Roasted Mojo Cuban Pork with Garlic Green Beans

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I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by this recipe.  It had a lot of mint in it and I have never really eaten meat marinated with mint leaves before.  In fact, I really did not want to have to buy that much mint, in case this recipe turned out to be a complete disaster, so I just used dried mint leaves instead.  Next time, I am definitely going to buy the fresh stuff.  The marinade had an awesome zing to it and it really tenderized the meat well allowing it to brown up at a high temperate without drying out.  I cannot wait to try it again and make a couple adjustments.  This recipe does take some time, but you have to keep in mind it is time that you can still be doing whatever you need because it is mainly just put the pork roast in a bag with the marinade overnight, or all day, and then cooking it.  You just need to prep in advance and you definitely will not regret it.  New staple 🙂 I love finding those 🙂  I found this recipe on The Food Charlatan.  It is her Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork.

I chose to make garlic green beans with my pork because it is one of my husband’s favorite side dishes.  They are super easy and as long as you do not burn the garlic they will be gone in a couple minutes.  Left overs were definitely not happening with this meal 🙂

Below are both the recipes:

Cuban Mojo Roast Pork

Ingredients

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced oregano (2 teaspoons dried oregano)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and pepper
3 and 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, in one piece*
Instructions

If you have a food processor: Add the orange juice, cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and smashed (not minced) garlic cloves, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. Add this mixture to a ziplock bag, along with the rest of the oil, zest, lime juice, oregano, and cumin.
If you don’t have a food processor: In a large ziplock bag, combine olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, lime juice, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, minced garlic, oregano, and cumin. Shake it around a bit to mix it up, then add the pork shoulder.
Place the zipped up bag in a baking dish, and put it in the fridge overnight, or several hours at least.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a wire rack (I used a cooking rack) over a rimmed baking sheet.
Place the pork on the rack and discard the marinade. Salt and pepper the pork well.
Roast the pork for 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned.
Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. Roast for another 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160.
Transfer to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest at least 20 minutes.
Carve against the grain and serve.

Garlic Green Beans

Ingredients

1 lb Green Beans (ends cut off and rinsed)
3 cloves of garlic (minced or put through a garlic press)
2 TBSP Fresh Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
1-2 TSBP of Butter
2 TBSP Olive Oil

1. Place the rinsed prepped beans in a shallow dish that is microwave safe. Cover just the bottom of dish with water about a cup and then cover with saran wrap and poke a couple of holes in the top with a knife.
2. Put it in the microwave for about 6 minutes. Until the green beans have blanched (softened) You can also, if you have time, boil some water and blanch the green beans. This just happens to be a trick I learned over time that is just as good and a lot less of a hassle.
3. While the beans are in the microwave, get out your cast iron skillet and pour the olive oil into the skillet and turn the heat to medium.
4. Once the beans are done, drain them and dry them a little so that you do not cause the oil to spit to much with excess water. If you have a screen for you pan, this would be a great time to use it.
5. Put the beans in the skillet and saute until they are browned a bit. Usually takes about 15-20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to mid-low and let saute for another 5-10 minutes. When you are about to serve, add the salt, pepper, butter, and garlic. Saute until the garlic is golden brown and then remove to place and sprinkle with chopped up parsley.

Baked Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Pesto

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Well last week was not as eventful as I had hoped.  Per usual, our family came down with another cold.  Winter always tends to bring out the worse in us.  Little hands and lots of other little hands plus germs is never a good equation in our house.  Either way, we are all pretty much back to normal and me, I am getting back into the kitchen, and tonight’s meal turned out awesome.  I decided to use the rest of the roasted garlic and artichoke pesto that was left over from last weeks chicken dish and instead of stuffing it in to the chicken I decided to put it on top.  I also felt like last weeks chicken recipe was good but the chicken turned out dry, even though it had been stuffed with goodness.  So I decided to marinate it and the end result was delicious.  I made a side of Roasted Garlic Broccoli and it was the perfect simple side for this dish.  This is totally an easy week night meal and I will definitely be making this one a staple of mine, especially since the pesto freezes really well and I can make it in bulk.

For those of you following a certain type of diet, this recipe is gluten free.  If you want it to be Paleo eliminate the mozzarella at the end.  It will be just at good, I promise 🙂

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For those of us that have had a case of the Monday’s….I have included the aperitif that I enjoyed immensely tonight 🙂  Whiskey Sour !

