Chicken over Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

This is a delicious, healthy and versatile soup that can be served hot or cold (sort of like a chicken tortilla soup.)

It keeps well in the fridge for a few days and due to the moderate carb content from the sweet potatoes, it makes an awesome Paleo “recovery” meal after a tough workout.

Just to be clear, this is not a Slow Carb friendly soup – though it would probably work for you (in terms of a reasonable number of carbs and glycemic load)  if you swapped out all beans and legumes for the day.  Otherwise, keep it in mind for a super healthy cheat-day meal.

Paleo Potato Leek Chicken Soup
Potato Leek Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs or 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 tbs butter or ghee
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 medium leeks, washed, trimmed, sliced
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large orange sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh spring onion to garnish

Directions

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook chicken until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove from pan, and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, add the leeks and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the sweet potato and cook, stirring frequently, for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.
  4. Slice the chicken into strips.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Process soup in 2 batches in a food processor or blender or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
  7. Place soup in a clean saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat. Check seasoning and top with sliced chicken.  Serve garnished with the spring onion.

Guest Post: Blackened Tilapia over Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Slow Carb Blackened Tilapia with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

After a brief posting hiatus while I was visiting friends and family in California, I’ve returned to Melbourne and am back to eating healthy (and blogging about it.)   Today’s recipe is a guest post from Brian Valentin over at Four Hour Body Zone. Brian blogs about his experiences on the Slow Carb Diet and Paleo eating plans as well as other health and fitness related topics.

Brian and I started the Slow Carb Diet around the same time so following his journey has been invaluable to my own experience. Like me, Brian’s continued to adjust and tweak the diet in order to figure out what works best for him, and by doing so, the rest of us are able to learn from his experiences. If you haven’t checked out his blog, I highly encourage you to do so.

The typical western diet is very high in Omega 6 fats – the ideal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is basically 1:1 or 2:1 at worst. For most of us,we are running somewhere in the 15:1 or 20:1 range! One way to fix that ratio is to supplement with Omega 3 Fish Oil supplements – but another tastier way to increase our Omega 3’s is to eat good fatty fish and seafood.

I’ve never been much of a seafood eater even when growing up on Long Island where there was a lot of fresh seafood available. Now that I’m landlocked, there is even less options for someone trying to experiment with seafood. I tend to stick to frozen fish as that’s the most available fish around here. I also prefer to eat the milder fish that I can add flavors to – so when I eat fish it tends to be tilapia, but I’ve also found that I enjoy salmon too.

This recipe is one that I heard the basis of while listening to an NPR piece about fish markets and a chef that was being interviewed described a simple preparation he makes. This is my version of that – it has a lot more added to it, but it is still a pretty simple dish.

Blackened Tilapia over Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Slow Carb Blackened Tilapia with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Blackened Tilapia with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 small onion – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (or 1 clove minced)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1-2 fish fillet – fresh or frozen (I used frozen tilapia – salmon would work well too)
  • blackened seasoning
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • pat of butter – grass fed butter is best if available (optional)
  • squeeze of lemon (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375.

  1. Heat olive oil in an oven proof skillet over med heat, add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and pinch of salt and saute until soft and onions are translucent – about 5 to 8 minutes.  Add cherry tomatoes to skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, season fish fillets with blackened seasoning.
  3. Move cherry tomatoes to edges of skillet and place fish fillets down in center of skillet.
  4. Place skillet in preheated oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes – flipping fish over halfway through cooking. With about 1 minute left you can add a pat of butter to pan.  When time is up, transfer tomatoes and onions to a plate, then put fish fillets over tomatoes.

If you’d like you can squeeze a little lemon over the fillets.  I prefer to have a large salad and some steamed vegetables with this. If you’re doing slow carb or 4HB style, add 1/2 cup of black beans as a side.

