Foodie Flattery: Whole30 Breakfast Casserole by The Paleo Running Momma

This casserole contains sweet potato, roasted brussels sprouts, and caramelized onions…and my nine year old son inhaled it. Seriously, that’s how good this casserole is.

bearfamilystrong.com | breakfast casserole

In preparing for our latest round of the Whole30, I’ve been spending some time on Pinterest looking for inspiration. I feel like I used to be a lot better at planning, creating, and cooking good meals for our family, but somehow over the past year that changed. We ended up ordering out a lot, and more often than not I end up making quick and easy foods full of quick carbs, added sugar, and unnecessary fat. Don’t get me wrong, all of the aforementioned foods taste extremely good, but judging by the extra weight I’ve been carrying around and my complete lack of energy…I knew it was time for a reset.

Anyway. I need to be honest and say that even if I wasn’t doing a Whole30 I’d still make this casserole again. And again. And although it’s technically labeled a “breakfast” casserole (probably because of the egg), my son ate this for dinner the first night I made it and the husband wanted to do the same. (He would have, except that he had a pot of white chicken chili simmering on the stove at the same time.)

This 9×13 pan of deliciousness consists of a bottom layer of roasted sweet potato, topped with roasted brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, crispy bacon, and covered with an egg-coconut milk-nutritional yeast mix that turns this casserole into a light and fluffy eggy delight. The combination might sound weird but trust me, yum.

The Paleo Running Momma comments that you could absolutely play around with the vegetables in this casserole, and I totally agree. Granted the sweet potato and brussels sprouts combination was to DIE for in my family, but I’m already imagining a version with sausage, red pepper and spinach; or crispy prosciutto, broccoli and onion…the list goes on.

This casserole turned out to be a total win for the Bear Family and this recipe will definitely make an appearance during the Whole30 – for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Check out PRM’s post for the original recipe here!

bearfamilystrong.com | breakfast casserole

Advertisements

Foodie Flattery: Tuna “No-Noodle” Casserole

I grew up in a busy family of five where money was pretty tight. As such, dinners in our house were kept on a budget, usually one-pot meals, and needed to be able to feed a family of five pretty easily. This meant we had a handful of standby dinners that usually appeared on a weekly or rotating basis: spaghetti, hamburger helper, meatloaf, stuffed shells, cavatini, and my personal favorite: tuna noodle casserole.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

I don’t know what it is about egg noodles, cream of celery soup (my mom tried using cream of mushroom once but my dad wasn’t having any of it – he sniffed that out before he even took a bite), and canned tuna; but tuna noodle casserole night was one of my favorite dinner nights in our house. I haven’t had tuna casserole since moving out of my parent’s house for college in 2000, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving it.

Unfortunately, since I stopped eating grains/gluten after meeting my husband in 2011, tuna casserole is off the menu.

Fortunately, I have a slight pinterest addiction and one day I happened upon this beautiful “Paleo Tuna Casserole” post from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Tuna casserole made with spaghetti squash?! How did I not think of this on my own??

Welcome to the latest addition of Foodie Flattery: Paleo Tuna Noodle Casserole from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Gaah. So good. So worth it. It was so good in fact, that my eight-year old not only ate his entire portion without complaint, but ALSO told me that I should make it again. MAJOR. WIN.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

I was a little skeptical about using coconut milk – not because of the potential taste, but because I was worried it wouldn’t get thick and the casserole would end up too soupy – but as it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Using arrowroot powder as a thickener and adding eggs to the casserole before baking was the perfect way to hold everything together and as I suspected, you couldn’t taste the coconut milk at all.

Bottom line, this casserole was everything I hoped it would be and more. One bite and I was transported back to my parent’s kitchen table, fighting with my sister over the gooey melted cheese my mom used as a topping for her own tuna casserole. In this version we used crushed chips as the topping, which was equally delicious.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

Here’s the link again for the recipe I used – I omitted the mushrooms and used a bag of frozen peas and carrots instead (based on the way my mom used to make it – my dad abhors mushrooms). Next time I think we’ll use both – and I highly recommend using these sweet and spicy jalapeno potato chips to top your casserole. Yum.

jalapeno chips

*Note: To make this a Whole30 approved dinner, simply omit the chips. Trust me, it will still be comfort food delicious.

Foodie Flattery: Thai Lemongrass Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk

Welcome to the second edition of Foodie Flattery!

bearfamilystrong.com | thai lemongrass chicken braised in coconut milk4

So, I decided that I’m going to make this “Foodie Flattery” idea a thing on my blogs. I love to check out other food blogs – mostly for the pictures, I’ll admit – and it only recently occurred to me to try to re-create some of the dishes I ogle over on the internet. I often wonder how much of the picture is attributed to excellent food styling and photography, and how much is actually because the food really does look that good.

The verdict: Definitely the former. Case in point, take 30 seconds to check out this picture, and then compare to my picture above. Am I right??

Anyway, I was trying to come up with some new dinners to eat during our Whole30 when I got distracted and wandered over to Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard. I adore looking at the pictures on Tieghan’s blog – she is a fabulous food photographer – but I’ve never really had any intention of making the recipes because frankly, they sound like a lot of work. Many of the recipe titles imply about a thousand ingredients, and I always just assumed that many of them weren’t (or couldn’t be adapted to be) Whole30 approved, and so I usually just ogled over the pictures and then moved on. Really, it just means that I’m lazy.

So when I actually looked at the ingredient list for this Thai Lemongrass Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk I was pleasantly surprised – if you omit the rice and noodles, this is totally Whole30!

bearfamilystrong.com | thai lemongrass chicken braised in coconut milk

I love coconut milk, but aside from curry I rarely use it in my food. The recipe also calls for lemongrass, fresh ginger, and fresno chiles – also ingredients I rarely or never use.  I’m afraid of braising – mostly because I never really understood what it meant. So in terms of stepping out of my comfort zone, this recipe fits the bill on multiple levels. In terms of simplicity, I’d call this recipe a 5 out of 10. Once you get everything in the pot, it drops down to a 1 because all you do is let it cook, but browning the chicken ended up being a bit more difficult – the chicken kept sticking to the pan so I lost a lot of skin by the time it was all said and done.

bearfamilystrong.com | thai lemongrass chicken braised in coconut milk2

In terms of looks, I’d give my end result a 3 out of 10. Clearly I have a ways to go in my food styling ability. (Note to self; next time, remember to keep some of the fresh ingredients to use as garnishes in the picture!) But in terms of taste the recipe gets a solid 10 – it was delicious. I loved the combination of lemongrass, ginger, and the hint of heat from the fresno chiles. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the bok choy and cilantro – they end up getting cooked in the dutch oven with everything else, so I found them to be a bit too overcooked for my liking. If I were to make this recipe again, I think I’d cook the bok choy separately and use fresh cilantro as a garnish.

bearfamilystrong.com | thai lemongrass chicken braised in coconut milk3

Back to my point above – obviously this is a dish best served with rice or noodles. To keep it Whole30, I whipped up a batch of saffron scented cauliflower rice and served the chicken and vegetables atop the rice and drizzled with a couple spoonfuls of the delicious coconut milk sauce from the pot. Looks aside, it turned out to be an excellent dinner!

bearfamilystrong.com | thai lemongrass chicken braised in coconut milk5

*Original recipe can be found here.