Copycat Chicken Shawarma

This Thanksgiving, I threw all caution to the wind and loaded up on my Grandma Lynne’s famous stuffing and gravy, my mother-in law’s molasses rolls, my brother-in-law’s amazing deep fried turkey, and my mom’s home made green bean casserole. Then the uncomfortable full-ness sank in and I told myself I was never eating again.

Because that’s crazy talk and my “never eating again” only lasts about 30 minutes, I decided to put together one of my favorite Whole 30, veggie-full meals. This copycat chicken shawarma inspired by A Clean Bake is one of my all-time favorite slow cooker recipes and stars in this fresh and balanced meal. It can be topped with anything you have in the fridge, and the more color you add, the more effective the detox! I can just feel the pumpkin pie coma fading away…

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My favorite way to enjoy it is served on top of a bed of cauliflower rice, and loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, radishes, pickled red onions, some tahini, lemon juice, and lots of freshly chopped parsley and mint. I could seriously eat it every day. You could also throw this in a pita with some hummus, or in a lettuce wrap.

The best part is you can make the chicken whenever, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to fry it up with the spice mixture, which makes it perfect for weeknight meals! Be sure to read the instructions all the way through; the spice mixture isn’t used until the end of the cooking process.

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Copycat Chicken Shawarma

Makes 4-6 servings

For the chicken:

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 C water

For the spice mixture:

2 t ground cumin

1 t lemon zest

1/2 t chili powder

1/2 t smoked paprika

1/2 t garlic powder

1/4 t sea salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 t  ground turmeric

1/4 t ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

Method:

Add chicken and water to slow cooker and set on low for 6-7 hours. Let cool, shred, and set aside or store in fridge until ready to serve.

Combine all seasoning ingredients in small bowl and set aside.

Heat a sided skillet on medium heat and add 1/4 C olive oil. Once hot, add cooked chicken to pan and sprinkle half of seasoning mixture over chicken. Let cook for 1 minute, then turn chicken and coat other side with remaining seasoning mixture. Cook for another 2 minutes, then turn chicken one more time to ensure all seasoned chicken has made contact with oil in pan.

Tip** Try to avoid moving the chicken too much- you want it to get nice and crispy!

 

 

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

As the weather begins to turn and the days get shorter, I find myself craving warm, hearty meals. Pot roast is one of my Grandma’s specialties, and making it at home always reminds me of Sunday dinners at her house. She makes a hearty gravy and butter-filled mashed potatoes to go along with it, so it took me a while to find a recipe that was almost as delicious and comforting as hers without the added dairy and gluten.

I finally found a winner by adapting Cooking Light’s pot roast recipe; reducing the number of servings and turning it into the perfect slow cooker recipe.  This pot roast is my go-to cure the Sunday Scaries, and leaves us with at least one or two more meal’s worth of leftovers for weeknights. When I am on the Whole 30 or am making a conscious effort to avoid alcohol, I simply omit the wine and replace it with more beef broth.

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Instead of cooking the potatoes in the crock pot, I made dairy-free mashed potatoes to mimic Grandma’s dinner

Searing the roast before adding it to the crock pot may sound like an annoying, unnecessary step, but let me tell you- it makes a huge difference. It seals in the juice and flavor, keeping the roast tender and moist while it’s in the slow cooker. Please don’t skip this step- you will not get the same great results.

After making this a few times, I learned to add the carrots and potatoes towards the end of the cooking process so they aren’t  complete mush when the roast is ready. I like my veggies al-dente, so this fix works for me. If you’d like very soft carrots and potatoes, feel free to throw those in the crock pot at the beginning of the cooking process.

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Makes about 6 servings

2 1/2 – 3 lb boneless chuck roast

1 t sea salt

1/2 t fresh ground black pepper

2 T ghee or olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

3/4 C red wine

2 C organic beef broth

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 t dried thyme, or 3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 t dried rosemary, or 2 t fresh rosemary, chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into eighths

4 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes cut into eighths

Method:

Heat dutch oven or large frying pan. Once pan is hot, add ghee or olive oil. Salt and pepper all sides of chuck roast. Add meat to pan and sear every exposed side of meat for about 1-2 minutes, until brown.

Add seared chuck roast to slow cooker, making sure to include all juice and scrapings from pan. Add onion, wine, beef broth, bay leaf, garlic, and thyme. Set slow cooker on low for 8 hours.

Tip** If you’ll be home while the roast is cooking, baste roast with liquid every hour or so. If you’re setting it and going to work, just make sure pot roast is mostly covered with liquid.

When there is about 1 1/2 hours of cooking left, add peeled carrots and potatoes and a little more salt and pepper to slow cooker. You’ll know beef is done when it’s tender enough to fall apart.

Cut roast into large chunks, and serve with potatoes, carrots, and a ladle of broth mixture. Enjoy!

Stuffed Acorn Squash (Whole 30 & Paleo)

My mom always baked acorn squash with butter and brown sugar, until it was so soft it was basically falling away from the skin. The top would perfectly caramelize, making the whole house smell like Thanksgiving. When I make it now, one bite brings me straight back to eating dinner as a family at our kitchen table in the house on Parkside.

I had some organic pork sausage in the fridge this week and thought the best way to kick off my squash marathon would be by stuffing the one I’m most familiar with a bunch of yummy things!  I have to say that this turned out so delicious, I’m inserting it into my week night meal rotation for the rest of the year. If you don’t like one or two of the stuffing ingredients, just sub it out for something else! This meal is so hearty and flavorful, I believe it has the power to convert even the weariest of the squash-avoiders.

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

Makes about 4 servings

2 acorn squashes

1 T olive oil or coconut oil

1 lb bulk pork sausage (sugar-free if you’re doing Whole 30/ Paleo)

1 small onion diced

1 celery stalk diced

1 small apple diced

3 handfuls chopped kale

1 t dried rosemary

1 t dried thyme

1 t garlic powder

Pinch of allspice

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 C golden raisins

1/3 C chopped pecans

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley for garnish

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Method:

Heat oven to 400°

Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Brush with oil and salt. Place cut side down on baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and bake for about 35 mins, or until soft.

Meanwhile,  brown sausage in a pan over medium heat until no longer pink. Keep fat in there! It adds so much flavor. Add onion, apple, and celery, cooking until soft. Add kale, and stir until wilted.

Add all seasonings, raisins, and pecans. Stir until combined and remove from heat. Spoon into prepared squash and top with fresh parsley. Enjoy!