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Archive for the ‘chicken’ Category

Grain-Free Game of Thrones: “Pigeon” Pie

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

So my plan for the Game of Thrones finale was to make “pigeon” pie (aka chicken pot pie), but that went out the window when I saw a pretty local leg of lamb at Whole Foods. So that’s going to be tomorrow, and the pot pie was tonight’s dinner instead. But it’ll still work great for a Game of Thrones feast!

I started with the recipe for chicken pot pie at Health-Bent. I used two small parsnips, eight baby carrots, a few garlic scapes, three purple potatoes (I’m on a bit of a carb refeed–these can be skipped if you’d like, just add more carrots and parsnips), a small Vidalia onion, some shiitake and oyster mushrooms I picked up at the farmer’s market today, and some kale leaves.


Cut all your veggies into bite-size pieces as pictured above. For the kale, remove the stems and tear the leaves into one-inch pieces. Dice the onion.

Heat up two tablespoons of oil (I used coconut, but olive oil or bacon grease would work) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a pound of bite-size chicken breast pieces and sprinkle them with salt and black pepper. Cook them for three minutes, then turn and cook for another three minutes.


Remove the chicken and put it in a bowl for now. Add two more tablespoons of oil, and then add the veggies–root vegetables on the bottom, kale and mushrooms on top. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of dried thyme.


Cover the pan and let the veggies cook for 15 minutes, removing the lid to stir every few minutes.

In the meantime, make your crust. I did not alter the Health-Bent version. I used a pastry blender to cut the butter in with the almond flour, then an electric beater to mix it once the egg whites were added. It will be a moist consistency, more like batter than dough.

By the time that’s done, your veggies should be close to done too. Remove the lid and add 2.5 of your 3 cups of chicken stock, stirring to scrape up anything that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan. As that simmers, add two tablespoons of tapioca flour to the remaining stock and whisk until it’s smooth. Stir that into the veggie and broth mixture, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the chicken back to the pot and continue to stir for a couple more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.


Spread the crust evenly across the top of the dish, then bake at 400 until the crust is golden brown. Health-Bent said 12-15 minutes, but mine took 25–I think my egg whites were bigger than theirs.


Mexican chicken casserole

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Heads-up–this is Preschooler’s favorite recipe. She loves this stuff even though it’s a bit spicy and is full of horrible poisonous vegetables. Things she wouldn’t dream of eating by themselves are magically delicious when put together like this.

Start by heating a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s melted and hot, add a teaspoon of oregano and a half-teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and ground coriander. Stir and toast the spices in the oil for two minutes.


Add a pound of chicken tenders and cook them for three minutes per side.


To that, add a cup of frozen pepper and onion blend and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 4-5 minutes.


Add a thoroughly drained 2.5-ounce can of sliced black olives, and 3 cups of enchilada sauce. Most canned enchilada sauce is full of crap ingredients–the best I’ve found is Rick Bayless’ bagged version, but it’s expensive–you can look around and find recipes online if you don’t want to spend a fortune. Turn the heat down to low.

While the chicken and sauce simmers, cut up a head of cauliflower and remove the core. Grate the florets using a food processor or box grater until it’s in rice-sized bits. Put it in a 11×9-inch baking dish and add another cup of enchilada sauce.


Pour the chicken and sauce mixture on top of the cauliflower rice.


Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. At that point, if you like you can remove the foil and add shredded cheddar cheese, then put it back in the oven for another ten minutes to let the cheese melt.


Serve with sliced avocado or guacamole, and sour cream if you do dairy.

An apology, and more Game of Thrones food

Monday, June 6th, 2011

First off, sorry for not posting in ages. I got an iPad 2 about…oh, a month ago, and while it’s an awesome surfing device, it’s not the best posting device. I think this is the first time I’ve opened my laptop since I got it. I’ll do my best to keep things up in the future. I spent part of last weekend out of town visiting my husband’s very large family, and one cousin mentioned that she’d been showing my food blog to her co-workers. So apparently I’m not just impressing my Facebook friends anymore.

I actually made the recipe I’m posting here about a month ago, during one of the brief moments this spring in which it wasn’t raining. We’ve actually been having a Game of Thrones themed main dish every Sunday night since the premier (in which I made the gigantic feast) and one of the earlier ones I did was Honeyed Chicken. I mean, seriously, what part of the combination of honey and chicken isn’t awesome? Back when I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was to dip KFC into the honey they served on the side. I seem to recall it being real honey and not that honey-flavored corn syrup abomination they serve now, but it could have always been that crap and I was just too young to know it. But I digress. The key point here is that honey + chicken = awesome.

