Steamed Radishes with Mixed Veggies

I wasn’t entirely sure whether to title this veggie side dish recipe for strictly radishes or for the hodgepodge of other veggies that joined in on the fun for this particular side….so don’t be thrown off.  Yes, radishes are vegetables, too – I know.  Let’s just say that I credit them as the inspiration of this post, as it was a new food ingredient for me to work with. 

I ordered a CSA vegetable package that was presented as a deal on GiltTaste from who-knows-what farm out in Ohio, in hopes I’d be forced to reckon with some not-yet-experimented-upon veggies.  Radishes are just not something I had attempted to prepare before (sure, easy enough – but just not usually my first grab at the veggie counter).  Plus, they look like they could take some serious prep time, the dirty little suckers.

But shame on me for assuming – these weren’t so difficult! And they turned out super tasty when steamed! I might just restock my basket next grocery run…

Ingredients:
Radishes (however many you desire!)
Mixed veggies (I find that carrots, squash/zucchini work best for steaming)
Salt & Pepper
Ghee (or butter)

Directions:

  • Over high heat, place a pot of water (in a pot large enough to accommodate a steamer basket insert), and bring to a boil.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the radishes off in a colander.  Use a paper towel to rub any leftover dirt from the outside.

  • With a small paring knife remove the ends.
  • Peel off the first outside layer of red (I will admit I left some of mine on, and these tasted just as well).

  • Cut up any other veggies, if any, that you wish to include with the radishes.
  • Season and toss veggies with salt and pepper (and any other seasonings, if desired).
  • When the water has reached a boil, place the veggies in the steamer insert, partially covering the pot with a lid.

  • Steam for 10-15 minutes, to desired tenderness, removing the lid to stir occasionally.
  • When finished, remove the steamer basket of veggies from the pot and let sit in the sink (or empty its contents into a colander first, if not a free-standing steamer basket).
  • Top the steaming veggies with a scoop of ghee, and toss to coat.  Season with more salt & pepper for taste, as desired.
  • Plate, and enjoy!

Mini Butternut Squash Pizzas

 

Butternut squash pizzas with pesto, tomato, and fresh basil

Mmm Pizza! One thing I tend to crave with frequency on my cheat days! There are a slew of different methods slow-carbers have put out there in an attempt to bridge that deep, dark 6-day void left by some distant pizza memory; and I fully intend to try some of them out to see how close I can get to slow-carb “pizza”  ……Eventually…   But this one was simple enough to give it a shot right away.  Plus, I had half of a butternut squash left over from the jalapeno cheddar quiche that I had just made.  Have you SEEN the size of a butternut squash?! Resources, people! Use ’em up.

I stumbled upon this grain-free mini pizzas recipe while internet browsing on some grain-free (yep, go figure!) recipe sites.  I am glad to have found this one, as it works rather well as a fun, somewhat unique, little veggie side dish.  And thes are not all that time-consuming to make, either (bonus!). And, of course, as it goes with pizza, the topping combination possibilities are endless.  I’m a big fan of using up whatever veggies I have in that fridge of mine.

Crust it up.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash (use all, or some, depending on how many mini-pizzas you intend to make)
Marinara, tomato, or pesto sauce (keep an eye on the sugar content!)
1 tomato
Fresh basil leaves
Any other toppings that you’d like!
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Coconut oil or ghee, for cooking

Directions:

  • Using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, peel or cut away the thick outer skin of the butternut squash.
  • With a mandolin or sharp paring knife, slice the squash into thin disks or rounds (around 1/4 of an inch thick).
  • Prepare any veggies you plan to use as toppings and set them beside the stove.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a non-stick fry pan over medium-low heat.
  • Add squash slices and cover the pan with a lid.  Check the squash after 3 minutes.  If they are starting to turn a little brown, flip them over.  Cover and continue cooking the other side of the squash for another 3 minutes. 
  • Add sauce (if using sauce) and any other toppings.  Season with Salt and Pepper, to taste.  Cover for a few minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mini pizzas to cool some.
  • Then…I think you know what to do.

Jalapeno Cheddar Quiche with a Butternut Squash Crust


A quiche treat! My husband came across this recipe on the web, and we were both pretty eager to try it out.  Now, I’ll admit it…I do have a fault of being a bit too much of a stickler when it comes to the 4-HB rules; so, at first, I was a little wary of the small amount of cheddar cheese involved in the recipe.  But these things are fine on the occasion; and if you’re going to use cheese, sharp cheddar is one of the best choices!

All hesitations aside, we prepared this quiche and had a slice with our dinner that evening.  It was rich and delicious! Seriously.  So much flavor! And suffice it to say, I am impressed with how well butternut squash slices worked to make the crust at the bottom.  I think this method just might be featured in several other food creations in the very near future.

Here’s to melt-in-your mouth eggy goodness:

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (you’ll use half)
Coconut oil or EVOO (for greasing pie pan)
5 eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 jalapenos or serano peppers

Directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
  • Roast the jalapenos or seranos in the part of the oven closest to the heat source.  After about 3 minutes, turn the peppers over and continue roasting for another 3 minutes.  The sides of the peppers will become slightly blackened.

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Once cooled, peel off the outer skin and scrape out the seeds.  Discard the skin, seeds, and the stem.  Finely dice the remaining peppers and set aside.

  • Peel off the thick outer skin of the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife (the skin will be tough!).  Slice off the squash ends and discard with peel.
  • Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the squash into very thin rounds.
  • Lightly coat the bottom of a pie pan with coconut oil or olive oil and place butternut squash rounds in the bottom of the pan, and up along the sides.  For the sides, you may need to slice the rounds into halves to fit.

  • Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onions and sliced mushrooms and saute until softened, and onions translucent.  Pull off of the heat source and set to the side.

Husband sauteeing up a storm.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the coconut milk.  Add the cheddar cheese and whisk again.  Add the sautéed onions and mushrooms to the bowl, along with the peppers.  Stir to combine.

  • Pour filling into the butternut squash-lined pie pan. 
  • With oil, lightly brush the exposed edges of the butternut squash.

  • Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes (I would recommend placing the pie dish on a baking pan in the case of overflowing).  If an inserted knife comes out clean, it is finished!
  • Finally, allow the quiche to cool.  Then…slice and serve!

Grilled Garlic Butter Zucchini and Onions

Oh man, have I a mouth-watering side to share.  It’s so garlic-stinkin’ easy, too; and truly ideal when you already have the grill going with whatever else your delicious cuisine entails!

Ingredients:
Zucchini (as much as you’d like)
Yellow Onions (ditto!)
Garlic cloves. minced (about 1-2, per large zucchini…or more!)
Butter
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Cut zucchini into large cubes; cut off the ends of the onions and peel off the outer layer, leaving them intact.

  • Tear off a few sheets of aluminum foil large enough to eventually form “packages” for the zucchini and onions.  Place the zucchini pieces and onions on separate sheets.

  • Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle minced garlic over top of the pile of zucchini cubes and onions, and top with a slice of butter.

  • Fold aluminum foil to form a package, making sure that there are no open areas exposed.  Pinch foil edges to seal.

  • Place on the grill over medium-high heat, approximately 12-15 minutes.

  • Remove from the grill and let sit for a couple of minutes.  Then, unwrap the foil, being careful not to let the juices from the butter spill all over your kitchen, and plate the zucchini and onion pieces.

Tender to the touch! Now how’s that for a rich, tasty side delicacy?

Squash Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

This might not necessarily qualify as a brand new recipe, but more of a build-off of the recently posted standard squash noodle method.  This just takes these noodles a step further by preparing, and tossing them with, sautéed/stir-fried veggies.

This is my absolute favorite way to prepare squash noodles.  It’s a fantastic way to use up any remaining veggies in your fridge toward the end of the grocery week.  Call it, “shopping your fridge,” if you will!  But even more importantly – it’s a great way to get a good mix of vegetables in with your meal! Veggies are good for you, kiddos! Haven’t you heard?

So – if you’ve already read through (and perhaps even mastered for yourself!) the squash noodles recipe, you can probably skip over some of the beginning preparation below.  But for the sake of consistency, and for any new recipe-surfers out there; I’ve included the full process.

Ingredients:
1-2 large yellow squash, zucchini squash, or eggplant (all work well for this)
1 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil), separated
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (contingent upon your preference of spiciness!)
Hodgepodge of chop-able veggies

Directions:

  • Wash and pat dry the squash or eggplant.
  • With a vegetable peeler, peel away the thick outer skin and discard
  • Once you have removed the outer skin, continue using your vegetable peeler along the full length of the squash to peel away into fettucine-like sized strands. (Tip: I find the best way to maintain full-length strands is by laying the squash down on its side on the cutting board, and pulling the peeler along, horizontally – rather than holding the squash as you peel)
  • Continue to rotate the squash as you peel away the strands, so your “noodles” remain somewhat uniform
  • Stop peeling once you reach the seeds, as the seedy strands will become mushy in the cooking process (I usually end up either chopping up the remaining vegetable to toss into a stir-fry for mixing with the noodles, or save it to chop up into a salad, later…I just hate wasting anything!)
  • Season the noodles with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you wish
  • Put plate aside, and chop up your veggies for the stir-fry.  (My standards: red or yellow onion, assorted bell peppers, broccoli, spinach leaves, jalapeno, sliced mushrooms, the remainder of the squash/eggplant post de-noodling).
  • In a medium frying pan, over medium-high heat, add the first 1/2 tbsp coconut oil. Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the veggies and minced garlic, and saute for about 5-7 minutes until vegetables become soft.
  • Once almost cooked to completion, dump the contents into a paper plate to sit while you cook the noodles (below).
  • Using the same frying pan as was used to cook the veggies, heat the second 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the squash strands.
  • Saute the noodles in the pan, pushing them around frequently for 2 minutes as they cook in the oil.  The squash will turn a bright color when finished, and will have become limp and noodle-like.  2 minutes is all it takes, and your noodles are complete!
  • Once the squash noodles are almost at that 2-minute mark, I then dump the stir-fried veggie contents from the paper plate, back into the pan with the noodles, and toss briefly together to combine and reheat.
  • You’re now fully ready to distribute the oh-so-colorful mix of veggies & noodles onto your plates to enjoy! Hooray!!

