Lunch

Lunch might be the most challenging meal of the day when one decides to cut grains out of their diet. All of a sudden, the seemingly innocent sandwich is not an option, and you’re left scratching your head. The good news is, while it may take some planning, there are plenty of great lunch options available to you. The great news: You’ll feel a while lot better come 3pm when you didn’t eat a super burrito for lunch. Lunch recipes coming soon!

Plantain Tortillas

Posted by on Aug 17, 2013 in Dinner, grain-free, Lunch, Paleo, potluck, Vegetarian | 163 comments

Plantain Tortillas

A while back, my friend Johnny from Eating For Idiots and I had a cooking day and came up with a recipe for cilantro-lime chicken with ranchero sauce on plantain tostadas.  Long story short, the tostadas were pretty much an accident, due to the ripeness of the plantains I had: Green plantains are great for making chips or tostones, and ripe plantains are great for mashed plantains or used for baking. The ones I had were yellow; not quite ripe, not quite green. But it turns out they were perfect for this accident invention: Plantain tostadas! When I decided to make fajitas with the grassfed flat iron I got from Fallon Hills Ranch this week, I knew I wanted to give it a coffee rub and grill it, but I wasn’t sure about the wrapper. Classic paleo problem, right? Lettuce leaves are always a good option, but let’s face it: They’re not a tortilla. Jicama is one of my favorites, but a bit of a mess with juicy fillings; better as a crispy taco shell than a stand-in for a flour tortilla. Cauliflower tortillas are delicious, and what I planned to go with on this occasion, until I got to the store and saw the yellow plantains. I wasn’t sure how they’d hold up; I wanted a tortilla that folded without breaking and was sturdy enough to hold the hearty fajita fillings. But I also wanted them to be soft like a homemade corn or flour tortilla. The result? Perfection! Not only do these bad boys fold, …they roll! The process is a little bit messy, but extremely simple: Everything gets pureed in the food processor and then baked in the oven. The tortilla batter is dropped onto a baking sheet, about 2 tablespoons each. A ladle is used to spread out the batter about half way. Once they’re about half the size they need to be, wet fingers are used to get them as thin as possible Like this: Four will fit on a standard baking sheet, so you may have to cook them in batches. They reheat well, so making ahead is a good option! Once they’re all cooked, they can be grilled or slightly charred on a gas flame. Or just eaten as-is! They were perfect for our fajita spread, and I have a feeling will become a part of our regular rotation. If I was packing kids’ lunches, these would definitely be making an appearance! Plantain Tortillas (makes 12 5″ tortillas)    3 large or 4 small yellow plantains, about 2-2.5 pounds before peeling * 1/3 cup egg whites (about 2 eggs worth) 3 tablespoons lard or coconut oil, melted (I highly recommend lard if you have it!) 1 teaspoon lime juice 1/2 teaspoon salt Preheat your oven to 350. Peel and chop your plantains and place in a food processor. Puree until somewhat pureed, and then add the melted lard, egg whites, salt and lime juice. Puree until smooth. Drop about 2 tablespoons at a time onto a baking sheet lined with a lightly greased sheet of parchment paper, 4 per standard baking sheet (spaced as shown above) Smooth into a circle with the bottom of a ladle, getting as thin as possible, switching to wet fingers once the ladle stops being efficient. Bake for 15 minutes, until dry to the touch, and just starting to brown on the edges. * There are two types of plantains I’ve seen regularly in stores: The more common are the larger ones, that look like bananas,   and there are also shorter, fatter ones that are somewhat triangular.  I tried...

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Phogeddaboutit!

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in 21DSD, Dinner, Lunch, soup, Whole 30 | 8 comments