Start with a whole chicken. You can either ask your butcher to spatchcock (remove the backbone) and split it, or do it yourself–there are plenty of videos on Youtube that will show you how to do it. Once it’s split, drizzle it with melted ghee (don’t use butter at this point, because the smoke point is too low) and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
spatchcocked chicken
Heat your grill to about 375. Use indirect heat here–pile all the coals on one side then put your chicken to the other side, or use the platesetter on a Big Green Egg, or do whatever you heathens who have gas grills do to get indirect. Start it off skin and meat side down. Turn it after about 20 minutes, and put a meat thermometer into the breast or thigh. You’re shooting for a final temp of 160-165 in the breast or 170-175 in the thigh.

Meanwhile, as the bird slowly gets up to temperature, melt together a couple of tablespoons of butter with a tablespoon to two tablespoons of honey. Add a splash of lemon to taste. When the bird is about 10 degrees short of final temperature, go outside and baste the skin with this mixture. You can make more for dipping if you want. During the last 10 degrees of cooking, that mixture will caramelize on the skin a little bit, and eventually you’ll end up with this.
honeyed chicken
Toddler KILLED this bird. This may be the most Toddler-friendly meal I’ve made to date.

Chicken Cauliflower Coconut Cashew (or Almond) Curry

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Every now and then I manage to surprise myself. Last Saturday night, I did it by completely winging it and making a dish so good that I wish I’d paid more attention when I was making it.

I’ve been trying to eat more coconut lately, so when I had a package of chicken breasts I needed to use, I decided to go the curry route. Problem was, I couldn’t find a recipe I particularly wanted to follow, so I just came up with my own. All measurements of spices and such are approximate, because I wasn’t really paying much attention–I was just throwing stuff together.

Take two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast and cut it into bite size pieces. Brown it in batches over medium-high heat in 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, putting the browned chicken pieces in a bowl when they’re finished. After all the chicken is browned, open a bag of frozen cauliflower and brown those as well. Put it in the bowl with the chicken.

chicken and cauliflower

As the chicken and cauliflower are browning, prepare your spices. I used one minced shallot, three cloves of minced garlic, about two teaspoons of grated fresh ginger, a tablespoon of red curry paste, two teaspoons of red chili and garlic paste, and a teaspoon or so of curry powder. Once the chicken and cauliflower are done, add another tablespoon of coconut oil if the pan is dry, and then put in all the spices. Toast them all for about two minutes. The pastes will likely stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, and that’s fine.

Pour in a can of coconut milk and a quarter-cup of cashew or almond butter. Scrape up the stuff that’s stuck on the bottom of the pan and let it dissolve into the sauce. Add the cauliflower and chicken back to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until it’s all heated through–about five minutes.

I didn’t take a picture until it was almost done, because it was so good that I forgot.


License to Grill

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Here’s three quick and easy recipes for grilling season, only one I’ll have pictures for.

First thing is two marinades, one for chicken breasts and one for flank steak. Both of these things are very grill-friendly, and they taste great cold, which is perfect for a lunch salad. If you’re going to fire up the grill for steaks or chops, I suggest throwing these on the coals as well, and you’ll have lunch meat for the week.

Chicken one is ridiculously easy. Put your chicken breasts (about a pound to a pound and a half’s worth) in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Pour in a half-cup each of lemon juice and soy sauce. Add 3-4 spoonfuls of jarred minced garlic (you just want the flavor, not the texture, so the jarred stuff is great in marinades) and about the same of grated ginger. Grind in about 15 grinds worth of black pepper, then close the bag, squeezing out as much air as you can. The best way to do this is to close the bag about halfway, and then fold the top half of the back back over the bottom half, so the liquid stays in the bottom but the air goes out the opening. Then close it the rest of the way, shake it up so all the garlic and ginger and pepper mixes into the marinade, and put it in the fridge. 30 minutes to 8 hours later, take it out and grill it.

Flank steak is a bit more complicated, but still delicious. You’ll want another gallon Ziploc bag, and about a 1.5 lb flank steak. Put the flank steak in the bag. Since the marinade has a lot of ingredients, I like to do this one in a separate small mixing bowl and pour it in after it’s all made. Start with a half-cup of olive oil, a third-cup of soy sauce, and a quarter cup of red wine vinegar. Squeeze in the juice of a small lemon, or half of a large one. Add two or three spoonfuls of that jarred garlic, 1-2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and another 15 or so grinds of black pepper. Whisk it until the oil is well-incorporated, then pour it into the baggie and seal it up. This one takes about 4-8 hours in the fridge to marinate–you’ll want to turn it over halfway through.

The third recipe is for keftas. For two to three pounds of ground beef or lamb, you’ll want to start with two large handfuls of flat parsley leaves–no stems. You can also add the tops of 2 green onions, or some mint if you’re using lamb. You can also use a little bit of minced garlic, some sumac, or whatever other Middle-Eastern spices you want. I prefer to keep these relatively simple. Mine just have the parsley, green onions, and about a teaspoon of dried sumac. For a good idea of the total amount of herbs to use, this is a full-sized salad spinner in this picture.

kefta herbs

Finely mince your herbs (I use the food processor) and then mix them in with your meat. Add at least a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper as well.

To make the keftas, you’ll want to get a palmful of the meat mixture and make a long, narrow tube. Think the approximate size and length of a toilet paper roll.

rolled keftas

Once they’re all rolled, they’re ready to grill. You can put them on skewers, but it’s not necessary if you’re careful turning them.

While they’re grilling, make your tahini sauce. Pour half a cup of tahini into a small mixing bowl. Add about 3 cloves of fresh crushed garlic and two pinches of kosher salt. Whisk in two tablespoons of olive oil and a quarter-cup of lemon juice. If it’s too thick, add warm water a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Serve your keftas with a green salad, kalamata olives, some seedless cucumber, feta cheese if you’re into dairy, and the tahini sauce.

finished keftas

High-heat roast chicken

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I recently got a few whole chickens at a good price from Whole Foods. Whole roasted chicken is a food I have a love-hate relationship with. It takes forever, and it’s a pain to carve, but you can do so much with them–eat the meat plain or use it in things, and then you can use the carcass for stock later. But the one thing that’s just pure love about a roasted chicken is the skin. Crispy, melt-in-your-mouth fatty deliciousness. There’s nothing worse than a roasted chicken with flabby, rubbery skin. I tried making chicken in the pressure cooker once–never again. Ditto with the crock pot. Yeah, the meat might be moist and juicy, but that’s only half of the equation.

I have a standard recipe I like to use with chicken. It’s an old Weight Watchers recipe that I modify a bit (the recipe tells you to REMOVE the skin. Sacrilege!) in order to better fit a Primal diet, but I’m always looking for a better way to do it, especially since the skin doesn’t come out as crispy in that recipe as I’d like. I went to my friend Google to see if there was a better way to crisp up a roasted chicken. Cook’s Illustrated has an interesting technique that I’d like to try someday, but it would take an extra day of prep that I didn’t have. Instead, I decided to try high-heat roasting.

The only real requirement for this chicken is some salt, pepper, and melted butter, coconut oil, or bacon grease. Other than that, you’re free to season it as you wish. To season your chicken, take your desired herbs and spices, loosen the skin on top of the breast, and rub them into the meat, underneath the skin. Baste the bird, top and bottom, with your melted fat, then salt and pepper the skin. You can fill the cavity with aromatics if you like–my favorite is to use chopped garlic under the skin, then put a quartered lemon and onion in the cavity along with more garlic and some fresh “Poultry Blend” herbs.

Put the bird breast side DOWN at first in a roasting rack, and roast for 25 minutes at 450 degrees. Then take it out of the oven and carefully flip it over. You’ll want to baste it with pan juices or more melted fat at this point, and put it back in the oven with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. Keep it in the 450 degree oven, breast side UP this time, until the meat thermometer reads 135 degrees. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Then raise the oven temperature to 500 degrees and roast until the thermometer reads 160 degrees, 175 in the thigh. Probably another 10-15 minutes total.

Take it out and let it sit for 20 minutes before carving. This is a good time to do a high-heat roasted vegetable side dish–I find that green beans roasted for about 20 minutes at 450 turn out quite delicious–nice and browned and yummy. Asparagus will take about 10 minutes to roast, because it’s not good when it’s nice and tender like the beans. I did parsnips and turnips, which take about 25 minutes–I put them in for 15 minutes at 450 when the chicken was in there, then put them in for the last 10-15 while the chicken was resting.
roast chicken
Look at that skin! It tasted as good as it looks.

Chicken Oscar-ish

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

This isn’t exactly Chicken Oscar. Technically, Oscar-style contains crabmeat, but we had these frozen langostinos we had to use up, so I used those instead. This recipe is definitely greater than the sum of its parts!

The beginning is easy. Take however many boneless, skinless chicken breasts you need, liberally salt and pepper them, and saute them until they’re golden brown and cooked through. This usually takes about 8 minutes per side.