Recipes Below :

Baked Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Pesto

  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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1 cup Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Pesto from last weeks stuffed Chicken
2 Chicken Breast
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 Lemon Juice
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
3-5 Cloves Garlic (minced depending on your taste)
4 TBSP finely Chopped Onion (preferable shallots)
2 TBSP chopped Parsley
1 cup shredded Mozzarella

1. In a zip lock bag, add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and parsley. Close the bag and mix the contents up a bit.
2. Add the Chicken to the bag and let sit in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Cover a pan with aluminium foil and grease it up with olive oil. Place the chicken, that has been marinating in the fridge, onto the baking sheet.
5. Spoon the Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Pesto on the top of each chicken breast evenly.
6. Separate the mozzarella in two and add to the top of the chicken breasts.
7. Since the chicken has been in the fridge for a long time it is best to let it sit out of the fridge on the baking sheet for at least 20 to 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
8. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.
9. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Juices should run clear and chicken should be cooked through.
10. Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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3 broccoli crowns cut up into smaller pieces (cleaned)
2 tbsp butter (I use grassfed butter)
Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper
Garlic Powder

1. In a roasting pan, add the rinsed broccoli and pour just enough olive oil to toss the broccoli in.
2. Sprinkle to taste (1-2 tsp of salt) on the broccoli as well as the same of pepper. Toss again
3. Sprinkle to taste 1-2 tsp’s of garlic powder and toss one last time.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out after 15 minutes and make sure to toss and then put back in.
5. Hint: I added this into the oven with the chicken and just stirred it once half way through. I then added it back into the oven for the last 10 minutes needed after the chicken had come out and was cooling down.

Whiskey Sour

4 Large Lemons
8 Limes
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Whiskey to taste (I use makers mark)
Cherries

1. Squeeze the juice out of 4 Large Lemons and 8 Limes. Reserve.
2. In a saucepan, put 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. On medium heat dissolve the sugar and you have simple syrup. Let it cool.
3. Add the cooled simple syrup to the lemon and lime juice.
4. In a cocktail shaker, add 1 shot lemon/lime mixture to 1 shot of Whiskey. Shake up with ice and add to a cocktail glass with a cherry in the bottom.

 

Spatchcocked Roast Chicken with Herbed Cauliflower Mash

 

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Okay I know what you are thinking….What the heck is “Spatchcocked”?  It is this new/old amazing way to cook a chicken or turkey fast, more moist, and yes, more delicious! Cooking the chicken this way allows for more surface area to be touched evenly by the heat in the oven, which makes for an all over more crispy crust.  Just look for yourself:

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Every part of that chicken ended up being perfectly crisp.  My husband was in love.  I know your next question…how is it don?  It may seem daunting at first, but it is super easy.  You just have to cut out the back bone with a good pair of cooking shears.  Below is a great tutorial from the NY Times. Just click on the link and watch how it is done. You will be hooked, I promise. 🙂 Oh did I mention it cooks up a lot faster then a regular chicken!

Spatchcock Tutorial from NY Times

Here is my recipe:

Spatchcocked Roasted Chicken

  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: medium
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Spatchcocked Roast Chicken

4 lb Chicken
Poultry Seasoning
Salt
Pepper
Butter (About 3 to 4 TBSP)

1.Preheat oven to 400 and grease a pan big enough to hold the chicken flattened out
2.Cut the backbone out of the chicken with a pair of sharp cooking sheers
3.Rinse the chicken under water and then pat dry with paper towels.
4.Place chicken on greased pan
5.Melt the butter and push some of the butter under the skin of the breasts and legs
6.Use the rest of the melted butter to coat the outside of the skin.
7.Sprinkle, generously, the outside of the skin with the herbs
8.Cook 12 minutes per pound or for a 4 lb chicken 48 minutes. Basted with butter half way through cooking.
9.Take out of the oven and cover with foil for 8 minutes and then slice and serve 🙂

Enjoy!!!

Well now that I have peaked your interest, here is the full rundown of the menu from tonight.  The spatchcocked chicken turned out awesome.  It was juicy and it only needed to cook at 400 in the oven for 12 minutes per pound.  I had a 4 pound chicken so that was 48 minutes in the oven.  I put melted butter under the skin of the breasts and also under the skin of the legs.  I then coated the whole outside in melted butter and sprinkled generously with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder.  This recipe is fully adaptable.  Feel free to adjust or change around the seasonings to your menu or tastes.

As for the cauliflower mash….wow.  I am not sure if I completely messed it up, but wow, that was not the best side dish I have ever made for sure.  You are supposed to cook it in the slow cooker for a long time on two different levels and then drain out the fluid and mash with an immersion blender (meaning just lightly blend).  It turned out having an awful texture and tasted nothing like mashed potatoes.  Next time I am going to go my own route and try doing a turnip mash or rutabaga mash with roasted garlic and herbs.  I think it will definitely have more starch in it, which will hold together more like potatoes do, fixing that texture problem.  The mashed cauliflower in this recipe turned out to have a texture of adding eggs to too hot of water…basically curdled.  It did have a nice flavor though, so I was able to wash it down.  If you wanna give it a shot though I got the recipe from wicked spatula and the link is below.

Garlic Herb Slow Cooker Mashed Cauliflower

 

 

 

Paleo Fish and Chips with Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

Fish and chips paleo

I did not think it would possible to create a Paleo Fish and Chips recipe…I thought it would just turn out like every gluten free recipe I had tried before: time consuming and with bad results.  Gluten free recipes, I feel, rely heavily on rice flours, but those tend to be grainy and do not really form a good crust that browns up and gives you that crunch you want out of a a good fish and chips.  I was wrong though.  I researched online several recipes to get an idea of the types of flours used and then I just went for it.  I used almond flour and tapioca flour/starch.  The almond flour added awesome flavor and the tapioca flour really helped create that glue needed for the batter to stick well to the fish.  You can use either light olive oil or avocado oil to fry the fish in and you do not need to fill the pot all the way up just about 3 to 4 cups just to meet the fish half way up the size and then you can flip it half way through the cooking.

Paleo Fish and Chips with Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 Cod Filets – washed and dried with a paper towel
1/4  cup Tapioca Starch/Flour  + 2 or 3 TBSP on the side
1/4 cup Almond Flour
1/4 tsp salt / 1/4 tsp powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup kombucha or sparkling water (takes the place of beer)
1 egg- whisked
3 – 4 cups of oil (avocado or light olive oil)

1. Put a medium size pan with the 3 to 4 cups of oil on medium heat
2. Mix in a bowl the two flours until they are well combined. Put the 2 to 3 TBSP of the Tapioca Starch aside on a plate.
3. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne powder. Mix well.
4. Add the whisked egg and mix well and then mix in the kombucha
5. Take your washed and dried cod filets and dredge them in the tapioca starch and then dip them in the the bowl of wet dredge.  Then it goes directly into the hot oil.  It should start to make bubble and popping sounds when dropped in.  Do about 2-3 minutes each side. Each side should brown up nicely and then transfer to either paper towels to dry for a couple minutes or to a wire rack.

Tartar Sauce

  • Time: 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 to 3 TBSP finely diced dill pickles
1/2 Tsp grated onion (sweet onion or shallots)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (1 pasteurized egg/1 cup light olive oil/1/4 tsp salt/2 to 3 tsp lemon juice)
1-2 tsp lemon juice

1. Mix all items in a bowl let sit for up to an hour if possible

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 25mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 sweet potatoes sliced into wedges
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 to 3 pinches of salt
pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Set oven to 400 – 425 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients except wedges in a bowl
3. Toss the potato wedges with the olive oil mix
4. Bake for 15 minutes and turning every 5 minutes


ENJOY!!  Let me know how yours goes and post pictures if you want 🙂

-Nathalie

Roasted Garlic, Artichoke, and Spinach Chicken with Ratatouille

So I have to admit, this took some time to complete.  You have to roast the head of garlic for 30 minutes, prep, with the mandolin, all the veggies, and food process the stuffing for the chicken.  After all that prep, you still have to arrange everything to go into the oven.  It took about 2 1/2 hours total for me.  I did have a small child running around so that does slow me down quite a bit, but overall this meal is not for those looking for a quick fix.  That does not, however, diminish the fact that it tastes amazing.

In my weekly menu, I mentioned that this week I was challenging myself to put some Pinterest pins to the test.  Those photos always look so delicious, but are they really?  Well this meal did not disappoint.  I would not give it 5 stars, but it comes in at 3 1/2 to 4 for me.  Which is very good still.  I felt like the stuffing was missing a little something, possibly a savory aspect, something that adds a little bit of luxury to the dish like cheese would such as bacon.  I made a double batch of the stuffing and I froze it so next week I will stuff the chicken the same way and then wrap it in bacon and see if that adds the flavor I feel like is lacking.  Also, I decided to bake the chicken instead of grilling it.  The filling was a little runny and I felt like it would not hold up on the grill.  It also was super convenient to put it in the over.  The ratatouille needs the oven for 1 hour at 350 and the chicken needs 45 minutes at the same temp.  So if you prep the chicken before the ratatouille you can put them in at the same time.  The ratatouille will come out first, thats okay.  Just pop it back in the oven for the last 5 minutes the chicken is cooking and voila everything is being served together and on time 🙂 http://popularpaleo.com/roasted-garlic-stuffed-chicken/

As for the ratatouille, it was good, but again it was missing something.  The recipe called for you to arrange the vegetables like I did in the photo above, but in doing so, it created an awkward texture.  Half of the vegetable that was submerged in the red sauce was soggy (in a good way), and the top half of the veggies almost seemed not cooked enough and crispy on top.  Next time I will add a little more of the amazing red sauce so triple the recipe of that sauce (I thought the original recipe did not call for enough this time so I doubled it, but definitely tripling it will really get those veggies submerged).  Also, if need be possible covering the dish in the very beginning for the first 15 minutes might help the top half of those veggies along.  Otherwise the recipe was really good.  Only other changes that I would make next time is to add red bell pepper.  That is an essential flavor profile missing in this ratatouille and add some thyme.  http://acleanbake.com/ratatouille/

You can find the recipe for this post on my Recipes Page!  Enjoy and make sure to leave me some comments on how you felt it turned out!

-Nathalie