Squash Noodles: Quite Simply

So – to my knowledge thus far, there are 2 pretty good ways of imitating noodles for your 4HB dish.  The spaghetti squash method; and a quicker, and probably my favorite method:  the standard squash noodle method.  Yep, at word-value, you’re probably wondering what distinction I’m pretending to make, here.  Keep on reading, oh skeptical one.

Squash noodles are so easy.  So quick.  And so good.  And they are a great way to cram those extra veggies in, all the while fulfilling that little pasta craving that has been creeping up on you somewhere mid-way between your cheat days.  A great thing about “pasta,” too, is that there are so many different variations your  course can take.  Serve as a side, or top with a chicken breast or filet of fish!

Plain and simple:

Ingredients:
1-2 large yellow squash, zucchini squash, or eggplant (all work well for this)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Any other seasonings

Directions:

  • Wash and pat dry the squash or eggplant.
  • With a vegetable peeler, peel away the thick outer skin and discard
  • Once you have removed the outer skin, continue using your vegetable peeler along the full length of the squash to peel away into fettucine-like sized strands. (Tip: I find the best way to maintain full-length strands is by laying the squash down on its side on the cutting board, and pulling the peeler along, horizontally – rather than holding the squash as you peel)
  • Continue to rotate the squash as you peel away the strands, so your “noodles” remain somewhat uniform
  • Stop peeling once you reach the seeds, as the seedy strands will become mushy in the cooking process (I usually end up either chopping up the remaining vegetable to toss into a stir-fry for mixing with the noodles, or save it to chop up into a salad, later…I just hate wasting anything!)
  • Season the noodles with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you wish
  • Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the squash strands.
  • Saute the noodles in the pan, pushing them around frequently for 2 minutes as they cook in the oil.  The squash will turn a bright color when finished, and will have become limp and noodle-like.  2 minutes is all it takes, and it’s ready!
  • Eat plain, or top with 4HB-friendly marinara or pesto sauce, or with a mix of stir-fried veggies.

Garlic Cauliflower “Faux Mashed Potatoes”

Who other than myself misses a big heaping pile of smooth, warm mashed potatoes on their plate? We’ve been grilling more steaks these days while on the 4HB; but I have to confess that steaks just taste better with a wholloping side of garlic mashed potatoes. There’s just something about that combo!

When I was initially exploring more variety in meals within the 4HB scope, cauliflower mashed potatoes came up quite a bit in my internet searches.  At that point, I wasn’t quite bored enough yet with our current meal plans to really miss mashed potatoes that much; but naturally, I did still want to give it a shot.  It tasted good and all, for being seasoned cauliflower – but in no way did it turn out like mashed potatoes! Maybe I didn’t follow the recipe correctly.  I wouldn’t put it past myself – sometimes I’m just a little too impatient.  So I accepted my recipe fail and stuck to other sides. 

Then – I stumbled upon a paleo site that delivered a very different method for making cauliflower mashed potatoes.  It held the golden ticket of all that is good in the world of cauliflower “faux mashed potatoes.”  This is pretty much as close as you’re going to get to the make-believe mashed potatoes, my friends! It’s pretty darn close, for sure.  And – it’s completely re-heatable.  I’ve not come across much on the side front that is worth considering nuking for a round two. And I could swear that eating these actually seems filling (perhaps it’s just that potato memory ringing in the back of my head).  But irregardless of reasoning, I have no trouble saving some leftovers with this one.  Thank you, for posting this recipe, new hero!

I’m seriously excited to spread the word on this side dish recipe.

Ingredients:
1 large head cauliflower
5-6 garlic cloves
Salt
2 tbsp butter (grass-fed, if you have it)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • In a large pot, with a steamer insert, fill with about 1 inch of water and heat on high heat to boil.  Wash the cauliflower.

  • While you’re waiting for the water to boil, chop up the head of cauliflower into smaller florets and stems. Slice up your garlic cloves into just a few pieces, per clove – these will be further blended down later in the food processor.

  • Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower pieces and garlic slices into the steamer and season with salt (don’t be shy).  Cover with a lid and steam for at least 10 minutes. A little more won’t hurt anything, but this should be all you need.

  • Dump into a colander to drain.

  • Then, pour the contents of your colander into a food processor, fitted with a steel blade.
  • Add ground pepper, nutmeg, and butter.
  • Process everything until completely smooth. Add any other seasonings that you desire, and it’s ready to go!

It’s still really warm at this stage in the process, too, so ready to serve! But however (or whenever) you so choose to enjoy this creamy concoction, you can seal it up in a microwaveable container and store in the fridge for a few days, until that time comes.  When you’re ready to enjoy it, just heat it up for a few minutes, stirring once or twice during the microwaving process to evenly distribute the heat.

Spaghetti Squash – Faux Spaghetti Noodles

Spaghetti squash as a side dish with grilled steak, steamed shrimp, and garlic cauliflower faux "mashed potatoes".

In an effort to create good meal variety and to attempt to curb some of those oh-so-yummy carb cravings felt so dearly during the non-cheat days of the 4HB lifestyle, there are some options out there that get pretty darn close, for what it’s worth.  When it comes to imitating pasta, you have to give squash credit where credit is due.  There are actually a few different methods for making faux pasta noodles; but for now, let’s just talk spaghetti.  And the product by which to make this work, naturally happens to be none other than the good ol’ spaghetti squash.  Get it? Thought you might.

The first time I attempted this recipe was my first time even using spaghetti squash, at all.  Of course I had overlooked it numerous times, previously, in the store; I mean – what a BEAST! But guess what – it turned out not quite as scary as I had originally cracked it up to be.  Yep – this is just how we learn things.

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. You will find that this type of squash is very tough to cut; so the easiest way, I’ve found, is to push the knife down vertically through the center along the squash’s side, and slowly lean pressure to either side along the length to begin easing into that horizontal cut.

Once you have successfully halved the squash, scoop out the center area with the seeds, and discard.

Drizzle olive oil onto the opened halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Turn the halves face-side-down onto a tin foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 45-50 min.  (note: you’ll notice I did not use tin foil, below; however, in retrospect, while tin foil is certainly not a necessity, I could have bypassed the cleaning of the pan! Booo cleaning; yay just cooking).

Remove the pan from the oven and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes, allowing the squash to cool down some before handling.

When cool enough to handle, scrape the inside of each squash half lengthwise with a fork; and long, thin strings resembling spaghetti noodles will peel right out.

Spaghetti squash, itself, does not have much taste, so I would recommend topping it with some marinara sauce or pesto (as 4HB-friendly as possible!), or even a good solid shake of your favorite seasoning(s).  Serve immediately, while still warm.

Rainbow Chard Salad

Lately, I’ve been digging the idea of famers markets.  Usually I just do all of my grocery shopping at the local Trader Joe’s or Henry’s, but there’s just something nice and simple-like about hitting up a local farmers market on the weekend, checking the wide array of vegetables, fruits, etc.  And hey, you get to support local farmers in the process! I guess we’re not really on the fruit train anymore on 4HB lifestyle, but I can definitely go nuts over all the yummy vegetables! One lovely summer’s arrival-tease sort of Sundays, my husband and I decided to check out the La Jolla Farmers Market.  A pretty good one, if I do say so myself! Anyway, several of the vendors had, on their displays, the most beautiful bunches of rainbow chard, and I immediately wanted to find a way to use it.  I swear it was maybe a week earlier that I was watching the cooking show, Chopped, and I remembered they had rainbow chard in their baskets.  So maybe it was on my mind just a little.  But oh so pretty; time to figure out how to work this little culinary riddle! After a little internet dancing, I crossed upon a couple different ideas and landed upon a simple enough recipe.

Now let’s uncover this little pot of gold…

Ingredients:
1 bunch rainbow chard
Water and pot for boiling
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon wedge

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse the chard under cool water, making sure to remove any remaining dirt from the stems and leaves.

Separate the stems from the leaves.  The stems are much tougher and firmer than the leaves; therefore, these will naturally take a little more cooking time to soften enough to a level that will ultimately complement the wilted leaves well.

Cook the stems in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  Then, add the leaves and continue to cook for another 7-8 minutes.

Drain and rinse with cold water.  Press out as much water as you can with the back of a spoon or put in a salad spinner to release some of the extra moisture.  Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and toss with salt, pepper, and a few squeezes of lemon juice – then plate it up as a tasty, colorful, and deliciously healthy side dish.

Rainbow Chard Salad with Slow Cooked Chuck Roast

 link to:  Slow Cooked Chuck Roast