Pho was the very first thing I ate when I first moved to San Francisco almost 6 years ago. I was very early to meet up with my future roommate to sign the lease, and decided to grab a bite in my new neighborhood. Just having a neighborhood was an exciting thing, not to mention the fact that there was a Vietnamese restaurant there. I grew up in the ‘burbs of Massachusetts and Connecticut. There was no such thing as walking out my door and eating Vietnamese food 3 minutes later. So I wandered into Kim Son on Balboa St and perused the menu. I made the wise choice of defaulting to the adorable old man working there, and asked, “What’s good?” He brought out two things: a giant (GIANT) bowl of BBQ pork rice noodle pho, and fresh rolls with shiitake mushrooms, veggies, probably some tofu (merp), fresh basil and mint. I kid you not: I have eaten at Kim Son at least 20 times since that January afternoon six years ago, and have ordered the same exact thing. Every single time. The last time I ate there it was just as delicious as ever, but I got glutened. No fault of theirs; nothing changed about the soup. I have just transitioned from being “sort of gluten sensitive, but a little soy sauce won’t kill me” to “I’m going to ask you a million questions about this dish before I take a single bite”. Getting glutened these days is no joke. Now that I’ve wised up and eliminated it for real, my body doesn’t tolerate even a crumb of it. We’ll call it bittersweet. Pho serves 4 (or 2 if you’re going with GIANT Vietnamese restaurant size bowls) 6 cups chicken or beef broth, preferably homemade * 4 cups zucchini, “noodled” with a julienne peeler or spiral slicer (about four zucchini) 4 cups cooked sliced meat, whatever kind you’d like  ** 1/3 cup coconut aminos 1 teaspoon fish sauce 1.5 teaspoon grated fresh ginger small handful of fresh herbs: Thai basil, mint, cilantro (either one or a combo), divided thin slices of jalapeño lime wedges In a medium pot, get your bone broth nice and steamy over medium heat Add the ginger, coconut aminos, fish sauce and about 1 tablespoon of the fresh herbs Simmer for a few minutes Add the noodles and meat and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the noodles soften and the meat is warmed through. Serve with jalapeño slices, lime wedges, and remaining fresh herbs to be added to each bowl, as each person likes. You can also add the jalapeño to the soup while it simmers, but fair warning: it gets spicy quick! * If you don’t have a tried and true method for making bone broth, here is how I do it. It’s somewhere between quick and slow, and it works every time! For some other options, here is a quick method from Nom Nom Paleo, and a slow cooker method from Balanced Bites ** Any leftover meat is good in this soup, it completely depends on what you’re in the mood for. I used roast turkey breast this time, but BBQ chicken, roast chicken, pork chops, grilled shrimp, salmon, cod, meatballs, even a combination of any of the above would be lovely! What’s your favorite kind of pho?   All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and...

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Smoky Roast Turkey Breast

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in 21DSD, Dinner, Lunch, Paleo, turkey, Whole 30 | 8 comments

Smoky Roast Turkey Breast

Here’s my general rule of thumb in regards to reading labels: If I find myself saying “what is that?” while going through the list of ingredients on a label, I don’t want to eat it. Shouldn’t we know what all of the ingredients are without having to research them? For example: turkey breast, in my humble opinion should consist of: turkey spices (maybe) salt We know what all of the ingredients above are, right? No problem. So why is it that I can’t seem to find a package of turkey breast without CARRAGEENAN? What is that? More importantly, why is it in everything? Sure it’s “from seaweed” which makes it sound harmless enough, but it’s not. (Sorry) This above rant is exactly why most of the food I buy doesn’t have labels at all. It’s the basis of my food philosophy.  But don’t get me wrong, I get really excited when I find things that have labels but are minimally processed and have just a few real ingredients. I have yet to find turkey breast that fits the above description. Hence this blog post. But don’t fret. The following recipe couldn’t be simpler to make, and the result is way tastier than anything you’ll find within a resealable plastic package. This turkey recipe is a great multitasker; It’s great to keep in the fridge for an easy snack or as part of a delicious lunch, like these turkey B.L.A.T. boats. It can even step in for the holiday turkey if you’re cooking for two, or if you’re craving Thanksgiving dinner in March. The smoky rub gives this turkey a nice smoked, slightly spicy flavor. If you prefer a simpler version, just skip the rub and give it a good pinch of salt. You can add dried herbs such as rosemary and thyme too, if you’d like. Smoky Roast Turkey Breast  1 small tied turkey breast (1-1.5 pounds is perfect) 1 tablespoon smoky rub * 1 lemon or small orange, sliced * Smoky Rub: 1 Tablespoon each paprika, sea salt, coconut palm sugar (feel free to skip the sugar if doing a sugar detox or Whole30) 1 teaspoon each cumin, corainder 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle Rub the smoky rub all over the turkey breast and allow to come to room temperature, about 1-2 hours. (you can also let it sit overnight in the fridge for more flavor, if you’d like) Preheat oven to 350°. Place the turkey and the orange or lemon slices in a baking dish and roast until it’s cooked through and reaches 165° on a meat thermometer. My roast was 1.3 pounds and took about 45 minutes. If it’s smaller than that, check it after 30 minutes, and then every 10 minutes after that. Allow to cool, and slice as needed. Store tightly wrapped in the fridge. All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly...

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Super Green Soup

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in 21DSD, Dinner, Lunch, Paleo, soup, vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 5 comments