Fluffy Slow Carb or Paleo Scrambled Eggs

Fluffy Paleo Scrambled Eggs

I’m in California visiting family and friends for the next week. There’s been a bit of a heat wave so we’ve been cooking up some great Slow Carb and Paleo food on the BBQ. I’ll be posting a few of those recipes in the upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this video teaching you how to make the perfect scrambled eggs. Since most of us eat eggs several times a week, and this is such a basic dish, there really is something to be said about doing it well.

Enjoy, and if you have any tips on how you like to prepare your scrambled eggs, please leave a comment for others to try out.

The BEST Fluffy Scrambled Eggs!

3 Easy and Delicious Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipes

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipe

I don’t have a lot of time to shop for food during the week, so I keep a lot of frozen chicken in the freezer that I can pull out in the morning so it’ll defrost while I’m off at work. These are a handful of my go-to recipes

Chicken and Mushrooms

This is a simple two-ingredient recipe (excluding your basic pantry items) where the ingredients really shine through. For such a simple recipe with no spices, the taste is shockingly delicious. No really, it is. It made me come to the realization that I tend to drown a chicken and mushroom dish in wine sauce and am normally tasting my sauce, not the ingredients.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken and Mushrooms
Chicken and Mushrooms

Check out the video recipe here and go for it. As simple as it is, I promise you won’t be disappointed

FYI – I used chicken thighs (no skin) instead of his recommended chicken breast (skin on), and it turned out great. I’d recommend using free-range organic chicken and organic grass-fed butter. Not necessary, but it’ll make the dish all the more delicious.

Tarragon Chicken

Mmmmmmmm. Total French-cooking comfort food! This is one of those dishes to make you appreciate that you aren’t watching your calories or fat content.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipe
Tarragon Chicken

This Nigella Lawson recipe is great for those who want to simplify this traditional French dish.  For those Slow Carb-ing, you may want to halve the cream to keep it within Tim Ferris’ suggested serving size. I don’t bother, but I also don’t make rich dishes like this more than once a week.

Check out the recipe on Food Network here.

Roast Chicken Two Ways

There are so many different ways to roast a chicken, ranging from simply seasoning the bird and popping it in the oven to a bit more complex methods of messing around with special racks, trussing and basting.  It’s a bit overwhelming knowing where to start if you’re a novice chef.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipes
Roasted Chicken

When I learned Thomas Keller does a pretty basic roast chicken (no basting, no buttering), it confirmed to me that there is absolutely no reason to get all fancy with it. If it’s good enough for Thomas Keller, it’s good enough for me…and you.

Check out a video as he walks you through it here

Thomas Keller Perfect Roast Chicken

I love that roasting a chicken is a low-involvement process. Once the bird is in the oven, you can set the timer and don’t have to think about it until it’s done.

Now for the chicken “two ways” :

#1 Classic Roast Chicken – If company is coming over, I follow Keller’s basic roast chicken recipe. And, if it’s just for me, sometimes I can’t even be bothered to truss the chicken. Instead I simply turn it upside down so the breasts are on the bottom (keeps them juicy), season with salt and pepper and roast it. It’s still pretty good.
#2 Curry Roasted Chicken – For those times, when a roast chicken sounds a bit blah, and I’m looking for some kick, I use this equally simple method. Find a jar of curry paste with no added sugar or other fillers (check ingredients and carb counts.) I use Valcom.  Coat the chicken with paste and roast on the bottom rack of your oven for approximately 50 minutes at 425F.

On occassion, I’ll make fresh curry paste, but it’s a bit of an effort so if I do that, I’ll normally use the paste to make an actual curry.  This is really just a quick fix.

Bun-less Burgers Two Ways

Slow Carb Paleo Burger

Whether you’re Paleo, Primal or Slow Carb, you aren’t going to be having a bun with your burger.  My philosophy is – if you top your burger right, you won’t even miss the bun, or the sugar-y condiments.  Here are two of my favorite combinations for inspiration.

My burger recipe is simple, just a little sea salt and pepper with high quality grass-fed organic beef cooked to medium rare, served with killer toppings.  By all means, make it with ground turkey, buffalo or lamb if you prefer.

Serves 4 (or 6 depending on who is eating!)

Burger Ingredients

  • 1lb beef mince
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Burger Directions

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Form patties of uniform shape and size.  Grill on the BBQ or in a frying pan with a bit of oil.

Now for the fun part… here are a few suggestions on how to make your burger more interesting.

Classic Burger with Sautéed Mushrooms and Bell Peppers over Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Slow Carb Paleo Burger
Burger with Sautéed Mushrooms and Bell Peppers over Garlic Cauliflower Mash


Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into long strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped into long strips
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 cup of chicken stock (make sure there are no additives)
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • Optional: ghee or parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Sauté sliced mushrooms and onions in a bit of oil or ghee until tender (or even go for crispy if you like them a bit caramelized.
  2. Put cauliflower florets into a pot of water.  I generally fill the pot an inch or two with chicken  stock or broth to give the florets something to steam in.  Put a lid on the pot and turn heat to medium high.  Steam the florets in the broth for about 4-5 minutes until tender (I open up the pot and poke them with a fork to check.)
  3. Once tender, use an hand blender to blend until smooth.  If you don’t have a hand blender, you can toss the cauliflower and liquid into a normal blender, but BE CAREFUL and make sure the top is on.  You don’t want a face full of steaming hot faux cauliflower.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.  If you’d like something a bit richer, you can add ghee and/or a bit of parmesan cheese (depending on if your diet allows.)
  5. Serve the meal by placing the burger over the cauliflower and topping with the onions and peppers.

Bacon and Egg Burger with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions and Avocado Slices on the side

Slow Carb Paleo Bacon and Egg Burger
Bacon and Egg Burger with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions and Avocado Slices


Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped into long strips
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 egg per burger
  • 1 slice of bacon (the bacon I use in Australia is center cut bacon which is more similar to a Canadian bacon than typical American bacon.)
  • ½ avocado per person

Directions

  1. Sauté sliced mushrooms and onions in a bit of oil or ghee until tender (or even go for crispy if you like them a bit caramelized.
  2. In a separate pan, fry up eggs and bacon.
  3. Serve the meal by placing the burger on the plate and topping with the bacon first, then the egg, then the onions and mushrooms.  If you want to be like the Aussie’s, try adding some beetroot.  I still haven’t figured out the appeal in this, but the people I’m surrounded by seem to love it.
  4. Serve the avocado on the side.

Coriander Lime Salmon

Slow Carb Coriander Lime Salmon Recipe

Normally following a cheat day, I am itching to recharge my body with nutrient-dense superfoods.  For me, this means spinach and salmon.  This could get a little boring after awhile so I try to experiment with various seasonings to keep Sunday dinner interesting.

I’ve tried to take a small tour around the globe to influence  my salmon recipes.  So far I’ve hit:

Indian – Slow Carb Salmon with Garlic and Turmeric

Italian –  Slow Carb Seared Salmon and Capers

Cajun – Slow Carb Blackened Salmon

For this salmon dish, I was looking for a bit of Southeast Asian influence (possibly Thai, though to actually call it Thai and include my Frank’s Red Hot would be a huge stretch!)   In any case, this salmon dish is packed with flavor, yet still light and refreshing.  It’s also quick and easy to make and great served cold if you want to make extra to toss in a salad the next day.

I served mine with some spinach sautéed in a bit of garlic and macadamia nut oil and roasted root vegetables.

Slow Carb Coriander Lime Salmon Recipe
Slow Carb Coriander Lime Salmon

Ingredients

  • 4  salmon fillets (appprox 6 oz)
  • 1/2 t  sea salt
  • 1/8 t  freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 t  ground coriander
  • 2 t olive or macadamia nut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t lime juice
  • ¼  – ½ t hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot because there’s no added wheat or sugar)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and coriander. Sprinkle over salmon.
  2. In a non-stick skillet, add oil.  Once pan and oil are hot, add salmon and cook over medium heat, browning the outside.  This normally takes about 3 minutes on each side but may vary depending on how hot your pan gets. Do not overcook. Salmon does not need to be cooked through at this point as you will continue to cook it.
  3. Add the garlic, lime juice and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Be careful not to overcook or your salmon will be dry.
  4. Serve immediately.

Spice Roasted Veggies

Slow Carb Roast Vegetables Recipe

 

For those who already roast their veggies, this is just a new way to spice them up.  If you’re new to roasting veggies, you are in for a treat.  Roasting vegetables caramelizes them, bringing out their natural sweetness, and if you roast for long enough, your vegetables will turn out crispy and crunchy.  Depending on what veggies you roast, sometimes it almost feels like you’re “cheating” on your diet.

Today I roasted sweet potatoes (**Note: Sweet potatoes are not Slow Carb approved unless you’re refuelling after an intense workout and under 20% bodyfat!)

Sweet potatoes really complement the exotic spice blend in this recipe – you get a hint of salty, spicy and sweet all at once.  Plus, they’re full of fiber, nutrient dense and a much slower burning carb than white potatoes.

If you’re not at that phase in your fitness, you could try these out on cheat day for a healthy and benign cheat, or do this recipe with just about any vegetables. I’d recommend trying a mix of zucchini, onions and pumpkin.  Cauliflower is also fantastic roasted.  I let it get nice and crispy so it’s a bit like popping some potato chips.

Slow Carb Roast Vegetables Recipe
Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground fennel
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t dried red pepper flakes
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes or other veggies
  • 3 Tbs oil of your choice (I use macadamia nut oil)
  • ½ t whole coriander seeds left whole (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 425F.
  2. Use a nonstick baking tray or line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Mix spices and oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.  I prefer to use my own freshly ground spices.  It takes about 15 seconds in a “rocket” type blender or just a minute or two with a mortar and pestle.   If you use this method, make sure to set aside some whole coriander seeds that don’t get blended.
  4. Cut vegetables into wedges or large slices. Place on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with spice mix, olive oil, and salt.  Don’t skimp on the salt.  Toss to evenly coat and spread potatoes in one layer with space between the pieces. Before putting them in the oven, I like to toss on some whole coriander seeds.
  5. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender.  Flip veggies once during cooking.
  6. Serve immediately.

Slow Carb Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Pork Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Recipe

This recipe for stuffed mushrooms makes an awesome main course served with stir-fried veggies or great nibbles if you’re throwing a party.  The recipe is made with ground pork, which I think works best, but for those who don’t eat pork, you could make it with ground chicken or turkey as well.

The recipe was inspired by a recipe in Jane Kennedy’s “OMG! I Can Eat That?” It was intended to be an appetizer done with shiitake mushrooms, but I had quite a few portabellas on hand that were in danger of going “off”, so improvise I did.  If you’re making these mushrooms as a meal where each person will have their own, I’d stick with the portabellas.  If you’re looking to create “finger food” for a party, the shiitakes would be great.

Pork Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Recipe
Slow Carb Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Serves 6

Ingredients- filling

  • 6 Portabella mushrooms (or 24 shiitake mushrooms)
  • ½ lb ground pork mince
  • 4 green onions (or “spring onion”, in other parts of the world)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tbs olive oil or macadamia nut oil

Ingredients- sauce

  • 2 Tbs soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Prepare the mushrooms by cutting off the stems and placing them on a tray.  If you’re using portabellas, you may want to scoop out the insides.  I didn’t because I was feeling lazy, but you’ll notice that by leaving them in, you get some brown mushroom liquid sloshing around.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pork, green onions, garlic, chilli, white pepper and sea salt.  Divide evenly into your mushroom cups.
  4. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Place each mushroom, filled-side down, in the pan and cook for a few minutes until the tops turn golden.  Turn and cook on the other side for two minutes.
  5. While the mushrooms cook, make the dipping sauce by mixing soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil, chilli and lemon juice.  Set aside.
  6. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and transfer to the baking tray.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.  Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Slow Carb Moroccan Chicken

Slow Carb Chicken Recipe

The past few weeks, I’ve been drastically cutting the beans and legumes from diet.  With not much weight left to lose, I didn’t feel they were serving me well anymore.  This has lead me to seek out recipes that fit well with the Paleo/Primal way of eating.

One of my favorites so far is Moroccan Chicken from Mark’s Daily Apple.  If you’re following Slow Carb and all its tenants, you could easily serve the dish with a side of white beans tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of parsley, or you could toss a can of chickpeas into the casserole before cooking.

I followed Mark’s recipe pretty closely with one modification.  I didn’t have the red pepper (capsicum in Australia) so I diced up a zucchini, which tasted great.  The dish made great leftovers for lunch the next day as well.

Slow Carb Chicken Recipe
Slow Carb Moroccan Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2-3 pounds of chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional – the other spices will already add a bit of spiciness to the dish, so only add the cayenne if you want a really spicy dish)
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

  1. The base of the casserole is cauliflower grated into a rice-like texture. Chop the head of cauliflower into small pieces. Push the pieces through a food processor using the grating blade. Spread the grated cauliflower out in a 9×13 rectangular baking pan.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep pan over high heat. Add the chicken, browning well, about 3-5 minutes a side.
  3. Remove the chicken from the hot pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add onion, ginger, garlic and carrots. Cook until the onions are soft. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and all spices. Stir well
  4. Add red pepper, the can of tomatoes, minced parsley or cilantro and salt. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Pour the chicken mixture over the cauliflower and mix really well, so the cauliflower is completely covered by the sauce. Slice a lemon into thin slices and lay on top of the casserole. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and cook for 25 minutes more.
  6. Garnish with more fresh parsley or cilantro before serving.

Slow Carb Deviled Eggs

Slow Carb Egg Recipe

Slow Carb Egg Recipe
Slow Carb Deviled Eggs
Even the biggest egg lover eventually gets sick of eggs done the same way (or the same 3 or 4 different ways) while eating a Slow Carb lifestyle.

I’m not an egg lover to begin with, and sometimes I even have to go on egg “detox” for a few days when I OD on eggs.  I am, however, always up for trying something new.

After posting the bacon baskets last week, I kept thinking about how cute they’d be with little deviled eggs in them so I decided to make deviled eggs for the first time in my life.

Low and behold, I actually enjoyed them… a lot.  And, that’s a very rare thing for me.  Normally, I’m just happy if I can choke them down at 7am.

I think there were a few reasons I enjoyed them so much, and you may want to consider when trying to do your own deviled eggs.

1)    I used fresh free-range, organic, and antibiotic/hormone-free eggs.  This makes a huge difference in taste.  HUGE.  If you don’t believe me, buy two sets of eggs, and do a side-by-side comparison.  You will see and taste the difference.

2)    I made sure the eggs were cooked absolutely perfectly using this method.  It’s a bit anal, but quite easy to do with a kitchen timer, and you don’t get the nasty, gray overdone eggs.

3)    I used fresh homemade mayo.

I use a really basic recipe.  Because I used my own mayo with garlic, mustard and vinegar in it, there’s really no need to season the eggs much.  The mayo does all the work.  If you don’t make your own mayo, you may need to season a bit more.

Deviled eggs are a quick and easy breakfast, a portable snack, or a great finger-food for parties.    These should keep for a few days in the fridge, but mine seem to disappear within 48 hours anyway (Australian boyfriend had never had a deviled egg and is now OBSESSED!), so food spoilage has not been an issue.

Ingredients

  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika and/or springs of parsley (If you want to dress them up for a party)

Note:  For a little kick, add a few drops of Frank’s Red Hot or sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper.

Directions

  1. Hard boil eggs.  I definitely advise using the method above.
  2. Slice eggs, lengthwise, down the center.
  3. Gently remove yolk into a bowl.
  4. Add mayo and any additional seasonings.
  5. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.