Some of my Favorite (Time and $$ Saving) Kitchen Tips

I pulled up my blog the other day and saw that it consistently gets hundreds of viewers every day.  I was humbled and grateful to see this so I wanted to say a formal THANK YOU to all of you who use my blog as a resource and share it with people you know.

I have a passion for health and for cooking and love sharing the recipes I make in my own kitchen.  Like many of you, I have a very busy schedule so I am always looking for easy meals to make and time-saving tricks to make the job easier.  Here are some of my favorites:

Wet Chop – this is an amazing tip for chopping things like onions, celery, cauliflower (think cauliflower rice) or carrots when you need a lot of them.  I often cook for hundreds of people at a time so this trick is an absolute necessity.  Simply chop the vegetables into large chunks and put them in a Vitamix or high powered blender.  Fill the blender with water to cover the vegetables and start on low then increase the speed.  The higher the speed, the smaller the chop.  Typically, I will go to a 4 on the Vitamix to get a nice dice.  When done, simply drain the veggies into a strainer and they are ready for your recipe.  Here is a how-to video.

Freezer Staples – There are some things I always have on hand in the freezer.  I started doing this when I found I was having to throw away things because I wasn’t using them fast enough.  Peppers – bell peppers, jalepenos, poblanos, etc.  I slice them up and put them in a freezer bag to pop out for fajitas, stir frys, soups, and to add a bit of spice to my recipes.  Ginger – I will buy a giant piece of ginger and put it in a bag and right into the freezer.  When I need it, I pull it out, peel a portion, and microplane it. Another trick with ginger is to use a spoon to take the peel off. Berries- organic berries can go bad very quickly so before the do, I lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze them (if you try to put them all in a bag together while they are fresh, they clump together).  Once frozen, you can throw them into a bag together.  Bones – I will take the bones/carcasses of whole turkey, chicken, t-bones, etc and put them in the freezer.  When I have enough accumulated, I make bone broth. See recipe here.

DIY Money Savers – Many people say that eating healthy is too expensive so I am always looking for budget tips.  One of my favorites is to do things myself that the stores charge a premium for.  For example, you will pay extra to buy shredded cheese as opposed to shredding it yourself.  The other benefit to this is that you avoid the added ingredients they have to use to keep the cheese “separated”.  You can get grass-fed cheese and grate it yourself when you need it.  Another great example is to buy bone-in meats.  Again, when you buy boneless, skinless meats, you are paying for that service.  It is much cheaper and healthier to cook meats with the bones (plus you will have them to make bone broth with afterward).  If you must have a boneless cut, you can de-bone it yourself easily at home with a good knife.  Some grocery store butchers will even do it for you if you ask.  That way, you pay the lower price but still get what you want.  There are so many new and convenient products in the produce section as well.  Rather than picking up the riced cauliflower, the chopped lettuce, the chopped green beans, etc.  Buy the whole item and do it yourself.  You can save a lot of money this way.

Cook Once, Eat Twice – Cook with the intention of having leftovers.  Since you are spending time in the kitchen anyway, it is not any harder to make extra to have for another meal.  You can eat it for lunch the next day or have a second dinner.

Make Your Own Nut Butters and Nut Milks – If you have a Vitamix or high powered blender, it is simple to make your own nut butter.  Simply put the nuts in the Vitamix and blend until desired consistency.  To make your own nut milk, simply soak the nuts overnight and drain.  Put them in the blender with some water and then drain with a nut milk strainer to get rid of the skins. Both of these are quick, easy and will save you a ton of money.

Healthify Your Soups – You can blend cooked cauliflower to add to soups.  This makes a nice, creamy addition to any soup and adds an extra punch of nutrition.

Oven Turkey Bacon – I found that when cooking for a crowd or making multiple breakfast items, it can be labor intensive to stand over a skillet frying bacon.  I started putting it right into the oven.  For easy clean up, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cook bacon at 350 degrees to desired doneness.  Be sure to flip it over when done on one side.

Oven Meatballs – Meatballs can be very labor intensive, from rolling the balls to standing over a pan making sure they don’t burn or fall apart, it is a process.  I started using the oven to my advantage when making meatballs.  I simply put the meatballs into a baking dish (ideally, you want them spaced a bit) and bake until done, turning them over a couple of times.  When done, you can either drain the drippings or use them to make a gravy.  My favorite meatball recipe is for Swedish Meatballs.

Tenderizing Grass-Fed Meats – I’ve had many people tell me that their grass-fed meats are tough.  Slow cooking things like roasts, oxtails, and short ribs make these cuts of meats very tender and juicy.  However, for steaks, I like to use a Jaccard Tenderizer.  It works perfectly every time and makes for a nice, tender steak.

Add an Omega-3 Punch – I have fallen in love with the little hairy guys I wouldn’t have touched with a 10-ft pole in the past – ANCHOVIES!  I can eat them right out of the can now but many people just can’t so here is my trick.  Heat a bit of oil (avocado is preferable but if you use olive oil- DO NOT let it smoke.  You should not heat olive oil very much at all).  Throw in some anchovies and stir for a few minutes.  They disintegrate into nothing and you are left with a salty, smoky infused oil that is LOADED with healthy omega-3’s.  You can then pour it over salad or veggies or use it in soup.

I hope these tips help you in your kitchen and again, thank you so much for your support!

Be blessed

Chicken Shawarma

Core & Advanced Plan

Serves 4

This is an amazing middle eastern dish that has just the right amount of spice and heat.  The combination of spices on the chicken along with the cool, tanginess of the sauce and crunch of the lettuce is amazing.  It is typically served on flatbread but for this recipe, I replaced it with grain-free tortillas or lettuce leaves.