When I’m really busy, I tend to slack on my vegetable consumption. It’s a satiety issue, really- when I’m really hungry, vegetables aren’t what do it for me. But we really should be eating them, right? Of course we should. I made this for my grandma last year while I was visiting her in Florida, in an effort to get her to eat some vegetables. She loved it, and I’m willing to bet it accounted for about half of her vegetable intake for the entire year. Her eating habits make me crazy. She basically lives on rye bread and margarine and ginger ale. She’s 94, so clearly everything we think we know about nutrition is wrong. No, not really. What it is, to me is a testament to just how much one’s constitution has to do with their health. Hers is obviously pretty damn strong. Stronger than yours, I’m willing to bet, so please don’t go tossing all your healthy food and replacing it with rye bread and margarine. This soup is great to have around when you need a little something, and is a great way to get more vegetables into your life. It would make a great light lunch with some everything crackers, out of a mug for a mid afternoon snack, or as a first course or comforting side dish for dinner. Heck, kids or grandmas might even like it. I like to add some extra grass fed butter to mine to make it more filling. Super Green Soup 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced 1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets 1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped 4 cloves garlic 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil salt and pepper to taste In a large soup pot, saute the leeks in the butter (or ghee or coconut oil) over medium heat or until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes Add the broccoli and the garlic cloves and saute another 5 minutes or so. Add enough broth and cover, reducing heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft. Add the spinach and turn off the heat. It should wilt pretty much right away. Puree in batches, adding more water or broth if necessary, and season to taste with salt and pepper. All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly...

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Tortilla Soup, Hold The Tortillas.

Posted by on Dec 8, 2012 in 21DSD, Chicken, Dinner, Lunch, Paleo, soup | 6 comments

Soup and I go way back. It’s safe to say that one of my earliest memories is of my mom making it. It was always chicken soup, and she somehow managed to have a pot of it on the stove before you could get out the choo Of aaaah-choo. (And ask anyone, I pronounce the choo) Then, when I got my first job cooking at Paradise Eatery and Market in Willimantic, CT , one of my jobs was to make the soup of the day. The (smart) owners understood the value of consistency in the food industry, and there was a recipe book for each and every recipe that was prepared there. I simply followed recipes from a big book. But I learned a lot. Soup is a bit of a formula, and once you learn how to make a few basic ones, you’ll find that you can make just about anything into soup. (See homework below!) The next time I got hired as a cook, I was asked if I knew how to make soup. Of course! I said. But there was no book at the Apple Blossom Cafe in Ithaca NY. Total hippie establishment. Consistency wasn’t in the vocabulary there. I panicked for a second, and then got it together and realized that I did indeed know how to make soup. It was, in fact, my specialty. This turned into a bit of a pattern. I managed to be in charge of the daily soup at most of the restaurants I worked at. I’m the soup lady.   This is the soup that made me famous. What’s that? Oh RIGHT. I’m not actually famous. Well then this is the first thing I made that really felt like mine. I’m sure there was a recipe I saw at some point that inspired me, but I added and subtracted and tasted until it was perfect. I used to fry my own tortillas to top the soup with. Not so much anymore, but I’m not saying it won’t ever happen again. Spicy Tomato Soup with Chicken and Lime serves 4 1 medium onion, small dice 2 roasted peppers or a 12-14 oz jar, small dice (reserve the liquid if using jarred) 1 tablespoon bacon fat, coconut oil or ghee 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon chipotle paste* or chipotle peppers in adobo 12-14 oz diced jarred tomatoes  3 cups chicken stock, preferable homemade 2 cups cooked chicken (I used about 2/3 of the breast meat from a perfect roast chicken) 1 avocado, diced 4 lime wedges fresh cilantro, roughly chopped In a large heavy bottomed pot, sauce the onion in bacon fat over medium heat until golden, 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the salt, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and sauté another 30 seconds or so, just enough for the spices to become fragrant. Add the roasted peppers and chipotle paste, 1/4 cup of the reserved roasted pepper liquid, and tomatoes. Simmer 2-4 minutes Add the chicken stock and simmer for at least 10 minutes. You can let it simmer longer, I like to let it go for 30 minutes or so. Not necessary, but nice for flavor development. Stir in the chicken and simmer another minute or two, just enough to warm the chicken. Serve with lime wedges, avocado, and fresh cilantro.  Homework Time! (Don’t worry, it’s just for extra credit) Since I mentioned that soup creation is somewhat of a formula, can you take this basic recipe and turn into a different kind of soup? What comes to mind? I’m really just...

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Filet Mignon & Grilled Vegetable Salad

Posted by on Jun 5, 2012 in Beef, Dinner, Fridge Forage, Lunch, Paleo | 1 comment

You might expect that my life as a caterer means that I eat only the finest cuisine, served on a silver platter with a linen napkin.  I do eat really well, because I make it a point to, but it doesn’t usually look like that.  I often eat cold food, straight out of the fridge, in a mad dash out the door. But sometimes, the random leftovers that didn’t make it to the party- the less than beautiful parts- can make a really outstanding meal. Here’s what I found in the fridge: The fresh greens we had bought that morning at the farmers market The pieces of filet mignon I had deemed too well done to join the whipped blue cheese and gluten-free crostini that I served at my Saturday event Simon’s leftover grilled vegetables from when he cooked himself dinner (!) while I was catering an event the night before. He even sent me a picture, so proud: So this is how dinner happened: So there you have it. Dinner made with some random ingredients turned out very delicious, and something I would make again, served on a silver platter. I hope this inspires you to create something great for dinner tonight! All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly...

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