do it when we panic that there's nothing for dinner. Not that we ever do that.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

This recipe is based on a classic from Gourmet that I found via Smitten Kitchen. We've made the original and it is stupidly easy and GLORIOUS. But it requires a few hours of cooking time and I lack the mental energy for that at the moment. Also, we OD'd on red meat at the end of the year, so we decided to try this with a whole chicken in the pressure cooker. You could definitely make this with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination of both, but I wouldn't do boneless, skinless anything because the fat from the skin and bones is what gives the sauce its richness. Also, 3-4 lbs of chicken may seem like a lot, but the chicken, like the meat in the original recipe, is slightly more delicious the next day. I do recommend straining the fat after cooking because there's quite a bit of it. Also, don't skimp on the garlic. You may balk at the idea of feeding a head of garlic to a toddler, but leaving the skin means that the cloves get all mellow and buttery without disintegrating in the sauce and making the whole thing taste overwhelmingly garlicky.  

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We served this with some smashed potatoes that we just chopped, placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and microwaved for 8 minutes until fork tender and then smashed with a few Tbsp of clarified butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We bought our chicken pre-cut at the grocery store, but you could get your butcher to cut a whole chicken for you or do it yourself at home.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Pressure cooked chicken with garlic and tomatoes

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, about 4 lbs
1 box/large can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, about 28 oz
1 head of garlic
S/P

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pressure cooker, largest pieces on the bottom. Take apart the bulb of garlic and remove only the flaky outer skin that comes off easily, leaving on the layer of skin around each clove. Add the garlic to the pressure cooker and space out the cloves to avoid any clumps of garlic. Pour the tomatoes over the chicken and garlic and close the pressure cooker. Set to high pressure and poultry, or 15 minutes. Cook. Let the pressure release on its own once cooking is over.

To crisp the chicken skin slightly, place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until you’ve reached your desired crispness. The skin won’t get CRISPY since the chicken is already cooked, but it will firm up a bit. If you plan to remove the skin, skip this step and eat immediately. 

Yield: 2 hearty meals for a family of 2 adults and a toddler, plus extra sauce to strain and use in other recipes, if desired.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

January Whole 30! (and Kale pesto!)

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Friends! It's Whole 30 times again. If you want to read about our first go round with this way of eating, check out this post, this post, this post, this post, and this post. And if that last one depressed you about Whole 30 (it depressed me!), read this post that was a little more uplifting after I had some distance from those first 30 days. Technically speaking, we've been easing into this Whole 30 since Christmas because we lost track of how many cookies, cakes, bars, appetizers, cocktails, and glasses of wine we had during the holidays. And technically speaking, yesterday was our first day of this Whole 30. However, today feels like Sunday (even though it's Monday) and since it's the first day of the official #JanuaryWhole30, it felt like the right time to post.

This month, I'll be publishing only Whole 30-compliant recipes here and on Instagram that we're eating regularly and that we also feed to M. Because the only thing harder than doing a Whole 30, is doing it with a kid. While he's not actually doing Whole 30 with us (he'll be eating plenty of grains, legumes, and dairy), I don't want to cook much for him that isn't acceptable for us too because, a) I don't have that much self-control; b) we're making super healthy stuff, so why wouldn't we want to feed it to our kid?; and c) I'm lazy. 

A couple of things we've done to prep for this Whole 30: 
1) Roast a ton of vegetables (and I mean, A TON). At the beginning of a Whole 30, I get really snack-y and while part of the program is about checking in with yourself before grazing to make sure that you're physically hungry and not mentally hungry, the first week is really hard and doing a little damage control is helpful. And by damage control, I mean, cooking things that you can snack on that are Whole 30. Once you get into the swing of things, you can work on eliminating those extras.

2) Stock the fridge and freezer with things that are easy to throw onto a sheet pan or into a pressure cooker. In our freezer right now: Salmon, shrimp, cod, Whole 30 compliant chicken sausages, ground chicken, and skinless, boneless chicken thighs. 

3) Make/buy all of the sauces:
Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mustard
Mayonnaise
Basil Pesto
Caesar dressing
Romesco
Chimichurri
 

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Kale pesto

Adapted from The Kitchn
4 cups packed chopped kale
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl about half way with ice water. Wash and chop kale, but don’t worry about removing the tough stems because everything will be blended anyway. When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. When kale is a bit wilted (about 1-2 minutes), remove it from the boiling water and immediately add it to the bowl of ice water. I don’t drain the kale very thoroughly (I just take it out of the water and shake it a few times) because I think a little extra water helps to thin the sauce without adding more oil, but you can pat the kale dry if you want a thicker pesto. Add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 1.25 cups or 10.5 oz

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes