Back At It!

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. I’ve been super busy with all the joys in my life and frankly struggling with balance. It is the ‘off season’ with my marathon club so I’ve been trying out some new workouts and scaling back on the running a bit. I’m a huge creature of habit and while I’m enjoying the ride during this time I’m not in a groove yet. Turns out managing my family, keeping up with my fitness and cooking three squares a day is a lot of work! Adding the blog on top of that and well, let’s just say I may have run out of steam a little. Not to worry though, I haven’t forgotten about it yet!

I recently saw a you tube clip of a guy eating raw chorizo on Tosh.0. Yeah, it was pretty gross, I won’t even post the link because if you want to see something like that you can seek it out for yourself. It did get me thinking that chorizo may not be the best thing I could be eating. What exactly goes into chorizo anyway? The ingredient list on most chorizo packages is full of things I don’t normally eat. I don’t keep it in the house but it is a common menu option at many of the restaurants I frequent for breakfast and I do often indulge. Who doesn’t like a scramble with chorizo or a chorizo taco? Well, in Houston, TX it is a local favorite.
So I was shopping at my local Central Market grocery store and ta-da…they had a new product line, Mulay’s sausages. They even have a chorizo. The sausage is gluten-free, hormone and antibiotic free, nitrate free, soy, msg, dairy and sugar-free and free of any artificial colors and flavors. All varieties are made within these parameters although I have never tried the other flavors. I will soon though. So I guess you want to know what I made with it? Here it is!

Baked Eggs with Sweet Potato and Chorizo

(Can you tell I like baked eggs yet?)

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Ingredients
1 small sweet potato, shredded (I used the steel blade of my Cuisinart, 30 seconds tops)
1 green onion
2 ounces Mulay’s chorizo (more or less to your preference)
4 eggs
Salt to taste
Avocado and salsa for garnish

Method
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a pan to medium heat, brown chorizo and crumble into small pieces. Add the sweet potato and onion, cook until the potato is tender, season with salt to taste. Transfer the potato and chorizo mixture to two small ramekins (mine are 2 ounces I think, would work better in larger ones). Make two little ‘wells’ in the potato mixture and crack the two eggs on top, sprinkling a pinch of salt on the eggs. Place in the oven and bake until the whites are set on the eggs, approximately 10 minutes. Garnish with salsa, avocado or whatever you like! Diced tomato, fresh green onions or even a bit of cheese would be great!  Using the pretty ramekins, I feel, make this dish fun and even pretty enough for entertaining.

Loaded Spuds

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One of my all time favorite comfort foods is a loaded baked potato. Gosh, it’s been a long while since I had a baked russet potato with all those oooey gooey fixin’s on top. What a calorie bomb those things are, delicious nonetheless! I have found an equally satisfying alternative to those bloating spuds, loaded sweet potatoes. You could really top these with anything you want but my recent favorite is roasted broccoli with spring onion topped with my bolognese sauce that I batch cook and freeze. You can find the recipe for the bolognese here. I also have an easy way to prepare this for a quick weeknight meal.

First wash and prick with a fork your desired number of small sweet potatoes (I do three, the kids split one). Brush or smear grass-fed butter or lard all over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt. Place on a square of foil in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. This can be done ahead of time, simply cut open your potatoes when you are ready to eat and pop back in the oven when you roast your veggies to reheat. Then make the green part of your super spud…

Roared Broccoli with Garlic and Spring Onion

1 large head broccoli, florets cut apart
1 spring onion or scallion (whites mostly) sliced thin
1-2 cloves fresh garlic minced
2 T fat of choice (grass-fed lard or coconut oil will work best)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and heat a large skillet to medium heat with your fat. Add the broccoli and toss to coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook broccoli on the stove top for 3-5 minutes, keep it moving so it doesn’t burn. Add in the garlic and onion and toss with broccoli for 1-2 minutes then transfer to the oven for about 10 minutes until broccoli is fork tender. This makes a great side dish to any meal.

While my broccoli is roasting I warm my bolognese in a sauce pan on the stove. When everything is hot and ready to go I layer the broccoli then the bolognese sauce on top over my opened sweet potato. This is so good I even eat the potato skins, talk about vitamin central! Yummy!!

Cabbage all day

I am really enjoying cabbage lately. Previously in my life cabbage was limited to coleslaw and maybe a few stray pieces of red cabbage in salad mix. Now I am enjoying it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cabbage has a variety of health benefits. Cabbage is at the top of the list of vegetables with high doses of cancer preventing antioxidants, it is high in fibre and vitamin C and is the lowest in calories of any vegetable. Also studies have shown that eating cabbage will help women build muscle by boosting their testosterone levels. These are just a few benefits of cabbage, for more info check out this link.

One of the things I like best about cabbage is it’s versatility. It is quick cooking and can hold up to a long slow braise. It can also be pickled, fermented or made into slaw. This week I made two similar preparations with cabbage, one for breakfast and one for dinner. My daughter loved the dinner recipe so much she asked for seconds! So I’ll share it with you.

1 head green cabbage
1/2 large yellow onion
4 sprigs thyme
1/2 sprig rosemary
2 lbs chicken thighs (I used boneless skinless because that what I had on hand, use whatever you like though)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pat thighs dry with paper towels and liberally season with salt and pepper. Heat a wide pan with a lid to medium high heat with your fat of choice and sear the chicken thighs on both sides then remove to a separate plate. Add the onion to the pan, sautéing until you see a little color on the onion then add the cabbage and herbs. Sprinkle with a healthy pinch of salt and a few turns of fresh ground pepper. Sauté until cabbage begins to soften then add the thighs back in, burying them in the cabbage mixture. Pour the liquids from the chicken plate over the entire mixture. There should be a good bit of liquid forming in the pan from the chicken juices and water from the cabbage. Cover and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

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For the breakfast dish I browned some Shiner Farms pork sausage then added onion and cabbage sautéing until softened then I cracked 6 eggs on top and popped it into the oven until eggs were medium (about 5 minutes at 375). Play with it to get the eggs to your liking. I’ve got a great cole slaw recipe too which will come later. Stay tuned!!