During the first 8 minutes, prep your asparagus. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Trim the bottom couple of inches off your asparagus. Put it on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. After you flip the chicken, put the sheet in the oven. Take it out with 4 minutes left on the chicken timer to turn them, then put it back in.

With your last 4 minutes, make the Hollandaise. You can do this in a blender, or with a stick blender or food processor. Melt a stick of butter in the microwave, then let it sit on the counter while you gather the other ingredients. You’ll need two egg yolks, topped with the juice of half a lemon. Put them in your blender or food processor cup, then turn it on. Drizzle the melted butter into the blending egg and lemon in a thin stream and blend until all the butter is incorporated. Voila, you have Hollandaise, and it didn’t even require a double boiler!

Hey, the chicken’s done! Put it on the serving plates. Take your crabmeat or langostinos and heat it up in the skillet about 1-2 minutes. Remove it from the heat. Take the asparagus out of the oven. Top the chicken with the crabmeat, and either put the asparagus on the side or cut it up and put it on top of the chicken and crab. Top the whole thing with Hollandaise.


Toddler went absolutely crazy over this one. She even ate some of the asparagus, which is impressive given her general distaste for all things green.

Chicken Francese and Creamed Spinach

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

I’m lucky, in that I can handle dairy. This is one of those meals in which dairy is damn-near a requirement. Almost everything I do that involves butter can be replaced with coconut oil, but I wouldn’t recommend it with this one. If you can’t deal with butter or cheese, you may want to skip over this post. If you can, this recipe is pretty awesome.

I was inspired by a quick perusal of Mark’s Daily Apple’s forums, where a woman was asking for a Primal Chicken Francese recipe. They were suggesting using almond flour for the breading, which I’ve done before. I had those chicken breasts from yesterday, and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I googled around for traditional recipes, and settled on modifying one from Tyler Florence on the Food Network. His was the basis for what I ended up doing.
Chicken Francese ingredients

So. Chicken breasts. I used 3 because that was what I had. An equal mixture of grated parmesan cheese and almond flour. I started off with three heaping tablespoons of each, but ended up using more like 4.5 and probably could have used 5. One lemon. Three eggs, although I could have used two and still had some left over. A half-cup of wine, a cup of chicken stock. About two tablespoons of butter (plus another two to use later), a quarter-cup of olive oil. A can of artichoke hearts, although you can certainly skip that–it’s not traditional at all, I just thought it would be good.

This is a recipe in which a good setup is essential. Before you start, you’ll want to beat the eggs and put them in a bowl. Next to the bowl, put down a plate and spread the almond flour and parmesan mixture onto it. Pound your chicken breasts to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut your lemon in half. Juice one half, and thinly slice the other half. Open and drain your can of artichoke hearts. Finally, heat two tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a skillet to medium-high.

When the butter and oil is hot, you’ll want to dip each chicken breast in the egg, then dredge it in the flour/cheese mixture, then put it in the skillet. Repeat this step with the remaining chicken breasts, making sure not to crowd the pan. You may need to do this in batches. Cook them for 2-3 minutes a side, until you can see the edges start to cook through and get golden brown underneath. Flip carefully. Marvel at how completely awesome it looks.

Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then remove from pan to a separate plate. Repeat with a new batch, if necessary. When all the chicken is done cooking and removed from the pan, add the sliced lemons (and artichoke hearts, if you’re using them) and cook them in the butter and oil for 2 minutes.
Lemons and artichokes

Remove those from the pan and put them in a bowl. Add the wine to the pan, scraping the pan to dissolve all the browned bits that are sticking to the bottom. Add the stock and lemon juice, and a pinch of salt if you feel like it (I did). Turn up the heat and let the liquid reduce by at least half. When it’s reduced, whisk in two tablespoons of cold butter. Add your chicken to the pan, ugliest side down, and top it with the lemon and artichoke hearts. Let it simmer for three minutes, until the chicken and artichokes are warmed through.
finished francese

I served this one with creamed spinach. My creamed spinach is simple–one large package of frozen spinach, heated over the stovetop with half a block of cream cheese. When the spinach is thawed and the cream cheese is melted, add dollops of sour cream until you get it to the desired consistency. You can add pepper and grated nutmeg to taste, but it doesn’t really need much salt at all.
plated francese

This meal turned out really well. Toddler inhaled her chicken and even tried a couple of bites of spinach. She wasn’t a fan of artichoke hearts, though, which surprised me seeing as she loves olives and capers. Oh, well…more for me!