You can use a skillet (preferably cast iron) for indoor cooking or a grill or griddle for outdoor cooking.  I find my Blackstone griddle to produce the best results.

2 lbs free range, organic chicken thigh fillets , skinless and boneless

Marinade

1 large garlic clove , minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cardamon
1 tablespoon ground coriander or curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika (preferably smoked)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/8 teaspoon Black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp avocado oil

Sauce

1 cup organic sour cream or greek yogurt
1 clove garlic , minced
1 teaspoon cumin
Splash of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve with

6 grain free tortillas (Siete or Mikey’s Brand)
Organic lettuce, shredded or used as a pita
Tomato slices

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag (or bowl). Add the chicken and make sure each piece is coated very well. Marinate for a few hours to overnight.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix. Cover and put in the fridge until ready to serve.

Heat grill or pan on medium high. Place chicken on the grill and cook the first side for 4 to 5 minutes until it starts to brown and caramelize, then turn and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove chicken from the grill and cover loosely with foil. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes then slice or cut into chunks.  Pour any juices that remain over top of the chicken.

Put some of the sauce on the tortilla or lettuce then add the chicken and tomatoes.  Enjoy.

Carrot Cake – Keto

Advanced & Core Plan

Serves 8

This is a healthified version of a classic.  Although you don’t want to be eating a lot of carrots on the Advanced Plan or Keto diet, having them in moderation is fine.  This cake is moist and tasty and presents well in a cast iron pan for a rustic look.

Cake

2 3/4 cups almond flour
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups granulated monkfruit sweetener or erythritol or xylitol
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 large organic eggs
1/2 cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk
2 cups grated carrots
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces

Icing:

1 8oz block organic cream cheese
1 cup powdered monkfruit sweetener or erythritol or xylitol
½ cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Preheat the oven to 350° F
Grease a 10.5 inch cast iron skillet with coconut oil or butter or line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine all of the cake ingredients, mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Bake for 60 minutes.  When there are 20 minutes left, cover the cake with foil to avoid burning on the top. Cool completely before frosting.
To prepare the frosting, combine the cream cheese, monkfruit sweetener, and heavy whipping cream in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on high until light and fluffy. Ice the cake then sprinkle with pecan pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Grass Fed Ribeye Roast – Prime Rib

Advanced Plan

Serves 3-4

This is a fabulous, exclusive restaurant-style dish.  It is much simpler than it looks and is perfect for a holiday feast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-5 lb grass fed standing rib roast
1 onion, quartered
1 head garlic, sliced in half
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Herb Butter Rub

1 stick grass fed butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Red Wine Sauce

Drippings and vegetables from roast
1 cup grass fed beef stock or free range chicken stock
2 cups red wine
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

Take the roast out of the refrigerator about 2 hours before you are ready to cook it to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the Herb Butter Rub ingredients together in a small bowl.

Place the onions, halved garlic, and herb sprigs in the bottom of a glass baking dish.

Rub the Herb Butter mixture on the back side of the roast (bone side).  Flip it over and place on top of vegetables in roasting pan.  Rub the rest of the mixture over the top and sides of the roast.    The temperature will raise about 5-7 degrees as it sits.

Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes in the 450 degree oven.  When timer goes off, turn oven heat down to 250 degrees.  Roast for another 1.5 to 2 hours.  (see below for internal temperatures)

  • Rare – 120°F. Remove from oven when it is 115°F.
  • Medium rare – 125°F. Remove from oven when it is 118°F.  (IDEAL TEMPERATURE)
  • Medium – 130°F. Remove from oven at 125°F.
  • Medium well done –  135°F. Remove from oven at 127°F.

Take the roast out of the roasting pan and put on a cutting board and cover and let sit for 30 minutes (the roast will continue to cook)

To make the wine sauce, transfer everything from the roasting pan to a saucepan and add the wine and broth.  When slightly heated, add a spoonful of the liquid to the arrowroot powder in a small bowl and mix.  Then add it to the saucepan (this will prevent lumping). Cook until reduced to the desired consistency.

Pan Fried Grass Fed Cube Steaks

Core & Advanced Plan

Serves3-4 people

These are similar to chicken fried steak but without all of the flour.  It is a very fast and tasty dish if you are lucky enough to find grass-fed cube steaks in the store.  I served these with grilled asparagus and mashed cauliflower.

4-6 grass fed cube steaks
1/4 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon high quality paprika
dash ground nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grass fed butter

Combine all of the ingredients except cube steaks and butter in a small dish.  Generously salt and pepper the steaks on both sides.  Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the steaks and use your hands to cover them thoroughly.

Heat butter in a pan and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.  Do not crowd the pan.  If the steaks are too large for the pan, do it in two separate batches keeping the first batch warm in a 200 degree oven.

Raw Veggie Salad with Peanut Dressing

This is a great raw veggie recipe.  It reminds me of a spring roll without the roll but it is loaded with crunch and nutrition, plus it is delicious!

 

 

Peanut Dressing

 

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos tamari
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small sliver of fresh ginger
  • 2-4 teaspoons of erythritol, adjust to desired taste
  • 1/3 cup organic peanut butter (check ingredients for no sugar or oils)

Raw Veggie Salad

 

  • 1 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced thin and halved
  • 1/2 cup organic red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 2 cups organic cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1/3 cup scallions
  • 1/2 cup organic peanuts or cashews, chopped

Mix all dressing ingredients in a high powered blender until mixed (keep in a mason jar so you can easily re-mix it if it separates) and set aside.

Arrange all raw veggies in a bowl or on a plate and drizzle with peanut dressing.  Top with chopped scallions and nuts.